Peace family, where do you get your validation?
I was listening to a radio program the other day, that talked about how important it is for parents, specifically fathers, to validate their children by speaking identity and value over them. It left me thinking a lot about relationships and validation. If we don’t really receive this kind of love, now what?
I generally seek to please people, hoping that they will value me, which means that this is an area of struggle for me. Some questions to ask are: Are you longing to meet your Dad’s approval, or feel like he values you? Are you longing for your spouse or children to validate you with all of the care, adoration, or thanks that you feel you deserve? Are you longing to feel valued at your job, your church, among your coworkers, or in another social group?
Besides aching to be valued, it’s also easy to live in fear of other’s expectations. We might say to ourselves, “If only my parents or spouse would make me feel like what I do is important, appreciated, or that I am a valuable person, then I could reach my full potential!” Depending upon others’ encouragement of us in order for us to flourish personally is dangerous ground. It’s also dangerous ground, if we feel like we are worthless unless someone else cares about us and what we’ve done or are trying to do. Sometimes, we even want people to validate us in unhealthy ways, to praise us blindly, accept the wrongs we do (even if we know that they are flaws we should fix), and heap adoration upon us as though they were worshiping us- not healthy, and certainly not what God has for us. The fact is, there’s nothing you can do to get people to give you the approval, appreciation, or worth that you are aching for.
Yes, I know that psychologically, it’s very important for us to receive validation from our parents and loved ones. Often, they are our primary sources of identity. But does this mean that if the people in your life are not encouraging, or that your parents don’t seem to care about you, that you are crippled for life? I don’t think so.
While it’s generally more difficult to understand, accept, and harder to feel, we should be seeking our validation and sense of identity from Christ’s love for us, not from the validation of a parent or a spouse. Only God’s transforming love is big enough to meet all of the needs of your heart, or to give you an accurate vision of your value. We should not care more about others’ valuing of us than we care about God’s valuing of us. Again, I will repeat it for myself- I should not care more about others’ valuing of me, than I care about God’s valuing of me. What freedom there is, to know that it is truly only His opinion that matters, whether I feel like people are meeting my needs for validation or not!
Although our worth is truly up to God, we do need to be cognizant of the power that our encouragement can mean to other people. We do need to tell them that we love them, show it with our actions, and tell them that we appreciate them. Meanwhile, search out God’s heart for you. Study the Bible, so that you know what he has done and how deeply he loves you. Examine the ways that he has blessed your life. If we aren’t letting God meet our need for validation and value, then we will not be able to authentically pass value on to other people. Know that you are valued! Know that you are loved. Know that God designed you the way that he did, because he wanted a daughter or son just like you. What he thinks and says is true; remember that he thought you were worth making, and he thought you were worth dying for. Being invalidated by those who ought to love us is painful, but those people are not God. Their opinions are not stronger or more powerful than His. Step out today, knowing that He values you!