Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Art of Being Acceptable

She confided that she struggled most of her younger life with self-doubt and low self-esteem. She couldn’t explain it other than she was simply constructed that way. She had no blame shift to point to her upbringing or any particular traumatic experience in her childhood. It was simply who and what she was - not quite good enough.

I understood this but it was an interesting revelation because she always seemed to be so well put together, knowledgable and confident. Shows to go you that we can’t always know what’s going on inside someone else.

She said her life long coping skill, that she created for herself, was to stop wondering if she had any worth or whether anyone else thought she had value and just simply be true to herself and God. She quoted Shakespeare “To thine own self be true… .”

She chose to be what she was to the best of her ability and if she did not meet someone else’s expectations of her, she chose to accept that there was nothing she could do about it so she never allowed that condition to stop her or make her want to quit. 

She seemed warmed up to the possibility she could speak freely at last and cited multiple incidents in her life where she had given her all to something only to either get no response or a passing criticism. Over and over, regardless the disappointments, she pulled herself up and kept moving, never feeling as though there was anywhere she could ever fit or be accepted. It was her normal to feel as though she was a non-person, invisible. 

But not irrelevant.

One day, in her early mid-life, she discovered a backdoor, a way into the inter-sanctum state of being ‘acceptable’. From then on it was her great big secret that she shared with God. Every time she applied her new technique, she experienced an unexpected kind of satisfaction that was far better than getting recognized by the mindless mob. Plus she admitted it gave her a one up better view of how fickle and hypocritical the mindless mob can be. Popularity and recognition is not always as advertised.

I asked if she was willing to share her secret. She smiled, then looked to the side as though she was weighing the risks. Finally she responded somewhat conspiratorially, “I live under the radar. I create with no limits or boundaries and then let someone else have the credit then I sit back and see how others respond. If there are cheers I can secretly bask in the glow. If there are crickets or complaints, I look for ways to improve.” 

Then she added, “I finally figured out that pleasing God is way more important than seeking approval from humans anyway. I believe, with much gratitude, that He chose to hide me so I could move about freely and unseen to be and do His will. I don’t need to be acceptable to the world to get His work done. It has always been an amazing experience for me to see the ongoing positive impact of the smallest act of obedience. Like a stone tossed in a still pond that sends ripples to the other side. In fact, at this point, if I was ever to be noticed by the world I’d wonder what I was doing wrong.”

Duly noted.

For Him,



  1. A woman after my own heart!

    Here’s the thing. Long ago I read this line in a book and never forgot it: "You can’t choose if you don’t have a choice." There is so much trash on the internet these days. If no one puts the Word of God out there, how can any one choose it. But I’ve seen so many people start out well then get sucked up in the publicity and, as they grow in popularity, they stop being the source of the Word and begin to be more of themselves and what’s trendy. So how does one put God’s Word out there yet stay behind the scenes and as anonymous as possible to avoid the pitfalls. When in person, people want to snag you to be the Bible study leader, or class teacher, etc. I would love to know her secret as to exactly how to accomplish this.

    1. Yes, I’ve witnessed such disintegration first hand. Somehow worldly recognition is a pitfall. My best guess has much to do with personality type. Introverts are best described as preferring to be behind the camera instead of in front. I can see that in her. I once said that I do not have to be right, I just like to see good results. She understood.

      For me, since I am a sower not a harvester, I don’t ever expect to see good results. I plant seeds and then let God appoint whomsoever should see or benefit, and also who should reap. When I first started this blog, almost 9 years ago, I was given so much advice about how to use tag words and phrases to get more traffic. I took it all in stride knowing that I have no desire to be found, unless God sends someone. So, I totally get it. Better to stay hidden and free to do His will than be ‘owned’ by the expectations of others. :-)