Acceptance is something many of us yearned for at a young age, and perhaps has carried into our adult lives as well. We think that acceptance somehow determines or defines our value as an individual. We go to great lengths to feel accepted–all the while, telling ourselves that it will bring us happiness and satisfaction if we can just wear the “right clothes”, drive the “right” cars, and live in the “right” houses.
We seek acceptance from many different places and people in our lives: family, friends, co-workers, church families, and even strangers on the street.
As we are busy trying to find ways to be accepted by society and others in our lives, how often do we stop to think about whether we accept ourselves? And, even more…how often do we stop to realize that we are already accepted by the One who matters most?
And, yet, this still isn’t enough to ignore the inner voice that is constantly asking, “Do they like me? Do they think I’m “cool”? Will I get invited to their holiday party?” Some people say that the yearning for acceptance goes away with age. The older you get, the less you care about whether you are accepted by people in your lives. You reach a point when you finally learn that others’ acceptance does not determine or define your value…because, how could it? Acceptance should not be something you gain or earn because of the way you dress or the life choices you have made. Acceptance should be a gift given to all people because it comes without judgment and false assumptions.
So, as we battle the habit of seeking acceptance (and perhaps struggling to accept others), let us be reminded that God’s acceptance is unconditional and full of love and grace. He accepts us no matter what car we drive, how big our house, the mistakes we’ve made, and the choices we will make in the future. Come as you are and bask in the only acceptance that can fill us with happiness and satisfaction.
“Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3