I shared this prayer yesterday on social media, and I think it's perfect for us on a Friday. Ideal for the fitness-minded believer. Pastor Scotty titled it: A Prayer from Living as an "Approval Suck." Kinda catches you off-guard, right? Well, the prayer catches me between the eyes. Praying with you all. Have a good weekend. Approval-free. Dear heavenly Father, it’s not just apostles who need freedom from living for the approval of people; it’s all of us, it’s me. We can’t love people well if our need for affirmation, or fear of rejection, is greater than our love for you.

As I look at my relational brokenness and sin, I can see how “people pleasing” has played out in two ways in my story. On one hand, there’ve been people to whom I’ve looked to give me life. Their praise could make me, and their shame could break me.

On the other hand, there’ve been people in whose lives I’ve assumed the role of life giver. The need to be needed can be crippling, for all parties involved. I grieve both of these patterns, Father, but I also rejoice at how you’ve been freeing me. But I don’t want to live as an “approval suck”—even a little bit.

It’s only because the gospel is true, I can freely confess my sin and brokenness—without wearing the burden of guilt or a sense of being a spiritual pigmy. I’m so thankful for the liberty grace gives us not to pose and pretend. Because the gospel is powerful, I have hope for even more change, and bring it on Father.

I want to love others as Jesus loves me, and as he loves them; so help me to take back the power I’ve given certain people over my heart. I don’t want to shrink in the presence of anybody; and I don’t want to look to any human being to “complete me.” That’s your role Father.

So by the power Holy Spirit, keep blasting my heart with the gospel—keep bearing witness with my spirit that I’m your beloved child, Abba, Father. That’s the way to greater freedom; that’s the only way to relational health and emotional freedom. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ loving and liberating. Scotty Smith