I believe that within all of us there is a desire, a deep yearning for validation. We want to know that others approve of us and affirm who we are and what we are about. I know personally that at some critical points in my life, of weighing possible courses of direction, that the validation I have received from close friends has been the impetus to launch into the new direction. Their affirmation gave me that little extra push to cross the line to full engagement. Validation says, “Yes, you can do this and this is a good fit for who you are and who God has made you to be!” Validation is comforting. It helps us to feel good about ourselves and enables us to more freely believe in our potential. It’s can be deeply satisfying when we have the right validation from others.
But herein lies the ditch. A problem can begin to emerge when we look to others as our primary source of validation. What happens when we don’t receive the approval, affirmation, and confirmation we think we need from others around us? Do we allow the lack of validation to disqualify us from stepping out into what we know we should do? Does that mean that our contribution isn’t as significant? Does the lack of validation disable us in any way? Does it cause us to doubt that we’re on track with God’s plan and purposes for our lives? Certainly this could be the tendency. I have seen it within myself. While we may want to look to others to receive what we feel is much needed and desired validation, we may or may not get that. Validation for who we are, and what we are about, our sense of call, has to come from the one who created us. Doesn’t it make sense that God alone, as the one who formed us and knows us is the one most capable of giving us the affirmation, approval and sanction to all that we are and do?
Sometimes the thing that we sense God leading us to seems too big for us, or too risky, or too scarey. We hope that others will rally around us and tell us we can do it and that we have what it takes. We may get the affirmation we're looking for, but we might not. So what do you do when those you care about don’t say the things you want to hear? Or maybe they did when you first stepped out into a courageous new direction but you don’t hear it so much anymore? Are you going to give up and count your losses, or are you going to remain true to who you are and what you are to do? Now, of course, we do need to listen to the wise counsel of those around us who have our best interests at heart and know us well. That is God’s design for our lives. But God’s desire is that the ultimate stamp of approval comes from him first and then those around you who confirm what they see God doing in your life. If all you go by is what others have to say about you, then you will fall short of your full potential and God-given destiny.
Ps 139 reminds us “You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.” Think of an artist who creates a masterpiece that inspires others. Yet, to the observer the meaning of it may not be completely clear. The beauty of art is that it speaks to people in different ways. However, if the true meaning and intent of the piece is to be known, we would need to go directly to the artist for that information. So it is with God, the artist who formed you. Those around you can know you to some degree but ultimately it is your creator who deeply knows who you are and ultimately is the one who says, “I see you, I know you, I get the meaning and purpose of your life because I created you.”
So when you begin to doubt who you are, or what God has called you to do, simply go back to the Source. The Artist wants to be the one to deeply affirm you and recognize you and validate you. And then you can simply enjoy the bonus of having those that love you confirm those things you already know from God to be true.
“to give official sanction, confirmation, or approval to” (Webster)