Acceptance. It’s something we all want. Maybe it’s something we need.
I have been picking up my children from school for twelve years now. I’d rather watch kids than check email, so that is what I do. Watching little ones play is my favorite. Their smiles and laughter and enthusiasm spread joy. The teenagers are intriguing. Some dress, speak, or act in ways to stand out. Others dress, speak, or act in ways to blend in. They all have something in common with the middle school student who stands at the top of the hill by himself just wishing one of his parents would arrive to pick him up: acceptance.
The mom whose daughter is the new player on the soccer team seeks acceptance from the existing parents. The new employee. The seventh-grader who has just never quite fit it. The college freshman. The man bellied up to the bar. The high school sophomore who has never been quite good enough for her parents. The wife who is unable to meet her husband’s expectations. The woman sitting in her room at the assisted living center wondering when her children or grandchildren will finally visit. They all want acceptance.
I’m going to tell you something I wish I learned a long time ago: You can’t do much to influence whether others accept you or not. Maybe a little. But, not a lot. Whether others accept you or not is their issue, not yours.
You don’t want a collection of imperfect people determining your value in life anyway, so our quest for acceptance must lead us elsewhere: acceptance from God. It is the acceptance that matters most, of course, and an acceptance that has already been given to you.
You are acceptable to God not because of your attributes or righteousness.
You are acceptable to God because of His attributes and righteousness.
God accepts us where we are. God will change us to be more and be better. God gives us the grace to live with ourselves and others. If you are not feeling accepted, pray this prayer:
Dear God – Help me accept myself for who I am and who I am not. And, give me the wisdom and strength to change the things about myself that I simply cannot accept.
So the way I see it is this: We have two choices.
- Don’t live as accepted. Let others judge you and define you. Pronounce yourself as guilty and not good enough.
- Live as accepted. Experience grace, have hope, and embrace that you are worth a whole lot more than you think you are!
It’s your call. Seems like a pretty easy one to make.