I walk into the chaos and immediately feel unwelcome. Does anyone know I’m here? Does anyone care? I swirl around the rest of the night, trying to keep up. All the while, feeling that ache in my bones that says, “you’re nothing.”
And all of the sudden, I’m in third grade again. Blissfully, happily, unashamedly wearing my mismatched socks. I wear my socks this way each day in the third grade. Each day, that is, until that fifth grade girl makes fun of me on the playground and I never wear them this way again. How much that makes me want to cry today for that third grade girl! (And how much for that fifth grade girl too.)
I want to tell my third grade self, “It doesn’t matter what she says! Wear those socks! You don’t need her approval! There is no shame in being who you are! God created you! Fearfully and wonderfully! (Psalm 139)” But I can’t. Because this isn’t fiction, and I can’t close my eyes and clinch my fists and go back in time.
I was that girl. And I stopped wearing those socks. Something deep inside of us screams that we must be accepted, we must be liked. Something in our hearts tells us we must attach ourselves closely to someone to define our worth. We MUST be given approval to be worthy or we will die. Somewhere on the road of brokenness, it became people we clung to, to find this approval. But, the thing is, it isn’t them who can fulfill this need in us. It’s God. It’s God’s approval that we’ve been craving all along. And I wish I could tell that third grade girl to keep wearing those mismatched socks and attach herself to Jesus, and not to that fifth grade girls’ opinion. It’s not my socks that need to be approved of anyways, it’s my soul. We’ve just gotten confused.
“Those who look to HIM are radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed (Psalm 34:5).” As long as we look to people, we are going to be ashamed. As long as we look to anything but Jesus to make us worthy, we are going to be ashamed. As long as people can lift us up, they can tear us down. The truth is, they don’t even have the power to define our worth. We are giving people power that they don’t even possess. “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. (Matthew 16:27).”
Jesus only has this power. And Jesus tells us we aren’t good enough; I am not good enough, apart from Him. And the hope that we cling so desperately to is that He died and rose again in order that we could attach ourselves to Him and be cleansed of our sinfulness and could find all of the worth and approval we ever need for life inside of Him. If we are attached to Him, He will repay us for HIS works (His perfect works) and not our own. He IS good enough. Either I can stand on my own righteousness (which is nothing) or I can stand on His (which is everything).
Yes, it’s true. We must attach ourselves to someone intimately to be worthy, but that someone is Jesus and Jesus alone. As long as that little girl, who still lives inside of me, looks to her friends, to her bosses, to her world, she won’t find the approval her soul is desperately searching for. It has to be Jesus or it has to be nothing. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)”
Malorie Weber works in Women’s Connections at The Austin Stone Community Church Downtown PM Campus. She loves movies, books, and Netflix marathons. Malorie also loves tea time, laughter, and “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson. She is striving to share honest life experiences through words to the glory of God. Follow Maorie on her blog or her Instagram.