I need affirmation. That’s something I’ve learned in the past couple of years. Knowing our worth is one of the hardest things. We know, in our minds, that God made us and that means we are loved deeply by him, but at the same time, we battle thoughts in our head that say otherwise. Maybe it’s due to the comparison in our lives, seeing the best that others post can cause us to look at our own lives and wonder if this is really it. We crave this need, so we start to look elsewhere. Maybe it manifests in a toxic relationship to your social media presence. Maybe it’s the value a significant other gives to you. We all need affirmation. We want to be known, loved, admired. So why do we feel unworthy, unloved, completely de-valued?
The truth is that our spirits have been stolen, killed, and destroyed.
Yet, there is hope.
Those three traits are given to the enemy, it’s his battle plan to take us. John 10:10a says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” If we look at our current culture, what a perfect description of what is happening. Our joy is stolen, we compare ourselves to others and have such a low view of ourselves. We have begun to kill ourselves with unhealthy habits and ways to cope, trying to find love in wrong places. Our lives are being destroyed because we let the world dictate who we are and the value we have.
Yet, there is hope.
There is always hope. The second part of that verse says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus refers to himself as the “gate for the sheep,” meaning that he is the way to enter into a safe, and life filled place. The difference between life and the unknown. This is beautiful imagery. Inside of the pen is safety, you have what you need and you are protected from harm. The outside is wild, creatures wait in the night ready to ravage you, food sources are scarce, and the night grow long when you are alone. The best part is, there is no reason you can’t enter the safety of the pen, Jesus is ready to open the gate.
He is hope.
He is the gate.
Change your view of affirmation.
Words of affirmation are my love language, but if I’m not careful, I start doing things in order to gain affirmation. In my previous job, I wasn’t given a lot of recognition, and I found myself becoming something I wasn’t so that I could get those desperate pieces of affirmation. That wasn’t healthy. I need to be running after God, and when it comes down to it, I have to rethink what it means to be affirmed. I have to be okay with not receiving anything in return for what I do.
We must all serve God just because, not for love.
I remember being in Greensboro after a tornado hit and caused so much damage. I remember having this pull to go and do all that I could. I served with a team of people who lived in the area and those from others parts of the city. I remember having a conversation with someone who lived there, and they were leading the charge to clean up. They talked about the fact that they were spared, but their neighbors weren’t as lucky, so of course they chose to help. Even when they were going to be interviewed, they said not to focus on them, but focus on what others could do to help.
We need to love in the same way. You are blessed, you are a child of God, so don’t seek affirmation.
In a selfish world, become selfless.
The funny thing about finding value, is that it is always coming from a selfish desire. Very rarely are we trying to help others feel valued, and if you are you’re being way better than me. I said earlier that I love words of affirmation, why then do I not affirm others? I’ve tried to do this more, when I see someone make an impact, big or small, I want to in that moment, do my best to affirm them. It’s easy. We all love compliments and being seen, so when you see someone do something, tell them.
I have a lot of friends that are artists and writers in different ways, so I choose to support them. Why? Because I love when people like and share my blog (this is not me trying to get a share from you), so how could I not do the same for someone else?
Can you imagine how different our selfish world would look like if we started being selfless? Influencers crack me up. It’s a newer concept, but the other day I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. I follow the Disney World hashtag and I laughed so hard at a picture that came up. It was a cute family in front of the Toy Story Land sign, a bunch of little kids squinting in the sun, a dad with a kid on his shoulders, and the influencer wife being the most extra. Posing and flaunting a Gucci baseball cap. Now I’m really not here to shame, I just thought it was so funny. Why not just take a family picture? Look silly, don’t try to look like a picturesque family, be you. I’m all for a good moody Instagram picture, but we need to be okay with silly.
Seems like a random tangent, but what I’m trying to show is that we are very selfish creatures craving affirmation, when the truth is, God says we have value, stop being selfish. Be selfless, take picture with your family and friends that encourage them.
This blog may seem a little all over the place, I was trying to help you understand a couple of things. You don’t need to be perfect. You are valued. Jesus is calling you to get away from all the garbage of the world and enter through the gate. You are made in the image of God. That means that you are his most prized possession. You were uniquely created, meaning that you don’t have to kill yourself trying to be seen by others, you are so loved.
Your life has a divine purpose, you are valued, so go and step into what you were made for.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__