Making sure my partner is healthy. Texting friends back to let them know I care and acknowledge them. Making sure my apprentices are prepared for their jobs. Helping family celebrate milestones. Congratulating others without prompt in their recovery. Basically making sure others are taken care of and feel OK with my companionship, friendship, mentorship, and fellowship. Doing all this and realizing I rarely get this from others. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time a spontaneous gesture of appreciation was given.
Most all of us have felt unappreciated and looked over at one time or another in our lives. If you haven’t, I’d venture to say you are superhuman and I need to find out what you’re doing! Although I do what I do for God, I sin by also doing it for personal selfish gain, acceptance, love from someone alongside God. This is something I struggle with daily. Even though we are clearly taught not to do things out of selfishness, but in humility. (Philippians 2:3-4) This can easily be seen as a form of idolatry. Idolatry of emotions that you feel, or feel you are owed, from someone else.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
I have devoted my recent Bibles studies to figuring out better ways to live for God and not for others. Trying to figure out why I feel unworthy of people and what I can do about it. The feelings of unworthiness are purely of the devil and not of God. The lies are part of the problem. Although the answer seems simple, “just live for God and not others,” it takes a much deeper path in some, including me. I have a psychological dependence that I have fed over the years. Starting with insecurities as a kid and that have carried over into adulthood.
As I’ve mentioned in my information about Alcoholism, the mental state isn’t the sin, but the repeated feeding into it, knowing there is a different way we are supposed to live, is a sin. I am guilty of sinning by continuing to rely on others instead of God alone and what He has to offer me; unconditional love and acceptance. (Ephesians 1:3-6, Genesis 4:7) By doing this, I am basically slapping God’s gifts out of his hand and looking back toward the human. I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to be reliant on others opinions of me, and I want God to be my one and only source of acceptance.
What can you and I do about it? The first step, pardon the cliche, is to acknowledge we are sinning and want to do something about it. The next step is to work on breaking yourself free of the bondage of emotional dependence and understand God’s acceptance of you is all the acceptance you need. (Philippians 4:19)
The way we do this is pray for forgiveness for our sin that we have perpetuated, even though we know it was sinful. Let your actions be good enough for God and you. Remove yourself from situations and relationships that make you feel that you need acceptance from them in order to be happy.
Are you in a cycle of emotional dependence and living for people, Not God? Signs can be, but not limited, to the following;
- Feeling unworthy of praise
- Getting upset or hurt because you were not recognized for your accomplishments
- Seeing the word “no” as pure rejection
- Feeling as if no one likes you
- You only feel happy when getting praised