Sometimes I find myself saying in frustration, “I just can’t please everybody!”
For example, not everyone delights in my decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I’ve heard people scoff, saying what a waste my legal education was if I was just going to stay home. Some say I was a fool to give up my career. Others applaud my choice to be at home full-time. They see value in my position as a homemaker.
The list of topics that draw out opinions goes on and on . . . and on. People have opinions on big things. Theological leanings, homeschooling, parenting. People have opinions on little things. Driving an SUV, drinking raw milk, and couponing.
And, I’m right. I can.not. I cannot please everybody. I will not be able to do everything when, where and how every person wants me to. Someone will always disagree. Someone will always dislike my priorities. And sometimes that eats me up inside. If I allow it to, my desire for others’ approval stirs me up and unsettles my heart.
But does it matter? Does it really matter, in light of eternity, if someone disagrees with me? Or disapproves? Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
According to Paul, if we are going to serve Jesus, then God’s approval is what matters. And, God’s desire is that we fix our eyes on Jesus as we run the race that He has marked out for us in advance. (see Hebrews 12:1-2). Fix our eyes on Him. Which means our eyes are not looking side to side at everyone around us. They are set on Him and Him alone.
What greater joy than to fix our eyes on this God:
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save;
he will take great delight in you;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
Maybe your extended family doesn’t delight in you. Maybe your husband doesn’t delight in you. Maybe the other moms at the park don’t delight in you. Maybe you feel like me, saying “I can’t please everybody!” Or sometimes it’s “I can’t please anybody!”
But, if you are in Jesus, God rejoices over you today. Just the way you are. Jesus has paid the penalty for your sin. You have Jesus’ perfect righteousness. And God rejoices over you with singing. He is with you. That same God who is mighty to save.
My desire for approval from other people stirs me up. It unsettles me and makes me feel flustered, exhausted and overwhelmed. What a privilege to live instead for the approval of the only One who can quiet me with His love.