Steven Shrout did one of the dumbest things a person can do.
The 25-year-old Arlington, Texas man covered himself from head to toe in peanut butter and walked around a dog park wearing only a Speedo bathing suit.
Now Steven didn’t do this to satisfy some perverse desire. He lost a bet while playing Fantasy Football with some old high school buddies. The terms of the bet were that, if he lost, he would endure this humiliation.
Yes, I’d love at this juncture to launch on a tirade about how men need to grow up out of adolescence and get busy building a life and raising a family. Men who believe marriage is humiliating just need to look at Steven Shrout—and keep that image in their heads.
But there’s another observation I’d like to make from this stupidity. Think about it. This man was forced to do something he really did not want to do. But what if the man yearned for the affection of dogs and therefore covered himself with peanut butter to become the popular guy at the dog park? They’d lick him to death. And what a pleasant death would come for a person who longed for a dog’s love.
You know, people figuratively cover themselves with peanut butter when they say and do things to be loved and accepted by others. I suspect it’s an expression of peer pressure. The yearning for affirmation, acceptance, and approval is so strong that people will do anything to get it. They’ll allow themselves to be squeezed into any mold if it will get them the acceptance and love they crave for.
This doesn’t just happen in high school. The entertainers, journalists, and celebrities of our popular culture all “dip themselves in peanut butter” to make themselves lick-able. They’re that desperate for validation and acceptance from what they perceive to be the in-crowd.
Some will remain deceived all their lives with this substitute for acceptance and love. But others will tire of the confines of the mold. They’ll be sickened by the humiliation.
What Do We Long For
It’s because God made us for something better. The acceptance, approval, and validation we yearn for—the kind that truly satisfies—can only be found in the arms of God. He’s the One who created us and loves us supremely. God’s the One who made us who and what we are. He chose all the specific components of our physical body, our soul, and our spirit. We didn’t choose what color or gender we would be. God did. We didn’t select the talents, strengths, and attributes of our minds and emotions. God chose them.
Other people may have a problem with what we look like and how our personality expresses itself. But, in reality, their problem is with the Designer who made us what we are. It’s not with us.
It’s true that sin has marred us all. Plus we’ve learned some hurtful and selfish behaviors that we need to unlearn. But the basic attributes of our body and soul are given to us by God so that we may accomplish some good work in this life.
Designed by God
But there’s more to it than that. God did not design us for utilitarian purposes alone. He designed us in love. He loves the person He made us. And as He thinks of us—a relentless preoccupation (Ps. 139:17–18)—He smiles.
Now, we ourselves may be the ones who have issues with who and what we are. But God has no such issues. He loves us.
Why then do we make God the last stop, in a series of many, on our journey for love and acceptance? He should be our first and last. “Thus says the LORD, the King and Redeemer of Israel, even the LORD of heaven’s armies: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and besides Me, there is no God’” (Isaiah 46:10). Besides God, there is no satisfying and lasting love, acceptance, and approval. Make Him your first and last stop, filling station, resource, God.
Dear Lord Jesus, I am so weary of disappointment with relationships, activities, and things that will never satisfy. Please open my eyes to see the true Spring of Living Water whose boundless supply of love and peace will never run dry. Draw me, O God, into Your sweet and healing embrace. Amen.