She decides on a Tuesday morning. “Mom, I want to cut my hair short. I want to donate it.”
Her voice is coming from the back seat, as we drive to the hairdresser in town. She sounds resolute.
“I’ve had this in mind all summer,” she says, “but I haven’t told you. But today I want to cut my hair and donate it. Because it would mean a lot to me if I lost my hair and someone donated theirs to me.”
She tells me that it’s her way of being an answer to someone else’s prayer. She has just enough to give: her hair cascades far past her shoulders.
But what she doesn’t tell me is that she believes, deep down, that her new haircut will be ugly. She is almost certain that she’ll dislike it.
But inside her small self, she knows the truth about life —
if you never risk the scary thing to do the right thing, you’ll miss chances to be a part of the God Things.
So she has mustered up the nerve to have it cut short anyway.
She doesn’t tell me — until after the 10 inches have been snipped, banded and bagged — that she assumed the ugly-worst, but stepped forward despite the anticipated result.
In the end, she tells me, she actually does love her new haircut. (And I do, too.) But that wasn’t the point.
That was never the point.
The truth is —
Doing the right thing isn’t always the beautiful thing, and it might not be the popular thing. But if we set out in our life, only to be liked or applauded in this life, we will compromise anything, and thus, achieve nothing.
Sometimes, when I sit at these computer keys to type out a blog post for you, I think too long about whether you’re going to like it. I’ve wonder if you’ll think it will be:
Ugly. Boring. Lacking substance.
I think longer than I should about whether you’ll approve, despite the fact that God has set me to these keys with a particular mission — regardless of the numbers of people who will ever read it.
You’ve been here long enough to know How I long struggled with desiring the approval of people, sometimes more than the approval of God. I wrote 55,000 words to help myself and anyone else who wants to get free from the clutches of the love idol.
Most days, I know the truth about who I am. I believe in the depths of me what it means to be PreApproved. But some days? I have to preach from the self pulpit. I have to do a lot of what Brennan Manning called “steady self-confrontation.” (Go read the middle of Love Idol to find out just how often we might have to do that. The cure is the process.)
Here’s the deal: Our hearts are hardwired for love, but we can easily go looking for it in all the wrong places. And our desire for approval can set us off on the road toward higher rankings and more likes. If you’ve looked out across your Facebook feed and realize that you didn’t get invited to the “cool kids table,” you know what I’m talking about.
The world is full of rankings, reports and resume lines that make you forget about God — report cards that let you know whether you made the grade in this great big world.
But we’re tired of it. We’re tired of the approval ratings, and the Photoshopped expectations.
We are already loved, approved, seen and known.
And He is making something beautiful out of your one life…
So we’ve got to do the right thing, the God Thing — cut the hair, write the words, pray the prayer, paint the picture, write the book — even if we fear the world will think it’s ugly.
We’ve got to give what we’ve got, in order to be the answer to one person’s prayer.
Did you know that it takes 20 to 30 hair donations to make one wig? Each donation has value.
Anna’s hair was just enough, Just. Enough.
Just long enough to offer something. Anna gave what she had.
And that’s what we can do. We can give what we have. We can give our voice, our story, our love.
Even our hair.
What you do may never, ever go viral.
I’ve been blogging for seven years this July, but never had a post go viral.
That doesn’t mean this isn’t worth it. That doesn’t mean that any of us should stop. Our worth isn’t measured by virality or Facebook shares. It is measured by a God who declares us incalculably worthwhile, and immeasurably loved. He is inviting us to a life of loving Him, serving Him, enjoying Him forever.
Ann Voskamp wisely wrote it like this last week:
“The size of your ministry isn’t proof of the success of your ministry. The very Son of God had a ministry to 12. And even one of them abandoned Him. Forget the numbers in your work. Focus on the net value of your work. The internet age may try to sell you something different, but don’t ever forget that viral is closely associated with sickness — and focusing on numbers can make you nauseated.”
Look. We’ve got to know we’re preapproved — already approved. We have nothing to prove. We’ve got to know if when we write non-viral blog posts, when we show up at Bible study unable to find Zephaniah or Zechariah, when we feel like we’re the only one in the room who doesn’t know the right answers. When we didn’t get invited. When we’re scared to pray out loud. And when we represent the largest jean size in the room.
We’ve got to know we’re already approved, that we have nothing to prove, when we wear our swimsuits in public.
And? When we try CrossFit with friends and discover that parts of our bodies are insanely underused. Behold —
Being preapproved isn’t an excuse to be a slacker. It’s not a clever phrase that gets us out of doing our best. God calls us to excellence. He wants us to take care of our bodies and give our best in our callings. But telling ourselves we are “PreApproved” is a way to retrain our hearts, which have long believed the lie that our worth is tied to our good performances.
We’ve got to change our words to change our hearts. And when we change our hearts, we change our world.
When we know who we really are — approved and loved by Christ — we are no longer held back. We are free. Because we know we are His.
Not because we are viral. Or invited. Or magazine-cover-beautiful. Or applauded at the annual meeting.
But because we are His.
His banner over you doesn’t say, “Prove yourself” or “Try Harder” or “Go Viral.”
His banner over you isn’t a sales report, or an Amazon ranking, or a Facebook share.
His banner over you is simply this —
You don’t have to earn anyone’s love anymore. Believe this: That you are already God’s beloved.
The Movement of the #PreApproved Sisterhood
To find our printables and more information about what it means to be PreApproved, click here.
Wear the truth about your PreApproved status in Christ over your heart. These custom-designed necklaces — inspired by Love Idol — are on sale this month for $18 (reguarly $24). Head over to Krafty Kash Designs to order yours.