The Norman Transcript

Religion

November 14, 2013

Fear of rejection drives behaviors

NORMAN — Of the many fears that can drive our behavior or cause us to severely limit our behavior, fear of failure is an enormous and debilitating one. It can make us so driven to accomplish and achieve, that we no longer have the time to develop a real and substantial relationship with the people we most need the acceptance of.

Or, on the other end of the spectrum, we may be so afraid of the rejection of others that we avoid them to protect ourselves from even the possibility of rejection. Either way, we lose. Our family and friends and colleagues lose, too, when they don’t have the opportunity of a connected relationship with us.

As Robert S. McGee describes this dilemma in “The Search for Significance,” he suggests that our culture teaches us that our worth and value are based on achievement, accomplishment and others’ approval. I believe we have allowed this kind of thinking to influence how we measure spirituality at times.

Jesus had to address this kind of thinking in his disciples, potential disciples and the Pharisees. He did not have the approval of his disciples on many occasions.

In the first chapter of Mark, we read that Peter and some of the other disciples were frustrated and perturbed with Jesus taking time away from healing to go off alone and pray.

They must have been upset with Him for sleeping in the front of the boat while they feared for their lives rowing in a storm.

They did not seem to be pleased with Him talking to a disreputable woman at the well or allowing Himself to be anointed with expensive perfume that could have been sold and the money given to the poor.

What God calls us to is a belief that our value and worth are not based on what we accomplish, achieve or who approves of us, but that it is based on who we are in Him and what His Son has done for us.

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