Do I desire people’s approval more than God’s?

By Kandima Awendila - Press Service International

Have you ever felt unappreciated? Have you felt like you put so much effort into something and do the very best that you can but you never get recognised for a job well done? You work so hard but no one seems to acknowledge or thank you for all that you do.

At work, you watch others arrive late and are the first to leave on time.

Yet you come on time and leave much later than expected. Some continually ‘chuck sickies’ while you diligently come to work even when the going gets tough. You even sit back and watch as your colleagues are praised for their work and receive awards. Only you are the one without a reward.

Comparing myself to others

Lately, I’ve been feeling discouraged and unappreciated at work. I would like to think that I work hard and do the best that I can. I’ve come to understand that one of the reasons why I felt discouraged is that I strongly felt I had the right to be rewarded for my hard work.

This then led me to begin comparing myself to my colleagues. The more I compared, the more I felt I deserved more.

My focus changed so much that I began to become bitter. I wanted the approval of my superiors and I just wasn’t getting it. Or maybe it was just that I wasn’t doing as great a job as I thought I was.

Who am I trying to please?

One evening as I was reading my bible, I came across some verses that made me realise I had to shift my focus. Galatians chapter 6 verse 4 to 5 states:

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”

It doesn’t really matter what everyone else is doing. I alone am responsible for my behaviour, just as everyone else is responsible for theirs.

I needed to stop comparing myself to everyone else and focus on doing my work well. Only then would I get the satisfaction of a job well done.

Furthermore, am I more concerned about gaining the approval of people or the approval of God?

Honour God

I was reminded of the story of Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume and wiped his feet with her hair [John chapter 12 verse 1 to 8].

The Jewish custom in those days was that women’s hair was always bound in public.

Mary showed great humility, devotion, praise and love for Jesus. Even though others around her (e.g. Judas Iscariot) never really recognised the good she was doing or approved it, Jesus was pleased [Mark chapter 14 verse 4 to 9]. She wasn’t seeking the approval of anyone else but Christ, and at that moment, nothing else mattered to her.

Others didn’t see, but Jesus saw and acknowledged the good that she had done.

So now I am asking God to help me never tire of doing what is good. That I focus on my own work and primarily seek to honour and please Him. As I seek to honour God in every aspect of my life, He will pour out His incomparable abundant blessings.

“…But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” [Galatians chapter 6 verse 8 to 9]