God created man to be in community, to have relationships, to be dependent on others and to be depended on by others. That same community may bestow blessings or compliments or favor on an individual they see as worthy or valuable.
Like many people, I want to hear “Good job”, “You’re awesome/cool/nice/great”, “I like being around you”, “You have cool stuff” and “I love you”. I have a deep desire to hear those kinds of things from my community. It makes me feel good about myself. I feel… favored, validated, appreciated, admired even.
I don’t like to admit it but it is true. I want to hear those types of comments from people but I actually need to hear those things from my Father.
In Donald Miller’s excellent book “Searching For God Knows What”, he says when Adam walked the garden with God – there was a direct and unhindered relationship between man and God. Adam was validated as being valuable because God personally spoke to him and spent time with him daily. Adam was given specific responsibilities by God. To Adam, God was Creator, Employer, Provider and Friend in a most personal and direct manner.
The book goes on to say that this was lost as a result of the fall, and man has been relying on other people for validation ever since. I can only imagine how Adam validated Eve when he first met her. As examples, Mr. Miller points to middle- or high-school experiences when this behavior was very obvious. I like Sara but Sara likes Joe who likes Rachel who is enamored with Billy, and we all know Billy is the coolest kid because he doesn’t seem to care about the validation of any of us, including Rachel and especially not me. The pecking order was well known by all. As adults, the pecking order may be less clear but it’s there. And we’re still trying to get people to think we are higher on the ladder.
What I want to believe:
“Hmm. Everyone seems to like John a lot. John drives a Tesla. Maybe I should get a Tesla.”
“Jennifer is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. I wish I could have a woman like that.”
“I am so grateful for my church. It’s a bunch of spirit-filled Jesus-followers, and worship ROCKS!”
“I’d like to go to the play on Friday night but I have work I need to do.”
These comments are evidence of the state of my heart. They offer a clue, an insight into my heart’s desire. Which is, sadly… me being favored and admired – a position best left for God Himself.
The rigorous truth, if I am willing to admit it:
I don’t want a Tesla. I want the attention that comes from OWNING and being seen driving a Tesla. (Actually I want a Jeep – the anti-Tesla – and probably for the same reasons)
Jennifer may be gorgeous but that’s not why I’m interested. Jennifer would make ME look special.
“MY church”… enough said.
I choose “work” instead of community because I control my value at work. Work more = higher value.
What I need, what I crave, what I must have to live a healthy life is: affirmation from God. He created me. He knows better than any human ever will. I can sometimes fool the humans; I can never fool God. Therefore, I can fully believe what He tells me because there is nothing dishonest or misunderstood with God.
I gotta tell you, friends and neighbors, when God tells you how He sees you, it doesn’t just make you feel good. It makes you want to be good. It makes you want to actually become good. We’ll look at that another time. For now, remember what God said about His beloved humans:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
So let me ask you (in my best Clint Eastwood impression):
Are ya feeling loved? Well, are ya?
I didn’t say it was a good impression. I’d do well to avoid trying to impress anyone today.