last night at my love&logic class, one of the video teaching segments spoke a truth right to my heart. in talking of setting boundaries (and rather the lack of a need to do so; the class teaches you to allow your children to make the majority of choices in their lives), one of the teachers said simply, "our children don't often care about our approval. instead, they merely want our acceptance [the knowledge and assurance that they are loved no matter what]." while he was expounding on the idea that our kids' most basic needs is to feel loved and that we parents can be equipped to handle this gig with the right toolbox of logic and empathy to meet those needs, i heard a bigger truth.
isn't it easy to confuse the two as we get older: acceptance and approval?
my basest need is to know and be known: acceptance. but i conflate this need with the need for approval, favor, affirmation. i replace trust with things. i swap faith for rewards and words. i swap Relationship with recognition.
approval isn't inherently bad, but it creeps very near a line of self-importance. instead of finding Him big enough to handle us, we try to be like bright puffer-fish, blowing steam and making very little splash eternally. acceptance reminds us that we're imperfect.
we want to be loved by the one who is Love. we want to bask in the reminder that he won't ever let us go. we can't ever do enough to gain perfect acceptance. what we can do, though, is rest in the comfort of God's kindness.