Disconnecting Affection From Approval

As long as we think God's affection for us is tied to his approval regarding our performance, we will grovel about in our shame and miss the reality of living loved. Joining Wayne this week is Dave Coleman, co-writer of So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore and a long-time friend of Wayne's. The sort through some recent email and end up in a discussion about those who cannot conceive of a God who would enjoy them just as they are. Religion so saddles us with expectations God has of us, and the shame that results from falling short of them makes them feel unworthy of God's loving. God wants to rewire our thinking so that we know him as he is and not the way religion has disfigured him, making him our judge instead of our Abba.

Podcast Links:
Previous Podcasts with Dave Coleman: Meet Jake Colsen (3/24/06), Why Religion Doesn't Work (4/17/08), and Why Religion Doesn't Work II (4/25/08)
Contact Dave Coleman
Brene Brown's Book - The Gifts of Imperfection and her talks at Ted.com: The Power of Vulnerability (12/10) and Listening to Shame (3/12)
The Orphanage in Kenya


  1. Wonderful Podcast! Thank you so much for reminding me again how much I am loved by my Father…no matter what. I’m so excited to read ” The Gifts of Imperfection “. I guess transforming my mind from the untruths I was drilled with the first 20 years of my life could take the rest of my life…but it’s ok. It’s good news…I am accepted and loved and don’t have to work at being someone or something that I’m not. It’s so freeing and I’m so grateful for your insight today. Can’t wait to share it!

  2. Just want to say THANKYOU! These recent podcasts have been a comfort and a beacon of light for me…I’m so glad there are some brothers and sisters in the world passionate about grace, and about the unconditional love of our wonderful Abba. Bless you!

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I suppose most of us were in the position that Michelle finds herself at some point in our lives. I definitely don’t have the answers but I know, for me, the realization of Gods love came with time and the acceptance of understanding that God is not impressed or reliant on my performance. His revealing Himself, and His love for me, to me is subsequently His prerogative and not based on my effort or timing either. So Michelle, I support you and know this that God will reveal these things to you in due time, but part of the process is unveiled in this podcast i.e. let go and let God. Then when it suddenly dawned on me I started connecting the dots in the scriptures, and was astounded that I never saw it before. The fact that God gave of Himself for me when I was undeserving of His mercy is on it’s own a revelation of His love for me and all of us for that matter. Now when I read the scriptures I start to understand who God is and that we simply can’t fathom His endless love for us and also who we are in Christ, and that it is finished, I can’t and don’t have to add to anything He has already done for me. If God doesn’t reveal these things to us we will have no understanding in any event. We need to rest in His ability to reveal Himself to us, it’s truly the only way. Thanks Wayne and Dave.

  4. I have an experience in the thing you have talked about. That the things of this world will become less attractive. When you are learning to know the awesome love of Papa.

    When I was around 12 yrs, I started making up stories in my head. I loved to read classic books so I tried to duplicate the quality in my stories. But the problem was that it was how I coped with stress, it was my escape from reality. I had totally control of the characters and the circumstances. The thing I told myself was that the main female character wasn’t me, because she had a different name and didn’t look like me. But it was me, but I refused to believe that for a long time. The dark part was that the main characters in the stories ended up having sex. It wasn’t something that happened every time but it happened a lot. And I really struggled with that, because I know it was wrong. But it kept on happening. When I started hearing that God was endearing and He loved me. That was when I started to seek Him more. And during that time of seeking Papa, that is when the stories started to not work, it wasn’t giving me that emotional high anymore. It was so frustrating that I couldn’t get them to work.

    Now, and 7 yrs later. I haven’t done a story in months, all because of Papa and growing to know that He is with me always and He loves me no matter what.

    On the subject of porn. That was not something I did, but I can say that the way my stories were that it was doing the same thing.
    So for all you guys out there that struggle with porn. Papa loves you so much and He can love you out of it.
    The reason that my stories went the way they went was that I was seeking love and acceptance, and I had distorted sex to mean love and acceptance.
    Nothing else can meet those needs only Papa can full the void inside us.

    So if you’re struggling with porn, don’t beat yourself up. But run to Papa and let Him love you out of it. And don’t worry if it’s not happening right away, because healing can take a long time.

    I may not do the stories anymore, but I still struggle with distorting sex to mean love and acceptance, and I hope that one day that Papa’s love will consume that.

    So again, don’t beat yourself up, but let Papa love you out of it.

    Learning to relax into Papa’s love

  5. Hi Wayne,
    This was a great podcast. Many of the comments made were similar to some I made to a Christian Brother on Saturday 6/23 which occurred prior to listening to it. Our relationship has been somewhat distant due to our extreme differences in concepts we hold about God. I do not know if you remember but my wife Michelle and I met you when you visited the Grand Rapids, Michigan area a few years ago. We were the couple who spoke with you at Alley’s house on Sunday morning about us living in a Christian Community for the past 20 yrs at that time. We still live in the same community and somehow, I can see the fundamental message of the God Journey opening up in the other members hearts without either of us actively doing anything to promote it. It is truly amazing how my Loving Father works behind the scenes!!! I feel led to make a copy of this podcast, give it to my (friend/Pastor/Christian Brother from above) and see if a dialogue can be opened up between us.
    Also, would love to open up a dialogue with you about God’s expectations for us vs. His Omniscience.
    Anyway thanks for the way you share your GodJourney with the rest of us.

  6. Hi Wayne, loved the podcast brother. I’m on the journey of living loved and feel like a babe just beginning. Awoke this morning with lots of crap floating through my head when Father spoke so simply to me – Ross I’m so looking forward to you hanging out with me today. That’s it! Nothing more, nothing less, creator God, abba, my own dear Father wants me to hang out with him today. That’s amazing – he wants me – likes me – as I am not as I ought to be. And if I hang out with him, I just won’t be able to do anything else except to start to become like him. I’ve come to realise this is the freedom of repentance – hanging out with God naturally leads to the freedom of actually becoming like him. Totally opposite to what I grew up with – repentance must come before fellowship. Just so greatful Wayne for your ministry – loved our time with you in Toowoomba – have travelled with you since via the web and podcasts. Sandy and I have been praying for the journey of you and Sara – thanks for being so open – it’s infectious – it helps me to be freer to be more open. It’s all the joys of shring the journey – thanks so much. Doesn’t look like we will get to the states this year, but look forward to catching up again. If you’re planning a trip to Aus again we’ll definately catch up

  7. Thankyou Wayne and Dave for this podcast-there was much in it that I’m chewing over (it would be nice I guess if it just went straight to the stomach as it were, but I seem to have to work through it…). You talked alittle about expectations and what happens when these aren’t met and our reactions to them-I could definitely relate to that as my expectations often trip me up. But what I struggle with, is are expectations wrong? As you said, God has expectations of us, or at least behaviours that He would like us to exhibit so I’m confused about what happens when we do mess up-does He really say that’s ok? Or is it dependent on our hearts ie being repentant? And if that’s the case, in my own life, if my expectations aren’t met and they are reasonable expectations to have, is it wrong to feel disappointed?? I want to accept that I’m wholly loved but find it hard because there does seem to be these expectations..I would love it if you could talk about it sometime. Many thanks for all you and those who join with you do to help us live in the love of the Father.

  8. Hi Mike,

    I do remember our meeting. Don’t know how we’ll have that conversation, but if you’re willing to record it so others can listen in, maybe that will be very helpful for lots of folks. We could schedule an iChat or Skype call some time in the next couple of weeks… Maybe we’ll answer some of Vicky’s concerns about expectations as well…


  9. One thing that puzzled me about shame is how uneven it seems to be in the general population. It seems sometimes like the people who have no reason for shame have the most while the people I am embarrassed for seem to have none. I know that bravado doesn’t mean shame isn’t present and that it can manifest in lots of different self-medication. But what I saw in myself was that I had to actively refuse expectations that I had accepted, like good wife, good mother, good christian expectations, most of which I defined myself anyway. This has been a lot harder than it sounds for me! Like just not reading my bible every day etc.etc When I asked Abba if he has expectations for me, my mind when straight to John 15, and my heart saw that he expects me to need him! I flat-out need all the love he has to give me and the power that such love gives me to love others. This grace-filled expectation has no performance in it, just “relax” and “enjoy”. Feeling shame is becoming a cue to go “expectation hunting” so I can reject all those other expectations, kind of like David did when Michel expected him to be like her dad in royal decorum. It seems I find more expectations I have agreed to every day, but my Abba is here and we are so happy for each one that falls.

  10. Wayne – Can’t get to the Why Religion Doesn’t Work, part 2…would sure like to listen to it!! Thanks, guys, this has been so great. I think it’s something we all know deep down, but it has been covered by so many layers of ‘religion’ that it takes ABBA with His chisel (sometimes: ‘ouch’), and a willingness to hear truth. It’s been a year and a half for my husband and I on this journey to be free from religion and walking in a love relationship with CHRIST, and I find myself returning temporarily to old thought patterns so often that it’s scary. I’m so very glad Father has a lot of patience!!!

  11. I listened to Jake’s story chapter by chapter as you posted it. It had a profound effect on my life. I can’t believe it took 4 1/2 years.

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