November 17

Written by Bill Grandi on November 17th, 2021

As a teenager two of the most frequent questions asked are “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” It is expected, I think, of teens as they try to find their way through life and their place in life. Those years are especially tough because acceptance and belonging and a sense of self-worth are tied up in the answer to those questions. I confess to asking them myself.

It doesn’t stop.

I’d like to say I stopped asking those questions when I become an adult, but I would be lying. They take a twist though. Instead of “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” they morph into “Do you like me?” or “Do you approve of me?”

I spent way too many years seeking approval of others. As a youth pastor I wanted the young people and their parents to like me.  As a pastor I wanted the adults to like me, and their kids were a bonus. It’s human nature to want to be liked, but that can be taken too far. The need/desire for approval is a very poor (translated: dangerous) reason behind doing ministry. The root cause of that is often-not always-the hunger for approval from parents and peers. I always had and knew I had the approval of my mother. My dad was a different story. Play baseball? Spot on. Play basketball? Not so. I always stuck out like a sore thumb with my high school peers since I was not a drinker, a smoker, a swear-er, or a rabble-rouser.

I finally came to realize my acceptance from God was worth it all. I didn’t have to strive for it. I didn’t have to perform. Nor beg. Nor plead. Isaiah 43:1-3a says, “But now, this is what the LORD says, He who is your Creator, Jacob, and He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the water, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overfl0w you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God.’ “  (NASB2020)  Those verses tell exactly how God feels about me.

It feels good to be loved and accepted and called “His.”

“Father, may I realize-always-my position with You. I’m accepted.”   Here is a song worth listening to.


4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Sally Carlson says:

    LOVE that song!! And just read that scripture in a devotion this morning….if only everyone would/could see themselves through God’s eyes, wouldn’t the world be a much better place.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You are right Sally. If only… And glad you like the song. Not only is D&K one of my favorites I like the message of the song.

  2. Ryan S says:

    I occasionally find myself slipping into the old youthful habit of seeking approval. I think the desire to be liked and applauded at times can lead to over commitment and misfocus. The point I like that you drive home is that God’s acceptance of us is not based on performance, but position.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I know I also slip into that habit. I think it is inborn in all of us to be liked and loved. I’m glad God does not evaluate me (or you) on the way we perform.