Hmmm... I so hope I strike the right balance with this one.
A friend at Facebook shared this youtube video. You've probably seen it. It's the one where people in the parking garage go to get their ticket validated, but the guy behind the desk validates the people, instead. He tells them they look marvelous. They're under-appreciated by other folks. They wear stylish clothes, are often misunderstood and are a terrific help to society. Soon a line forms all the way out to the street, a line of people desperate for validation. The video proceeds from there.
A cute idea, an uplifting one. Made me smile.
But. It makes me sad, too. Putting such power into the hands of other people! The power of how I feel about myself. Brrr..
It reminds me of, oh, around 24 years ago when I felt I was just a mom of a six-year-old, nothing else, starving for validation from other people. In fact, one morning I sat slumped on the couch watching Mr. Rogers and when he looked into the camera and said, "You are special. I like you just the way you are," well, I cried.
Such was my desperation.
Thank-goodness, thank God, all that drama feels like a million years ago and a whole other person ago, too. Why? Because now I get my validation from God. Now He tells me I did a great job and that He appreciates my obedience. My affection. He tells me I'm special.
It's rather like this Bible verse:
"But David encouraged himself in the Lord." I Samuel 30:6
I blogged about that verse before, but really, my world changed when I learned to encourage myself in God. When I responded to hard times by running to the Throne rather than to the phone (as my favorite teacher says). Now, everything looks and feels brighter--and again--thank God that the desperate neediness is gone.
Yet of course there's this: We all do still need to encourage one another. God tells us to be kind, encouraging folks and to put others before ourselves. In fact, our words can sometimes form a bridge between a person's self-hatred and self-acceptance until they're able to call to God for help, themselves. I get that. And I like to think He encourages others through me, through this blog, even.
But what do I value even more? I love to teach others how to encourage themselves in God, how to unearth their worth and value in Him, not through pats on the backs from mere (highly changeable) mortals. Mortals who can just as easily, if we allow them, destroy what they built days or months before.
And as for me and my mental health? I will go to God for my major source of validation. He's always there, rather like that guy behind the desk in that youtube video, but 24/7. Daytime, nighttime, doesn't matter. And He'll tell me the truth, which is more vital than made-up-stuff just to make me feel better. He'll be kind, though.
I don't wish to hand over that type of power to other fallible, often-too-busy-for-me people, but rather, only to God. I need His kind of validation most.
"In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone." ... Lyrics by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty