Freedom from Approval Addiction


Yesterday’s small group we call “Journey” looked at the rocks we carry around with us, the rocks of sin, felt their weight between our hands, fingered their surface, and stopped imagining they did not keep us from breathing pure, every breath gravely.  The Kingdom of Heaven came near, a blanket of the holy, Kabod it was called in the Old Testament causing the priests and Levites to be knocked to the ground when God filled the temple.  We were knocked down aware of sin strong and then we placed the rocks before the cross on the glass coffee table, clink.  After repentance joy flooded making us want to have a dance party right in Marie Diebold’s living room.

“This is Where the Healing Begins,” sang Tenth Avenue North and we were washed clean. Gracious God!  Rocks no longer ours to carry.  We were cut free.

Repent.  Lay it down and come follow Me.

The Kabod glory covered me and sin was found and I gasped realizing that every time I search for approval, for value in someone else’s eyes, it is an unfaithfulness.  I, like Hosea’s wife, Gomer, go searching for life outside of God.  Habit was formed early and it was the apple that I bit and the core around which my fingers wrap tight.

I watch the eyes of others for hints of boredom or understanding, for bits of my soul to be shined in their care.  I forget God.  I forget God is the giver of all good things, of favor and approval.

Hunchback bent, I have lived deformed, malformed, leaning toward those as unhealed as me expecting them to turn, a lighthouse signaling glory.  False hope glimmers and is gone as each pass in front.

Bent, twisted, warped I hobble. For twenty five years, I have swallowed hard, gulped the weight of expectations.  I have twisted my body, trying to fit the shape another desired.  I forget to stand straight and receive living water from the One.  Forget to receive identity from the One.  I forget the challenge I was made to be. Forget to stand up, listening to One and One only, the Holy Voice always speaking, inviting, affirming, challenging.

Leaking life.  Leaking joy.  Separated.

God, I beg: Heal my waywardness.  Like Jeremiah says, I am unfaithful, a donkey sniffing the wind, looking for fallen earth, hand-shaped earth to show me my true mirror.

The One eternally holding Living water says to this thirsty one:“My people have committed two sins; they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”  (Jeremiah 2:13) Cannot hold water…those I’m asking to stamp “Gift” on my forehead.

I beg, pray for the simple love of one to another, not using the other to meet my needs but loving, listening, open.  Loving simple with hospitality, allowing the Father, present in the Holy Spirit to meet all present needs, theirs and mine.

I took a Sabbath on Thursday to open this wound and ask the Holy Spirit to take His surgeon’s knife and cut out the unhealed from sin from muscle wound tight around it.

This weekend I regressed, began drinking from a well of approval as if I were dying of thirst, searching for evidence that it may run dry.  Four days of searching and I was tired and ready for the Spirit’s operating table.

After opening the wound under the bright light of the Holy Spirit, He spoke clear: Summer, you are not unmoored.

I remember God though I sometimes forget, that You know who whom I am.

Summer, you are not adrift on an inky Winslow Homer sea hoping for someone to guide your dinghy back to shore.  You are rooted and established in Me.  You are attached securely whether your feelings corroborate or not.  You are not unmoored.  You are anchored deep with a thousand roots into Me.

My thoughts jump to an Amazing Race episode where one spouse afraid of heights is walking a tightrope between skyscrapers in some unknown Asian city, the fear being more of a threat than the actual event where belts and carabineers held her tight.  The other spouse points to his eyes with two fingers then to his wife’s and then back again.

Lock on loved one.  Lock on to my eyes and do not let go.  Be anchored here.

I am done fishing for my own life, defining myself, being defined by others.

I hear that, “Follow Me” and think of the thousand times I follow the brass Celtic processional cross down the aisle back out into the world and how I lock my eyes hard onto it.

I do not know where You are leading but I know I have to stay close, to stay moored, to lock onto Your eyes as I balance one foot in front of the other.


for healing of entrenched sins,

for joy counting gifts,

for a God who does not get tired leading me to water,

for a group of women doing this Journey with me.

Summer Gross

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  1. Thank you so much for this post. I sincerely resonate with your words and am struck by my unfaithfulness frequently. Your words are a refreshing balm as someone who deals with this as well. — visiting from A Holy Experience– Lynnea

  2. So beautifully written! I, too, am being set free from the well of approval. The freedom I am finding is incredible! So thankful for the Holy Spirit and His guidance.

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