Why Do I Crave What I Already Have?

I’m reading a book called, You Can Change, by Tim Chester.  It’s helping me see areas God is at work in me: areas He has changed and ways change is still needed in my life. He encourages his readers to pick a “change project” to use for application throughout the book.

I picked the area of man-pleasing. God has been revealing to me recently how much I’m motivated by a craving for the approval of others. It’s what the Bible calls the fear of man. And He’s using Mr. Chester to help me by asking me some tough, probing questions:

  • When I get angry it’s usually because….
  • When do I most often experience this craving for other’s approval?
  • What triggers it?
  • What’s going on in my heart? What am I wanting or needing at that moment?
  • What am I afraid of or worried about when I’m tempted with this pattern?

Whew. The kind of heart-searching this book is requiring of me is tough. I want to skip these questions and just move on to the next chapter!  (I’ve often done that very thing with books I’ve read.) But Wednesday night I’m getting with a group of people who are studying this together, so I can’t skip them. I have to answer them. Honestly.

In short, God is reminding me that I don’t like it when people don’t think I’m as great as I think I am. While that’s embarrassing to admit, it explains my recurring bouts with feeling unappreciated. It also helps me understand why my fuse is pretty short when I feel someone has jumped to conclusions about me (or someone close to me) without asking clarifying questions. Honesty has to begin with me being honest with myself.

“If people only knew how much I sacrifice. That I really did think that situation through –didn’t they know I wouldn’t be as thoughtless as they’re assuming?  How could someone who really knows me think I was that selfish?” Over the past few days the Lord has been introducing me to myself.

I’m smiling. Someone once said, “Whatever you think of me, the truth about me is worse than you think.” It’s true.  When I’m stretching my arm as far as it will extend to pat myself on the back, I’m resentful that others aren’t joining me.

Mr. Chester is helping me to see the truth about my heart. I’m far more self-centered than anyone knows.  I crave the approval of others, and punish them (most often, silently in the quiet of my heart) when I don’t get their applause. I expect others to believe the best of me even when I don’t extend that same grace to them.

Oh, what comfort to know that the One who knows me best — including all my sinful cravings and secret resentments — has declared me not guilty of these ugly patterns in my heart.  Because of His death in my place on the cross, He looks on me with approval and pleasure, and welcomes me every time I come to him with, “Please forgive me…again.” The approval I long for is already mine.

So here I am again, Lord.  Forgive me for looking to people for the approval that You purchased for me on the cross. How is it that I have been given so precious a gift as Your love and acceptance? Thank you for the gift of conviction of my sin! It seems as if the times I feel Your nearness the most are when I feel the least deserving of it. What a Savior You are.  I love you, Jesus.


10 thoughts on “Why Do I Crave What I Already Have?

  1. Good blog article Sheree! We so miss you guys!

    Jeannette and I were listening to Piper’s sermon yesterday on the “The Word of God is at Word in You” and as a practical application for us to change, he gave a very helpful acrostic for practical application in times like this focused on God and His Word as our source of help.

    It is A-P-T-A-T.
    A – Admit you cannot do anything (confess & repent; ultimately you can do nothing apart from Him).

    P – Pray. Pray, “God help me! I’m desperate apart from you. If anything is going to change here, it has to be YOU!”

    T – Trust a specific tailor-made, blood-bought promise. And Piper says this is critical. We need God’s Word on this issue to reach deep into our hearts and we need to stand on the truth specifically of a specific, precious and magnificent promise and remembering it was bought by His blood on the cross.

    One example he gave was anxiety or fears or worry. So you could choose Philippians 4:6-8 and commit it to memory and to trust: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things!”

    A – Act! Don’t wait, don’t think about it. Do something. Confess it to the person (s) next to you or better yet, the one you are being anxious with or about. Ask them to hold you accountable. Tell them it’s a struggle for you and you want them to periodically ask you if you’re being tempted to be anxious.

    T – Thank God. Really tell God you’re grateful. “Thank you Lord! You did it again! None of this would ever get better apart from You, Lord! You are my strength! You are my refuge! You are my Savior! You are my everything!”

    I thought this was a very helpful idea for application focused on the Word to help us change. There’s probably many others out there. But the only thing that’s important is that we have a good strategy for change by God’s grace.

    Hope you guys are doing good and we’re praying for your new adventure.

    Ciao from Italy!

  2. This is really good…very helpful example of fighting sin while keeping grace at the forefront.

    Lee, your comments were very helpful as well..thanks for taking the time to contribute that practical and challenging example.

  3. Wow. Oh how I loved reading this article. Simply phenomenal. I have reread it three times now, and have found a different nugget(each one worthy of an in-depth look) each time. Thank you Mrs. Phillips, I look forward to reading future posts.

  4. Lee,

    Such helpful thoughts. Thank you for sharing this. I will have the opportunity to do A tomorrow night with our Community Group and appreciate the encouragement to be accountable to others.

    Love and miss you guys!

  5. Sheree,

    You are such an incredible example of Gods love and grace. I love reading your posts as they not only bring tears but deep thoughts of how can that apply to my own situation and convictions. Most of all thank you for always being so open and reminding me that ALL sin has been forgiven and that we are all alike more than we’re not in terms of sin. What gratitude and peace I have now in my life knowing this….

    Love you xoxoxoxoxo

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