Does Anyone Appreciate All I Do?

Does Anyone Appreciate All I Do?

March 18, 2016

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 (NIV)

After finishing a big project at work, I was pretty proud of myself. Although most of my part had been behind the scenes, I hoped someone had noticed. The next few days, I checked and rechecked my emails and texts, waiting for an “atta girl” or “well done” message. But none came.

While I was slightly disappointed, I didn’t make a big deal of it … that was until another person in the organization completed one small task as part of my bigger project and was praised effusively.

Although I joined my thanks in the responses, my heart became very sad when my name wasn’t mentioned.

The lack of notice hurt more than it should have. And over the next few weeks, my feelings got hurt with increased intensity, and I began to wonder if anyone appreciated all I do for them. It started at work but spread to home.

When my kids left shoes in the living room I’d just picked up, or my husband didn’t say thank you for dinner, the hurt grew.

When I finally broke down in tears one afternoon, I realized something had gotten mixed up. Why did my heart get bent out of shape when I didn’t get the praise and acknowledgement I thought I deserved?

As I took some time to think this through, it seemed like somewhere over the previous months, my desire to serve my Savior was overshadowed by a desire for approval from others.

Jesus taught on this very topic in Matthew 5 and 6. He gathered His disciples for a lesson on life in His Kingdom, which was radically different from the dusty streets of Galilee they knew. In this world, we do look to others for approval. But it’s very different in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus wanted His disciples to understand an important truth: God is always watching. Whether our work is on a public stage or done in the quietness of our homes, God sees. And when we do things with a heart to serve Him, He rewards us with His pleasure.

However, when we work with impure motives or just to gain others’ approval, that is our reward … temporary and superficial.

It seems our heart motive makes the difference. Jesus cut right to the core issue in Matthew 6:1: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (NIV).

The Jews were all about parading their righteousness in public hoping to be noticed, including praying with great spectacle. Jesus addressed that specific issue in our key verse, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you(Matthew 6:6).

Jesus wasn’t saying don’t ever pray out loud; He was giving us the key to break our desperate need for approval. According to Jesus, we receive God’s approval in the secret places, when no one else knows what we’ve done.

As I looked back over that time when my feelings were hurt consistently, I realized I hadn’t spent much time in secret places with God. I hadn’t sought His approval.

I managed to read a few Bible verses before bed and whisper a few prayers during the day. But the truth was I’d neglected time with my Heavenly Father. I’d exchanged His whispers of approval for the inconsistent and unfulfilling approval from people.

I needed to get alone with God, quiet the world’s feedback, so I could hear His voice.

And when I did, I realized that one word of approval from God is worth more than a hundred “atta-girl” comments.

The next time disappointment creeps up when I’m overlooked, or I think, “Why not me?” — I’ll see it as a little warning. It’s my reminder to go back to that secret place. To spend time with God alone.

That’s where I’ll get the acceptance my heart really wants.

Heavenly Father, thank You for seeing what I really need and want. The approval of people never satisfies. Help me to see it as a poor substitute for Your approval — which brings me true joy and meaning. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Galatians 1:10, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (NLT)

1 Corinthians 3:13-14, “Their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.” (NIV)

Longing to write memorable words that are life-changing? Eager to build a platform, but realize it takes more writing than you thought? Today’s devotion author, Glynnis Whitwer, directs the content for COMPEL, a monthly membership community equipping those who want to hone their craft. Take advantage of our week-long open registration and join COMPEL today! Registration ends March 24, 2016, at midnight PT.

If you can relate to feelings of being underappreciated, stop by Glynnis Whitwer’s blog for more encouragement today.

Why is the approval of people often more important than God’s approval?

What is one thing you can do in secret this week to try and break the addiction to approval from others?

© 2016 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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  1. This is a real challenge to do one thing
    To do in private to break the addiction of approval by others.

    I think I will start a list of times God’s grace and mercy were actually responsible for something I was given credit for doing.

    By the end of the week, I hoped my list will bear meaning to me.i hope to refer to it in future moments of “me -me-me!”

    • Glynnis Whitwer says:

      I love the idea of giving God the credit! Thanks so much for sharing this idea about your list. That is truly wise!

  2. Colleen Schaming says:

    Thank you for this message. It gave me great comfort and peace.. Thank you, Father for seeing all things and knowing what is in my heart.

  3. Thanks for this!

  4. Thank you n thank to the Almighty God. We always do thing to please the world n forgetting to please the one who gives us the strength to do all things. Lately I’ve decided to take time every evening to talk to God in my closed door with no disturbance where I would read the bible and pray peacefully. I always feel better and sleep well at night. It’s all because of the encouragement from Proverbs 31 Ministries.

    • Glynnis Whitwer says:

      Joining you in thanks to God for His goodness! I read my Bible at night too! It helps center my mind on truth and wash away the junk from the day.

      May the Lord bless you today, sister!

  5. Marianne says:

    This blog spoke to me at just the right time.
    I was feeling exactly like he aurhor did today and was looking through the bible for a verse of encouragenent. Then checking my email this article was just what I needed to hear today.
    Thankful for this message.

  6. This has been a great encouragement for me.I have been facing a great deal of disrespect and mistreatment from my relatives for the last year I moved to live with them.I resently graduated w masters degree straight A, but don’t work yet.They are not going to church anymore, and they behaviours are totally disrespectful to say the least(speaking lies behind my back to others everyday, hurting my self esteem and feelings and so on)They have been supporting me financially only during my last 6 months of study.As soon as I find a job I will be moving out.But what You have discussed here was an eye opener, it really is what God things what it realy matters.Be blessed!

    • Hi Thea, I’m sorry that you have to go through what’s happening to you right now. Pray for your family. Ask God for a heart like Jesus. I guarantee that if you pray sincerely and according to God’s will that He will move heaven and earth for you 🙂

    • Thea, the words “hurting my self-esteem” jumped out as I read your post.

      We are all sinners saved by grace. We are loved by the Father, redeemed by the Son and empowered by the Spirit. It is not “self esteem” that counts. You are esteemed by God as a daughter of the kingdom. Unkind comments may hurt your feelings, but they do not alter your esteemed position as one loved by God.

      God grants you the honor and challenge of praying for those who persecute you. Aminata is right. Pray for your family. Let a fountain of blessings for them flow from your lips to God’s heart.

    • Glynnis Whitwer says:

      Precious Thea, the Lord sees you and is honored by your choice to love your family in spite of the persecution. May you be a light in a dark place while you are there, and I pray the Lord opens doors in His timing for you to step through.

  7. Hi Glynnis, thank you for this timely reminder. It seems as though we’re always chasing the approval of man and only when that fails do we turn to God. Our priorities are topsy-turvy. Today I’m praying that God will realign us.

    • Glynnis Whitwer says:

      You are welcome, Aminata. I need daily reminders to believe God’s truth over the world’s lies. And I praise Him for His faithfulness to me.

      Thanks for your comment today. It blessed me!

  8. Thank you

  9. This really spoke to my heart today. I’m the kind of person who likes to serve others, I love doing things for others to make them happy ( not for reward seeking). It was my birthday and I was thinking maybe the husband and kids would something nice for me at least….. Nothing. I was disappointed. Then I started thinking how I sacrifice and do things for others on their birthdays and when it’s mine nobody does anything. Then I remembered Galatians 6:9 “Let us not be weary in doing good for at the right time we will receive our reward if we do not give up”. I do seek appreciation too, but I’m learning that man’s approval is ephemeral, only God’s approval lasts forever. Now when I’m tempted too complain I turn to Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without complaining or arguing”.

  10. Val Voll says:

    Great reminder of who to seek approval from. Thank You

  11. Kinser Euler says:

    Wow! This was right on time for me this morning!! So grateful for your obedience to Gods calling in your life, Glynnis. He is really speaking through you!

  12. Thank you for this message. I have been struggling to forgive and forget an instance at work and those involved. This helped remind me that God knows the truth in all situations and as long as I focus on Him I will find the peace I need. I look forward to these devotions each morning to challange me and set the tone for my day. Great job Glynnis!

  13. Much needed and right on time.

  14. Love this.
    Seems like we go through life at break neck speed or living sinfully and then have moments of peace where we remember whose we are. What would it take to live MOST moments knowing whose we are and truly at inner peace? Would it take lessening the daily load? Would it take saying no more often and being firm to much that is making us cluttered? Would it mean having less things and more time at home? Making a little less money? Our world always seems to think more is more but it puts us in a place that saps our esteem. I don’t think God meant for us-especially women-to do it ALL and at the same time:work, manage home, homework, housework, family time, and do it all well…and yet many do and we wind up with only moments of lucidity in knowing where our esteem should lie. What would our world look like if we truly said and behaved like our time with God and our families could be enough and of utmost importance, and really stick with it, whatever that may mean. I wonder if that would help in bringing a better consistency of our esteem in God as opposed to in others. It’s not the only thing that would help, but I venture to say that it would make a huge difference.



  16. I really needed to hear this today. Thank you! Sometimes I feel as if my husband depends on me to to do this for him and I try daily, but I know it’s not enough. Is there a similar men’s blog up like this that anyone knows of?
    Thank you again.

  17. This devotion was so needed today. My feelings have been so bruised over the past several weeks because something I had done for my son and his wife had gone unnoticed. They will soon be returning home to have their first child, my first grandchild. While the physical distance has presented a challenge over the past two years, I’ve tried to always stay in touch and do small things for them. And they all seem to be go unnoticed. This devotional has made me realize I’ve been doing all of this with the wrong motives. I will continue to do small things for them; but, doing them strictly out of love, expecting nothing in return. God knows my heart and that’s what is most important. Thank you Glynnis!

  18. Thank you for this I struggle with this but this information gives me a means to get healed

  19. Thank you thank you! I’ve been struggling with this for months now I know where I’ve been clouded….eye opener!

  20. Thank you so much for this devotion today! I have been feeling unappreciated by my family for months. I just want to give up. This reminded me that we are servants to Christ and not to humans. He will never let us down or make us feel unappreciated. Thank you Jesus for being my Rock! Help me to focus on You during my days and not on this fallen world and to not let my feelings get in the way of what You want me to do.

    Galatians 1:10 is my new life verse.

    • Greetings from Oregon! Galatians 1:10 resonated with me too. If I had to choose………..I would choose Christ over family when it comes to seeking approval. BUT being human, we live with family and it’s our need for approval of those we literally see and deal with daily etc. My prayer is that HE is enough. HE is a true friend…..parent…..spouse etc. Thank you for sharing…….you said what I was thinking!

  21. Thank you this today. I have felt this way before. I need to realize when I start feeling this way, to find my quiet place and be with the Lord.

  22. Dora Lenchuk says:

    Thank you for the message. As a mother and stay home mom, I admitted the many times I’m trying to always look for my family approval and gratitude for what I do while all of them are at school and work. And I do my chores here at home.

    Thank you.

  23. Galatians 1:10, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” This is perfect! Helping people is the goal, yes. When my mind is healthy and thinking “for God” it’s like I can see Him smile and that’s what counts.

  24. Hit home . . . . I remember one Thanksgiving when we were eating the meal, I think I had had a miscarriage earlier in the month. i couldn’t believe everyone complaining – all 6 of them, husband included. They probably weren’t real complaints, maybe opinions but it broke me down to tears. Those little faces of my kids were shocked. I let that be my lesson, so I thought to not take it to heart or look for praise. Then I started working outside the home. The LORD has been a comfort and encourager for me. I have even had one of the ladies I work indirectly with write me a little note and put it on my desk to thank me. God is so good. Thank you for sharing your heart today.

  25. Melissa, I agree. My husband relies on approval as well and has put pressure on me with the things I do. It never seems like I do enough and this has been a source of conflict in our almost 20 year marriage. I live daily wondering if I am doing what I am supposed to do. Raising 3 children, working fulltime and all the other daily things I do just don’t seem to cut it. We are recently separated because he asked me “what do I do”. I know that he defines himself by what he does, as do most of us.I have fallen for that lie as well. I need to be reminded that we are both children of God and that should be what defines us. Praying for a restored marriage.

    • Glynnis Whitwer says:

      Dana, I’m praying for you today. God is able to do all things. If you have time, please visit my blog today. My husband’s love language is Words of Appreciation and mine isn’t. So it’s always a source of tension … but it’s one worth managing. I didn’t write about that specifically, but I think my post might encourage you.

  26. Cheryl Childers says:

    Thanks Glynnis: So needed this today.

  27. Beth Anderson says:

    This resonates. 🙂 Thank you, Glynnis!

  28. Glynnis, these words hit home today. I am in this mode myself right now. Battling feelings of hurt because I feel very sidelined in a certain situation despite being a major contributor. Others are being praised and I’m being ignored. Every day I have to lay that down and ask the Lord to keep my heart soft toward these “others.” I have to keep listening for God’s voice to assure me that I’m doing what he has asked me to do – and that needs to be enough.

    • Glynnis Whitwer says:

      Hi Denise, boy do I feel for you. I wrote about this instance years ago, but it still happens. I’m usually a confident person and that conveys to others that I don’t need to be constantly affirmed. I’ve learned to let a few good co-workers know it matters to me to have my work noticed, and they are faithful to speak words of encouragement. That and keeping my eyes on my Heavenly Father help ease the hurt when it pops up. Praying you hear God’s voice clearly today saying, “well done!”

  29. A hard lesson for me to hear. Thank you for telling your story.

  30. Perfect reminder that is needed at the moment. I often feel like this at times; doing a million things at once to help keep my family up float and on the days where it gets to be too much to bare, I would break down because I am seeking approval and appreciation from others more than the approval from God. One of the days this past week, traffic was horrible. It took me one hour and 30 minutes to get to my daughter’s daycare and another 1 hour and 30 minutes to get back home (not including the commute time it took me get to work). Finally, when we got home, I wanted to spend time with my daughter, except she kept wanting to hangout with her grandma. I was very envious and said to my husband, I spent so much time timing to make sure she is safe to and from daycare and she doesn’t even appreciate what I did and want to spent time with me. He looked at me and said, do you even hear the words that are coming out of our mouth? She’s only 1 years old and she doesn’t know how to give appreciation. Boy, do I need to spend time with the Lord and only seek his approval. Yes, appreciation from other is good, but not to the point where I am constantly seeking it. Thank you for the devotion.

  31. A very powerful message,indeed we turn to have tendency of seeking for the approval and praises from people.

    The Lord of the universe knows and do rewards us for our hard work whether public or secrets.
    Again thank you for an encouragement from this article

  32. God spoke through you today and I thank you for your devotion. I recently lost a parent. And when I read the weekly email to a ministry team I serve on, the team leader asked us all to pray for another team member who had lost a parent. It feels like a slap in the face that the team has not been asked to pray for me. I am not seeking approval, but it makes me question my importance to the team. Is it selfish or improper for me to tell the team leader how hurtful this situation is? I would wait until I can discuss it without crying. I would hate for other team members to experience a similarl hurt, even though I’m certain it was an oversight, not an intentional slight.

    • Glynnis Whitwer says:

      Hi Linda, I’m so sorry about the loss of your parent. It creates such a deep hole in our hearts that we carry forever.

      I would absolutely tell the team leader about your loss, and how it felt to be left out. And you are wise to wait until you can do so in a kind and gracious manner. Assume the best about your team leader and your words will change his/her life.

  33. It amazes me how God uses this website to speak directly to me. I have been struggling feeling very unappreciated at my job and this put things back into perspective. Thank you!

  34. Virginia Huffman says:

    Thank you for this timely message. I am sitting here in a hotel room on my way to deal with my mom who has Alzheimer’s. Am am on my own for the most part trying to transition her for her own good and safety. Yet this morning when I called to let her know I was returning she blasted me with hurtful words that cut to the core. Now I can go back in the ring and face her with the love of Christ as MY MOTIVATION IS DOING IT FOR HIM.

    • Glynnis Whitwer says:

      Virginia, I’m praying for you as you care for your mother. May you have the mind of Christ, and a heart of compassion, as you make these hard decisions.

      I worked in retirement and assisted living communities for years before coming to Proverbs 31 Ministries in 1998. I know how hard it is on the children to see their parents change, especially with Alzheimer’s.

      God will be your strength as you are a light in very dark places.

  35. Dori Sheese says:

    I have struggled with seeking others approval in many things, and have worked hard to learn to seek God’s approval for the things I do – it is a process, but this helps reconfirm that we are not working for “the world”, we are working for God!! Thank you, Glynnis! God Bless!

  36. Thank you for this devotional! It has been such a journey for me to be okay with just doing things for God and not worrying about getting any recognition on Earth.

    Thank you for sharing your story to remind us we are not alone on this journey.

  37. Rochelle says:

    I certainly appreciate your wisdom and encouragement, Glynnis! I’ve been working in ministry
    for about 28 years, and rarely get the thanks I think I “deserve.” Your message was spot-on! Thanks
    for broadening my perspective on so many occasions. You may not always know when you touch another
    life, but God does! God bless you.

  38. Sally Ann Price says:

    This is great reading. I got a lot out of this. This reading is so true. I really needed to hear this.

  39. This really hit home for me. Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this site. I have been reading your site for several weeks and never dropped you a line of appreciation until today when it hit me right between the eyes How true that God knows all and sees all. I am very thin skinned and my feelings tend to get hurt way to easily. I am flagging this item today and will refer back to your well put statements today.
    Joyce Parks

  40. This devotion completely resonates with me at this point in my life, so thank you for writing it. I’m wondering, though, how to balance between finding joy in God’s approval and being a words of affirmation person? This is a huge struggle for me – especially lately. Any thoughts?

  41. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  42. Yes, I love this post!
    I really agree that spending time along with God is extremely important because we need to seek his approval-not the approval of others. No wonder I have been feeling a little bit upset about not getting the approval of some of the people in my life.

    But how can one not seek approval of others though? We are human beings.
    You would probably care at least a little bit, right?

    It seems really hard.
    If anyone knows how, would you please kindly respond to my comment?

  43. kathy ferguson says:

    God’s timing is always perfect! Thanks for sharing ?

  44. Thank you for this beautiful blog post, Glynnis! It has touched a deep place in my heart. I’m really struggling right now with all the issues you have described. God is always watching: El Roi. I have printed out this blog posting and will put it in my journal tonight so that when I’m feeling this frustration, I can look back and me reminded that I want to be CHRIST’S servant.

  45. What an inspiring website you have. A friend (a girlfriend-in-God) forwarded ur devotional to me.
    Thank you for your words of encouragement.

  46. Rachel Curtis says:

    Ask God to help me see him as more than enough. That his eternal pleasure is far better than any Praise or approval I will receive here on earth.

  47. cindy gb says:

    Today’s thoughts are spot on as I face a messy house. Housecleaning is my least favorite thing as I feel resentful. I now have some verses to pray over and set my mind in a better direction. Thank you!

  48. Is feeling good about something unselfish done in secret okay? Is it God letting me know he approves, or is it me being prideful?

  49. Laurie M says:

    I can relate to so much in this article. I often want to be noticed as the special snowflake instead of just a team member in the work blizzard. Just one note, where you say “the Jews were all about parading their righteousness” I think the verse refers to the Pharisees, who, yes, were Jewish, but a group very concerned with outward appearances. Not all Jews were part of this group, as a matter of fact, the Pharisees were often disliked for their hypocrisy. These distinctions are important to those who have members of Jewish heritage in their famiky. Thanks.

  50. I can relate to this so much. I start out doing something for all the right reasons but then get caught up in the “I hope someone gives me a shout-out” game. I am constantly praying for a pure heart with pure motives that really does seek the approval of God alone. I love your point that when we start to feel that, it is a reminder that we need to spend time with the One whose approval really matters.

  51. Hi Glynnis, Thank you for sharing. I am an approval addict. I sought the approval of my parents all my life. I married a solid gold man who affirms me and makes me feel cherished. I am also a pastor’s wife, mom of 3 and a 4th grade teacher. I love being a mom & teacher. The pastor’s wife –not so much. I feel I never measure up to everyone else’s commitment level at church. I feel that they think I am not supportive of My husband’s ministry there because of what some people say. I do attend on Sunday morning but not on Sunday night as I am preparing for the school week ahead. Most people who are not teachers do not understand. But my husband is supportive of this but I can tell the church is not. I feel as though my ministry is with these kiddos plus the demands of the job are heavy. I constantly battle this disapproval feeling to the point I do not like going to church. I fear that I am not a Christian at times because of my need to feel approved is so strong and I feel as though I disappoint God. Please pray for me.

  52. This was one of those devotions I felt was especially written for me! I wrap up a big 2 yr project when our new church sanctuary opens to 300 invited neighborhood families tomorrow! Somewhere over the last 24 months ” my desire to serve my Savior was overshadowed by a desire for approval from others” this was a big red light for me and I appreciate that you understand we start out with a right heart motive but it can be corrupted., you NAILED it when you said, “As I looked back over that time when my feelings were hurt consistently, I realized I’d neglected time with my Heavenly Father. I’d exchanged His whispers of approval for the inconsistent and unfulfilling approval from people.” you are gifted to see the root of a problem and then present the solution. do you realize that you do that for us? You and your insights are so precious to me. I had to reread this and the blog again this morning when I had more time to think. And now I am so looking forward to a slower pace and solid fellowship with my Lord in the weeks ahead. thank you for steering me away from the dangerous place of man’s approval at this critical juncture!

  53. Enjoyed this post today. Thanks for reminding us where our focus should be.

  54. Thank you so much, so needed to hear this at this time! It seems as if I have been looking for that approval from my husband and everyone else. I have been feeling like no one appreciates me, or respects me. This is a great reminder to me, to only look to God for that approval and not from man. It is in God, that I will find all that I need and More. Thanks again, Michelle

  55. Dana Gammon says:

    Wow! I really needed that! I found myself in this very perdiciment this very week at work (twice!) I work with a doctor that never speaks his appreciation or graditude. He is an excellent doctor and has never said anything to me about me doing anything wrong or right. Im very happy to work there but it can be difficult at times never hearing the voice of approval from your boss in particular.The manager is happy with my work performance but at times says I need to work faster, even when I feel I am as fast as can be. I have definitley found myself seeking his approval. It has been a particullary hard week this week ,even yesterday. I appreciate this and the Bible verses and will work harder to seek my heavenly fathers approval this week. I was just thinking before I read this how I need to have much more quiet time with God (it was actually the holy spirt) and this just confirmed that message! Thank you very much for all of this!

  56. Oh!! How this really hits home for me!!! Thank you so much for sharing. I have to admit, I really enjoy encouraging words, so much so that I often evaluate my sucess on how much people acknowledge the work I do. For the past 3 years, God has been working on this for me at work and in my ministry at church. I put so much efforts to be recognized and acknowledged but these words of encouragement rarely come…but God, in his mangificient grace always found a way to bless me exceedingly above my expectations while nobody else notices. In other words, it’s like hearing God saying. You are doing an amazing job but I want you to stop searching for everbody’s attention. Keep your eyes focused on me and in whatever you do, do everything for MY GLORY ONLY. What a great GOD!!

  57. Catherine Avila says:

    Lynn~ thank you for this timely devotional of personal attitudes and situations. I am planning a mini morning retreat for spiritual formation at our church here in SE Arizona. I had a station titled “Audience of One” taken from a praise song I know, and this will get shared and fit right in with the point of serving others not expecting accolades. This reminds me also of our attitude that we should have in giving~ to give without expecting anything in return, but giving to others out of how much God has given to us in every way! May God continue to bless your heart and enlarge your ministry by His Holy Spirit! Cathy

  58. Excellent article. I read it to my husband and he enjoyed it, as well.

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