In the process of designing something specific for someone else, I have to get their approval. I do this before I build the piece, of course. Otherwise, I'd have wasted a lot of materials and time.
The design to the left is a new piece I'm working on. It is for the centennial celebration of the Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church, which takes place in October. It will hang in a window in the church building. I hope people like it, but I don't have to have anyone "approve" it because it's a gift. I have certainly taken input into the design, but the final decisions have been mine.
I found myself seeking a different kind of approval this past week; I had a sharp disagreement with some people I care very much about. As in most conflicts, there was blame on both sides, current and past blame.
I grew up a "people pleaser" for many reasons; I remember my brother telling me to take a stand before I was ten years old. He said, "You can't make other people happy. Just do what you think is right." I tried, but oh, I struggled to trust my own judgment. I still do sometimes.
So when I got in this conflict recently, I started seeking approval for my decisions. I talked with a close friend and a family member, trying to make sure I was "right" in how I handled it. Then it struck me: It really didn't matter what they thought. It didn't even matter what the people I was in conflict with thought. Or what I thought. What mattered is what God thought.
I reconsidered my actions and my speech. There were parts which did not honor God, and there were parts which did honor God. And that's the only judgment that matters at all. I would love to totally give up being a "people pleaser" to become a "God pleaser." I'm not there yet. But this realization is setting me on the right path.