Whose Approval Matters Most?

  1. amandavsaad says:

    funny. i’ve thought the same thing about you more than once – here’s a wife, mom, stepmom, successful career woman who has it all together. i hope to be that way someday. your post is thoughtful & beautifully written. and yes, we’re all where we’re supposed to be. if you weren’t where you are, i wouldn’t be inspired right now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks, Amanda! I think everyone feels this way sometimes, even the bestselling authors. Social media makes it more apparent than ever that others are doing what we’re still only DREAMING of doing. I often have to remind myself to keep my head down and keep working- and to not pay so much attention to everyone else, because ultimately I can only be ME. 🙂

  2. Tori Taff says:

    The irony here is that YOU’RE one of the people so many others look at and think, “I’d love to be as ______ (fill in the blank: successful, pretty, smart, motivated, funny, fashionable, well-connected, etc.) as Lindsay!” It’s impossible not to look around sometimes and wonder about our choices– and it feels good to look inside and truly know that you’ve made the right ones for you. But sometimes…
    I hear ya on this one, I really do.

    • Anonymous says:

      Part of what made this post interesting to write is that I really think we ALL face it on whatever level we’ve hit. Even my mom friends who want simply to be great MOMS talk about how hard it is to see braggy updates from friends on Facebook about other womens’ weight loss and their kids’ accomplishments. We all feel from time to time like we’re coming up short, and I want to keep a perspective of measuring myself by God’s standards, not by man’s. Because by man’s standards, I will NEVER measure up.

  3. Erin says:

    I struggle with not living up to the promise that I had when I was younger. I was one of the ‘smart kids’ in school, who everyone thought was gonna make something of myself….but I’m a college dropout who stays at home with my kids. But, if I’m honest, I’m right where I want and need to be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good for you, Erin! I know what you mean to some degree, because I was on a career path for broadcast news basically from the time I was in junior high, and everyone knew it– and I ended up completely abandoning that career to be a stay at home mom with a writing career. There are less Internet-savvy people out there who STILL see me and make pitying remarks about all I’ve given up. It happened last week, in fact! 

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s not just moms who struggle that way. It’s all too easy to look over that fence and think, “I could grow that green grass, too, and get the Beautiful Lawn award”.  And simultaneously keep growing the flower bed on my side of the fence.

    Paul continues this kind of theme in Colossians 3:23 – 24, verses I remind myself of often – “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

    It says “whatever”,  and that means whether you are raising kids, writing books, hosting tv shows, running a ministry, collecting trash or working at the DMV. He puts us where He needs us.

    I need to try to remind myself of that as I go figure out how to keep the university exempt from Illinois sales tax. Sigh.

    • Anonymous says:

      Love that verse, and I totally agree! I realized in writing this post that I don’t think there’s a mom out there who hasn’t experienced some degree of this, because the definition of being a mom is putting others first and sacrificing some of your own wants and desires. So I knew every mom could relate on some level– and probably, as you said, most other people, too!  🙂

  5. Liz says:

    Lindsay, book author or not, you’re still one of the best writers out there. You’re an inspiration to your readers, even if you’re not on the Today Show every week. And probably BECA– USE you’re not on the Today Show every week.  🙂

  6. NancyB says:

    I used to struggle with “doing it all” when my son was young because I wanted to do both PERFECTLY.  Always have the right answers ready for my bosses, have dinner, ready, clothes washed – the list was endless.  And I was super-duper career woman before I had him.  I loved climbing that ladder! The trips alone were worth it.  When I was single my sister would say “your leaving AGAIN?!”

    Then when my son was in 3rd grade I realized I didn’t want it ALL.  I wanted to be home, to be available for my son when he got out school or needed me or to just have the laundry done and food on the table!  My husband and I took a leap of faith (hey it fits here!) and he started his own business and I quit to work for him.

    So I guess God helped me find my peace and put us both where we needed to be – my husband had health issues and running his own business made it possible to keep people working for him while he recovered.  For me – it put me at home were I wanted to be after so many years.

    Now I’m learning to find peace within myself.  I’ve found over the weeks that the voices in my head are quieter, the negative self-talk is disappearing and I’m thinking more outwardly than inwardly.

  7. Bethany says:

    Where in the world did you find a Barnes & Noble in Nashville?? I’m sick about the lack of bookstores here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Brentwood, at Cool Springs. And I swear, I saw more than a dozen people I knew there, from my part of Nashville. It’s the ONLY place to go now to browse new books in person, although I do love me some Edward McKay.

  8. kittenpie says:

    I totally get the feeling like everyone else is doing amazing stuff and you are not getting to where you wish you could be for lack of time and whatever else. TOTALLY. It’s hard to be divided into many fronts when you are someone who wants to excel, and I think that’s a big part of it. I want to step up at work, I want to do stuff with my kids, I wish I had any time to even write my own blog any more, I want to have time with my husband, I wish my house would be in some sort of order, I want to be a good friend and have time with people who are important to me… but there’s only so much me. And only so much of you. So yes, right now, we have to try and accept that something’s got to give, in whatever way and place we find that acceptance. You’re doing just fine, honey, believe me. I have always been impressed with the pace of writing you keep and with all you do with your kids. As someone else said already, plenty of people look up to you, too!

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you! I’m truly starting to believe that as long as we’re measuring ourselves by worldy standards, we will NEVER measure up. I want to stop doing that, but it’s a daily struggle.

  9. Nicole says:

    My need to do things perfectly makes it so hard for me to find balance. It’s something I struggle with constantly. I wish I could just put my faith in God to lead me, but my belief just isn’t that strong. I have control issues.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think we all have control issues, Nicole! Letting go of them is definitely a daily process that I don’t think ever ends. Hang in there. 🙂  And by the way, I think this Bible study would really be helpful if you ever want to try to be proactive about this and don’t know where to start. It is literally changing my life and my way of thinking on a daily basis.  🙂

      • Nicole says:

        You’ve been talking it up so much, I figure it must be worth looking into. I am feeling a bit rudder-less in a storm lately. I don’t want to get to deep on your comments, but I was wondering how you know if God is calling you towards something? Is it just a general feeling of calmness or…something more?

        • Anonymous says:

          Well, I believe (and Beth actually talks about this a LOT in this study) that the closer you are to God, the more clearly you’re able to discern what He’s calling you to do. And by close, I mean reading your Bible and praying regularly- I’ve found that the Bible is a MAJOR line of communication, and I often find the answers I’m looking for while I’m reading. Surrounding yourself with other believers, whether online or in real life, helps a lot too. 🙂

  10. Anonymous says:

    That’s so awesome, Nancy! I’m seeing major changes as well, and so is my husband! It’s really exciting to be doing this with you and so many other readers. 🙂

  11. Mary A says:

    I totally get this.  Does it make you feel better that I am super jealous (in a happy-for-you-kind of way) of your blog?

  12. Jenny Lomax says:

    That verse really struck with me too.  I often feel as though I’m trying to be perfect for a specific person or group of people – serious student at school, perfect mom at home, dream wife for my husband, and the fun-loving woman with our friends.  I’ve found that certain aspects of myself that I think that others expect of me are ones that I’m not proud of anymore, and that I don’t get joy from anymore.  I’ve often felt as though I have to be *this* girl or *that* woman to these people and I must please everyone all the time, that I’m not pleasing myself, and I certainly don’t feel as though that’s been pleasing to God.  It’s also been a hard thought of alienating people by being a strong believer in God, since I know so many people have an absolute idea of what that is and I’ve been afraid of being written off by people . . . that verse sort of brought me up short.  Who’s approval do I want, certainly, that is a punch-you-in-the-gut question, and it makes me so much more confidant in my journey.

    • I agree with your statement – “I often feel as though I’m trying to be perfect for a specific person or group of people.” For me that is perfect daughter, perfect big sister, perfect mom, perfect employee, now add perfectly involved parent at my son’s school.  

      The quest for perfection throws me out of balance because I put so much into being “perfect” that when things do not go perfectly I become overly distaught with the unpleasant reminder of my “imperfection.”

      This study is giving me hope that it does not have to continue being this way. God and his Spirit can help me finally release the pressure of “perfection”….

      • Anonymous says:

        I love that we’re writing about this need to be perfect, or at least, to appear that we’re perfect, too. I really feel like so many women need to hear that “perfect” DOES NOT EXIST. Not one of us has it all together and I hate that we live in a society where we’re supposed to pretend that we do…

    • Anonymous says:

      You sound EXACTLY where I was about two years ago, when I started writing about my faith for the first time on this blog. I mean, I literally could have written your comment myself! 🙂  I was so afraid of alienating people, or of being called a hypocrite if I wrote about wanting to be closer to God. But I felt I wasn’t being honest, either, to NOT put out the fact that my faith meant a lot to me.

      Let me tell you that I have not lost a single friend, Christian or non-Christian, since writing about what I believe. I think that if you’re honest about who you are and non-judgmental about those around you, people can respect your personal beliefs. If you can integrate your spiritual life and your “every day” life, you will find that things really start to fall into place and that you’re able to move forward. Test it out and see! 

  13. Kristin says:

    That verse really caught my attention.  This study was exactly what I needed.  I have to stop watching what others are doing and live the life God has planned for me.  My own life has been passing me by…. but not anymore. 🙂

  14. Shelly Wildman says:

    Hey Lindsay! Boy, oh boy, did this post hit home with me. I’ve been just where you describe–seeing so many books come out and, in my disgusting pride, thinking, “I could SO do that.” I have two books started, just sitting on my computer, but, like you, I have focused my efforts on being the best mom and wife I can be. (I’m not a great multi-tasker anyway.) This year, just as I was coming out from under the rock of motherhood (my youngest is 13), God called me to something completely different and surprising–back to my old job as a college professor. Now I teach people how to write. Ironic, no? But the good news is that I KNOW this is where He wants me to be for now. And He’s been confirming it all along the way. (Just yesterday, in fact, a student came to tell me how nice it is to have a professor who reminds her of her mom whom she misses terribly. I took it as a compliment. 🙂 ) 

    Anyway, thanks for your honesty and vulnerability here. I really can relate in so many ways.

    P.S. I “met” you across the room at the Therapon event at Blissdom last February. 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks, Shelly! And nice to “see” you again! As embarrassing as it was to write this post, I had a feeling a lot of people would be able to identify. At least, I HOPED that would be the case, and it wasn’t just me! Glad to hear you’re on the right track!

  15. 3boys says:

    One sign that you’re truly grown up is when you are thankful when you see your friends succeed and you’re happy it happened to someone you know. That you’re not jealous.

    Read the obituaries of people in your local newspaper to put things in perspective and to find out what is really important. Your health, family, community, charity.

    I suspect the achievements of your friends may seem mundane to them while those of others (like someone who might have a popular blog) might seem more glamorous.

    • Anonymous says:

      You know, I can honestly say that I’ve always been happy when my friends have succeeded, and proud of them. Always. That has never been my problem. It’s the need to “keep up” that I struggle with. And I totally recognize that they probably feel the same way about friends they perceive as being “ahead” of them. I just want to get out of the race entirely, and run an eternal one. 🙂

  16. Amy says:

    I feel this way when I look at all my friends who are married and having kids. Somehow I managed to fall behind (well, way behind) in that department. Add the at least I have a job (but not the career I thought I would have by now) and I can end up in the bottom of an ice cream carton.

    But then I have to stop myself and realize I am me. And at some point, I might end up getting married. I am always so thrilled when I do hear about another baby or a wedding. Especially for my girlfriends who have struggled to conceive. I finally decided that I was okay with the being single part, take advantage of being an Auntie to all of my friends’ kids and just let go of the could a, would a, should a’s.

    While the grass is never greener on the other side, I do appreciate what I have, free time to indulge in what I want to do. I try to remind myself that should I ever be blessed with a husband and kids (or my book to be published) that all this me time I have right now will not be a priority then.

    Great post. I need to sign up for the study, time got away from me and I thought I couldn’t join in!

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s great, Amy! What a healthy perspective.

      You can do this study any time you want, really. You can always go back and read the posts as you get to that week in the online study, just to get some other takes one what’s going on. And if you end up doing the study and want to join the Facebook group at any time, just let me know. 🙂

  17. julia chapman says:

    Several years ago, i was half way through the requirements of getting my masters.  i did not enjoy my time studying.  i felt like i was missing out on my  time with my husband and my kids, even though they are grown.  after the end of one semester, i didnt register and ive not been back (4 years ago maybe)   i dont miss it.  sorta miss having the letters after my name on my nametag but not enough to go back yet.  my oldest son is making me a grandmother in december.  so far, ive made 6 afghans for my baby and for several of their friends who are also expecting.  im not masters prepared in knitting, but i am content knowing all these babies will be warm because of me.  maybe this was what i was meant to do instead of more school.  am i jealous of friends who finished school, but they are also jealous of my afghans.  
    id like to think this decision had some divine intervention in it because i am way more happy now than i was in school.

  18. I’m so glad you are including those of us who cannot participate in the study. I know I always have time to read your blog and get a little wisdom here. Thanks!


  19. […] on faith are the ones she most enjoys… and that’s why when the discussions surrounding the Beth Moore Bible study began here on this blog a few weeks ago, I noticed pretty quickly that Sara’s voice was […]

  20. […] online Beth Moore Bible study I was participating in put me in a contemplative mood and I was reminded whose approval matters most. It’s a lesson I need to […]

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