God's approval sounds like an old audio recording played off in the distance somewhere and meanwhile the approval of my friends, my family, my co-workers sounds more like I'm front row at a rock concert.Wow! Look! They love me! They really love me! They show it - I feel it! They say it - I hear it! I can look in their faces, into their eyes! I can see that note they left, read that certificate on the wall and know, really know, that I am valuable. ENCORE!
When I was moving a few years ago, I found an old cassette tape in the bottom of one of my desk drawers. Lucky for me, I am still "old school" enough to have a stereo with a cassette player so I popped it in. It was a recording of some songs I had written in very early twenties. My performance was earnest, but terrible. My guitar sounded like I was playing on one of those small, plastic toy guitars given out at the birthday parties of 8 year olds. My voice was soft and hesistant. The lyrics of the songs, were, well, earnest, is the best I can say. Really, really earnest.
Sometimes this is how I think God's voice of approval sounds in my ears. Old fashioned. Soft. Earnest, but weak. Instead of hearing a symphony of love, I hear just that "plink plink plink" of a cheap, plastic guitar. God whispers...I kind of like you a lot. Thanks for doing my will.
Meanwhile, the love and approval of those around me sounds like Iron Maiden blasting out of a summer window in an alley at midnight. I can not only HEAR it, I can feel it. Yeah! Blast it! Give me more!
So, today, I am subjecting what I feel to what I know because what I feel is often wrong. (A valuable lesson I picked up on awhile back, but one that is hard to follow.) I know God loves me deeply, passionately, LOUDLY. His approval is all that matters and I have it. He is not timid in his love for me. It is not an old, worn out love. It is a love that cost Jesus his life. It is a love that changed my life and my eternity. The only reason it sounds way off in the distance is because of where I AM, not because of where God is. I pray that I seek his approval more than the approval or anyone else, no matter how loud their approval is, no matter how good it feels to be needed, loved, wanted, validated, important. Even when I don't feel like it, I KNOW I am valuable because I am a child of God. The love that I naturally seek from others, when it comes, I should consider it a blessing, not a destination. While it may elevate my spirit, comfort and soothe me, it should not fill me up entirely. The music of the world's approval might be loud, but it is not the music my soul needs. That is a melody that only Jesus can play.