Most of my life, I fought to avoid failure. And alongside that quest, I sought approval from others. I wanted someone to tell me I was succeeding, that my pursuits and accomplishments were gaining me some kind of merit or accolade.
My choices looked good from a moral perspective, but often they were made to reduce risk and protect myself from rejection. For many years, I believed it was my job to gain approval by my deeds. Do this. Don’t do that.
Over the years, I vacillated between rating myself highly because of my successes, and feeling sheepish about sharing my accomplishments. But neither of those extremes really defined me.
When I learned that I was created to be loved by the Creator of the Universe, my tendency to avoid risk diminished, and I was more likely to embrace crazy ideas. Even the crazy idea that it was okay to succeed. To honor my values and to create space for others to experience a safe place to fail or succeed, as needed, became my new pursuit.
But every once in awhile, I still doubt my approval rating with God or with others.
What if, you and I were born pre-approved? What a relief that would be! I read a passage in the book of Ecclesiastes recently, which I never noticed before. It was like the Creator of the Universe knew that I needed to read these lines:
Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. (Ecclesiastes 9:6 NRSV)
If you accepted this pre-approval, what crazy idea would you pursue?