Have you ever felt guilty for needing reassurance? As if seeking encouragement indicates a lack of faith? According to my trusty Google search, approval is the belief that something is good or acceptable. If you are seeking approval, you are looking for acknowledgement that *you* are accepted. Not your work, not your behavior and not your new shoes. You. And this "acceptance" is something that we require only from God.
This is where we need to learn and absorb and believe what the Bible says about who we are in Christ. Forgiven, redeemed, transformed. God looks at us and what He sees is GOOD. He more than approves of us - He absolutely loves us. He delights in us! In Christ, we are accepted. We are children of God. 'Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God'. John 1 v 12
The thing is, we are still human and therefore we are delicate, vulnerable creatures. Our feelings get hurt, our egos become bruised, our confidence can be knocked and we "long" for encouragement from our human friends. And this is how we were designed.
I found a beautiful definition of encouragement when I searched. "To inspire with hope, courage or confidence." God created us to be interdependent. While we are ultimately dependent on Him, we are taught also to support one another. People helping people. We are instructed to build one another up - to "encourage". We are to inspire others with hope, courage and confidence.
But where does this hope come from? This courage and confidence?
Of course it must come from God. And when we "are" feeling wounded; when we find ourselves feeling discouraged - we must shake off the dust and keep going. 'And whoever will not receive and accept and welcome you, nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or town, shake the dust from your feet'. Matthew 10 v 14
So! Let's actively encourage. Let's build one another up with scripture and prayer. Let's look for encouragement from those who will inspire Godly hope, courage and confidence. Let's not confuse encouragement with approval. Let's KNOW who we are in Christ - accepted and approved. Let's all eat Party Rings and shake it off. 'So encourage each other and build one another up, just as you are already doing'. 1 Thessalonians 5 v 11
About the Author: I'm Ruth. I am a Christian girl, married to Gary and a mummy to two beautiful children. As a family, we are part of Kerith Community Church . I work part time as a nurse and enjoy singing, writing and wearing pajamas (not to work). I became a mum at 17 and have a passion for supporting young mums. My childhood was difficult and my teenage years were eventful. Sparkly Mess is all about my life now, my life "then" and what I have learned along the way. My hope is that in (over)sharing my story, others might be encouraged and inspired. I am still very much on a journey and I have a feeling it's going to be a interesting one. But I am expectant and excited to discover what God has planned for me. You can find me on the web at http://sparklymess.blogspot.com