It seems to me, in this worldwide social media climate, that most of us are seeking the approval of others before we approve of ourselves.

We are putting every aspect of our life out there for the world to see, and our self-esteem pays the price. When we receive the approval that we are seeking, our self-esteem skyrockets. Just like an addict, we will do anything to keep the approvals coming.

However, when we don’t receive that approval, our self-esteem plummets and we struggle with depression, anxiety, and a whole list of other self-destructive feelings.

As I write this message of faith and love, I find myself evaluating my circle of influencers. Looking at those who mean the most to me, whose opinions really matter because they know who I am and whose I am.

These persons are the ones who stand by my side when I am up and down. They celebrate my accomplishments and help me to get through my shortcomings. They are the ones who will laugh with me and not at me, they will cry with me and not for me. They are not all blood family, but they are nonetheless my family.

Because many of us have accounts on various social media platforms, we are sometimes unable to control who sees and comments as these platforms are all driven by who we know and who those people know. Each connection that is made opens us up to multitudes of approvals and denials.

As you are reading this, if you are finding yourself experiencing a lot of negativities from people, or you are going through trials and tribulations, I ask that you first evaluate the quality vs. the quantity of friends in your circle. Then I ask that you to take comfort in the words found in Romans 8: 31, 37-39 (NIV): “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In this text Paul informs us that we can overcome and defeat anything that comes our way through God and Christ Jesus, who loves us. When we find ourselves in a situation, if we just have faith and call on the Lord, He will move in our favor. That is not to say that we won’t go through it; we just won’t go through it alone.

Rev. Dr. Christopher L. Thompson is pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Okatie.