When It Drives You Crazy that She Isn’t Crazy About You

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On a hot June evening my family drives to our college town, where David and I are excited to show the kids landmarks in their mom and dad’s history. Before strolling around the Oklahoma State campus, we stop at our favorite college hangout for lunch: Eskimo Joe’s. Over a plate piled high with chili cheese fries, my husband and I look at one another and grin as memories of those carefree dating years circle our table and stretch around town.

A short time later, however, my grin fades. I had high hopes of reconnecting with a longtime friend who lives in the same town, but after suggesting a flexible array of days and times to get together, I realize she doesn’t necessarily feel the same excitement. With stammered out words, she shoots each possibility down. I give up and tell her I look forward to making it work another time, even as something in her tone told me it probably never will.

*****

I stare at the computer screen, biting my thumbnail like I do every time I’m perplexed. I’d written a friend of mine several times, a friend with whom I enjoyed a close relationship and semi-regular communication. But now, I heard crickets in return. After repeated attempts to reach out and connect, all I saw were u-turn signs.  I couldn’t deny it any longer: my friendship with this person changed.

And ya know, it’s hard for me to be okay with that.

*****

It’s easy to return to 8th grade, the land of flourishing-one-minute and fizzling-the-next friendships. You can walk the school hallways as a grownup too, keenly aware that you’re more interested in being someone’s friend than she is in return. You cross your arms against the hurt as your pride gets a slap in the face. But that’s not the hard part. When you genuinely care about that friend and value her presence in your life, your heart takes a hit, too.

And for me, that’s still not the worst of it.

I have a history of tying together my approval rating with what others think of me, and the ribbons holding them together are thoughts like if this person got to know me and is no longer all that crazy about me, then there must be a good reason. And if she sees it, other people will too. 

And then the ultimate piggyback thought:

That good reason must be this: something is wrong with me.

I give myself an F for friendship, an F for me. Approval denied.

Oh how I need a u-turn on this kind of thinking, because here’s the straight up truth: I am pre-approved by the One Who wove me together and loves me forever. The state of my relationships can’t change my approval rating. While I know this is true, the words below help move the message from my head to my heart:

When believers come to know God’s love, heart-deep, we are compelled to live into that love, life-deep. To be preapproved means this: we love from our approval, not for our approval. We love without expecting anything in return.

“Go!” God tells us, “You are no longer tied down by fears of rejection or disapproval or popular opinion. If you forget how much I love you…Turn back to Me, and I will remind you how much you are treasured.”

~ Jennifer Dukes Lee, Love Idol

There is freedom in replacing these fears, in believing God means what He says. There is freedom in throwing your shoulders back, lifting your eyes to that daughter, sister, or friend, and loving her where she is today, not where you wish she was.

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You and I both know not everyone is going to dig our action. And if we’re honest, we admit we sometimes don’t dig theirs. Seasons change, we change, and even folks who were once close to us may not stay that way. What makes a friendship fit today won’t necessarily make it fit forever.

But that IS okay. Because when life demands relationship changes, nothing changes your approval rating. Your Creator is crazy about you.

So feel free, preapproved daughter, to go crazy loving on others.

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If you liked the passage above from Jennifer’s book, then you’ll want to run not walk to preorder Love Idol: Letting go of your need for approval – and seeing yourself through God’s eyes right now. It arrives in bookstores April 1st. I’ve read it, and it has healed more in this approval-addict’s heart than any other book I’ve read in a long, long time. 5 exuberant stars for this one!

And if you’d like to connect further with Jennifer Dukes Lee, then feel free to visit her glorious website here.

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  1. says

    Good timing with this post. I was experiencing this with some friends lately and even with some relatives. Like you, I had to remind myself that people are people and they can’t increase or decrease me. God approves. That’s all we need to know. Thanks for the reminder, Kristen!

  2. says

    Such a good word, Kristen!! It’s been close to 10 years now, and I’m still occasionally beating myself up over a college friendship that didn’t continue- and I’ve never been able to figure out why. I don’t do well with the changing seasons of life! I want forever friends, and if God only intends for a friendship to last for a season, I think that I know better!

  3. says

    I struggled with this for so long! I just saw this repeated pattern in my life of people that I was close to leaving and suddenly everything was changed and they seemed to no longer want my friendship. And yet, I can see that I’ve done the same to others at other times. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken through by the love of God in our lives.

    Thank you for putting this into words.

  4. says

    “I am pre-approved by the One Who wove me together and loves me forever.”
    love!
    that approval from others is hard stuff. I used to be addicted to it. now I try to keep my eyes on the one who “pre-approved” me, knowing that will automatically make me a better friend to those god brings to my life. not easy!

  5. says

    I was just talking about this very thing with a friend earlier. If Jennifer reads this, then you both should know this has sealed the deal on me getting this book! :) (BTW – I give you an ‘A’ precious girl!)

  6. Melissa says

    Thank you for this today, Kristen. Something has been on my heart for a few days and I completely needed this to know I am not alone and to reinforce that there is really only one approval that “counts.”

  7. says

    Kristen!

    This! How I love this. And you.

    And look at you with those preapproved printables! How that makes my heart sing.

    Praying this verse over all of us: “He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with APPROVAL at high noon.” Psalm 37:6, The Message

    • says

      BOOM. That verse is golden.

      And how I love that you so faithfully – beautifully! – wrote this book, a freedom song for all us recovering approval addicts. I can never thank you enough, beautiful friend. All my love to you!

  8. says

    Kristen, I could have written this myself. Just recently I found myself in this same place. In the past, feelings of hurt and rejection would have destroyed me. But then I read something- the first rejection ever happened in the Garden. Adam and Eve rejected the perfect love of God. There was nothing but awesome love, creativity, and provision gifted to them and they chose the fruit and what the fruit “could give them”. God wasn’t enough.

    For whatever reason, this knowledge- that God understand rejection and loves anyway, made perfect sense to me.

    What I have to offer to others is tainted by my sinful nature. Even my very best will never compare to God’s perfection. That people would reject or dismiss what I have to offer shouldn’t surprise me. Does it hurt? Absolutely. Does it bother sometimes? Yes. But if I can walk like Jesus does and love anyway, that’s all that God asks of me. It really frees me from the expectations I put on others. So glad you shared today!

  9. says

    Oh my, I think this all the time…Instead of thinking that well we’ve changed, don’t have anything in common anymore, etc…I think there must be something wrong with me. I must be unlikable. That is so hard to overcome. Beautiful reminder, though, that He loves me no matter what!

  10. says

    Great post! Isn’t it amazing how quickly those hurts from our teen years come back to the surface to sting us in our adulthood? I also received an advanced copy of “Love Idol” and am loving it!! The knowledge of this pre-approval that’s available to me and everyone, is so freeing. Feeling the shackles releasing more with each turn of a new page.

  11. Beth Williams says

    Great post Kristin.

    To often people crave attention and approval. If they would just realize that God already pre-approved them and doesn’t EVER stop loving them no matter what!

    Kristen like others have said here before YOU ARE DEFINITELY AN A+++ Gal in the friendship realm!!! :) Just because someone rejects you or changes her mind on you–Phooey on that and just move on!

    Love ya

    Blessings :)