Why We Crave Acceptance
We all crave acceptance. In fact, it’s an unavoidable, instinctual desire and one of the seven fundamental human needs. We require connection and love, esteem, and identity (kennethmd.com).
Yet many of us find ourselves never satisfied in our quest for acceptance. We know we want it, even that we need it, but we just can’t seem to find it. For many, that’s because we look for acceptance in all the wrong places. For others, it’s because they’ve just given up looking for acceptance at all.
So, as we continue getting further into this new year, let’s explore the idea of acceptance. And most importantly, let’s find out what God has to say about it.
What Does Acceptance Mean?
If we were to define acceptance, we’d probably say it means something like being taken for who we are, just as we are. Or we define acceptance as having no worries about how to act, but instead, we are comfortable and free to be ourselves.
Specifically, when we look for acceptance in people, it may mean changing who we are in hopes of being accepted into a group or organization. We want them to like us, so we are willing to make exceptions or changes to who we are in hopes of being accepted.
It seems we never entirely escape the high school mindset of wanting to be accepted into the “popular group.” For many of us, this idea of acceptance seems to be the way our society sees an individual as having “made the cut” or “made the list.” When we’ve been invited to join a group or be a part of something accepted by certain individuals, we are deemed successful in the world’s eyes or in the opinions of those around us.
But genuine acceptance is God’s acceptance. It has nothing to do with what other people think of us or whether or not they’ve decided we can be a part of their squad. True acceptance has everything to do with being brought into a relationship with God. It means forgiven and made right in His eyes.
Why is Acceptance So Significant?
Acceptance through a relationship with God may not seem like that big of a deal. We go after acceptance from our friends and acquaintances all the time. We also ask for forgiveness from them when we mess up, and most of the time, we are forgiven! So, what is so great about finding our true acceptance in God?
It’s quite likely the most significant and most important thing we could discover in this life. You see, our sin kept us from being accepted by God. He is holy, and we are sinful, so it was literally impossible for Him to accept us. His holiness simply cannot coexist with our sin. His perfect light can’t be in the presence of our darkness. In Isaiah, it is written, “But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen” Isaiah 59:2 HCSB. These words may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.
The good news, Jesus made a way for us to be accepted freely! “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8 NIV.
What this verse means is that we can come to God as we are, fully justified in His eyes. He’s done all the work on our behalf and given us His grace as a free gift. He has made us new creations, completely washed in His renewal, and fully accepted us. Jesus has promised, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” John 6:37 NIV.
True acceptance means the King of the world who is holy and perfect loves us unconditionally in Christ. “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness’” Jeremiah 31:3 NIV. That is why God’s acceptance is so weighty, so huge.
A Life Changed by Acceptance
Once we understand this acceptance, once we really grasp it for what it means for us, our lives will be forever changed. Similar to knowing our biblical identity (which this is a part of), we cannot know about God’s acceptance of us and move forward the same as we were – we are changed.
We will live confidently, and faith is confidence. Knowing God accepts us produces a mindset change within us. We now know the sovereign Lord, who created all things and is over all things takes us as we are. We no longer need to seek our validation from other people or things. We can echo the declaration of Paul: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NIV.
Accepting of One Another
Once we understand we are accepted, we can then accept other people from that place of security. This is powerful, my friends! If we were continually floundering, wondering who we were or if anyone accepted us for who we really are, we would never have the strength to love and accept others. But we have a foundation, a cornerstone in Christ that anchors us and propels us to share that same love with others. We are commanded to “accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” Romans 15:7 NLTOur lives will be changed once we understand and embrace God’s acceptance. Click To Tweet
And, we will bring Him glory. Delighting in Him and trusting what He says about us is one of the most surefire ways to glorify Him. When we proclaim how great He is and how thankful we are for His love and grace, we give Him all the glory.
This week, take time to reflect on where you were before Christ. A reflection I encourage my mentees to complete is journaling where they were before Christ, where they are now, and how they got there. It’s incredible to look back at our journey and discover just how far away we were from God, and how our transgressions separated us from His presence.
And don’t be discouraged instead be grateful for your journey, and know YOU are accepted, and YOU are not alone. You are loved unconditionally simply because YOU are in Him. And then, go and share this amazing truth with those around you!
If you have questions or find yourself struggling with acceptance, please reach out. I would be honored to walk with you on your journey of self-discovery.
PS – This month, as we embrace the new year, I’m offering new mentees an opportunity to join me in Looking Up to Look Within, a 4-week course where we’ll meet via conference call each week to focus on identity, purpose, values, and mindset. We’ll explore where you are, how you got there, and where you would like to be! And, we’ll create action steps for you to implement so you can achieve your desired results. I’ll serve as your Biblical mentor and leadership coach to support, guide, and pray with you as you take each step! To keep it simple, send me an email, and I’ll reach out as soon as I hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org