What does it mean to be accepted and approved?

It means
     “fear and relief from fear,”[1]
     a momentary calmness in the midst of churning waters
     a gulp of air before diving again below the surface.

It means
     too much power relinquished to those who accept and approve,
     too little owning of inner authority.

It means
     temporary respite from striving to achieve,
     a brief release before working toward the next requirement,
          the next vote,
          the next performance review,
          the next awful anxiety.

Embrace, with open arms, all abandonment, all rejection, all failure – once and for all.

Instead, I continue to bargain:
     “Accept me,
     and I will work to achieve much for you
     that you may approve of me!

Such indentured servanthood, such self-sold slavery!

I try to make the same deal with God, but God refuses to make that bargain. 

Acceptance and approval and much, much more –
are already given, and God scoffs at my efforts to achieve.

Degrees and diplomas, certificates and resumes, lie torn and trampled,
     stinking in the waste,
     the used-up, no-longer-needed garbage of my life.


© 1998


[1] from “The Glittering Noise” by Denise Levertov


About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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One Response to What does it mean to be accepted and approved?

  1. Frank Ober says:

    In meeting with the inmates at the correctional facility, I think the most difficult thing for them is to grasp the concept that they are loved by God and maybe even us! That concept that God loves us unconditionally is a concept that is hard to relate to as a human being but that is what makes God a God, isn’t it? Frank

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