Struggling for acceptance is often associated with alcoholics or drug addicts in their recovery. Lots of people who grew up in homes impacted by drinking or drugging also struggle for acceptance in life.
But the struggle for acceptance is not limited to those whose lives have been impacted directly or indirectly by drugs and alcohol. Authentic followers of Christ need to answer a few questions personally and honestly about acceptance:
- Do you really feel accepted by God?
- Does your acceptance by God depend on your acceptance by other people, e.g. family, friends, pastor, priest?
- Whose acceptance don’t you have that you wish you had?
- Why is their acceptance important to you?
- What will you do if you never receive it?
- Is the acceptance you feel from external or internal sources?
“I became a people pleaser. My actions began to get for me what I craved most, attention. Because I felt invisible, it was important that others see me. The attention, the feeling of being seen and okay in the world, was always short-lived though and made me try all the harder to be whatever anyone wanted me to be. . .All I knew was that I was receiving, through my actions, what made me feel important, valuable and worthy. For years I chased these feelings, never realizing that they could thrive only when they were internally located and not based on externals.”¹
For years Lisa, like a lot of us, got her feelings of acceptance from external sources. From her behavior, her looks, her choices and her desire for excitement. But, if you read her book, you’ll discover that for more than a decade her feelings of self-worth, importance and value all came from the love of her life–cocaine.
Paul teaches us in Romans 8:37-39
“. . . in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Once we are “in Christ” nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. That means we will always be accepted. Not because of what we’ve done, or who we are or how much money we give to the church. We are accepted in Christ because God has declared true believers as His children. His heirs. His beloved. He says we are unconditionally loved and accepted. Jesus teaches in John 10:27-29
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”
That’s it. Done deal. We are His sheep and, according to Jesus, not me, no one can ever snatch us out of the Father’s hand.
“The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear (revere) Him, in them that hope in his mercy.” Psalm 147:11.
But it is only through the value of the sacrifice made for us that we are of value in the Lord’s sight.It is because of the imputed righteousness of Christ that we are counted precious and accepted by God.
“As many as received him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, to all those who believe on his name.” John 1:12.
The problem for lots of believers is believing. Many of us can come up with a legal pad full of reasons why God’s acceptance doesn’t apply to us. Our unwillingness to believe can lead to feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, isolation and loneliness. If we don’t feel accepted, we can feel like we’re on the outside of the beloved looking in.
A good friend told me recently that he didn’t feel accepted because he felt bad about the way he had treated one of his friends — one year ago. He was accepted, he knew he was accepted, but he didn’t feel accepted. Sometimes when we sin, try to hind behind our sin, or don’t face and confess our sin, Satan can heap feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. Sometimes those feelings make us feel unaccepted by God.
God’s acceptance has nothing to do with the way we feel. God bases his acceptance of us on His promises to us and His unconditional love of us. Christ’s death on the cross bought our eternal acceptance, regardless of our feelings or our behavior.
Are you going to believe that or not?
I’m blessed to be featuring Lisa’s posts Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on my blog. I know you’ll be blessed. Lisa speaks from the perspective of a former alcoholic and cocaine addict. But what I’ve noticed is that perspective doesn’t matter when it comes to issues of the heart. Like acceptance. And denial. And transparency. And humility. We all deal with issues of the heart. Lisa’s heart issues are similar to ours. So Lisa speaks to all of us.
I encourage you to read Lisa’s blog posts. She is honest and candid and when she speaks about her experience and her strength and her hope she speaks from her heart. What she has to say can benefit us all.
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Thank you again for stopping by and may God richly bless you.
¹This Is Your Life, Not A Dress Rehearsal, © 2010 Gratefulgirl Publishing, Fredericksburg, Va. pg.30