We live in a society that perpetuates our need for affirmation yet criticizes us when we continuously seek it. From infancy, we’re groomed to satisfy others and make them proud. Our teachers, our bosses, our parents, our friends – our kids. Our entire school career depends on us making good decisions, staying out of trouble, and making good grades. We’re graded on every aspect of our performance from behavior to how fast we can multiply numbers together.
When we enter the workforce, we’re paid based on qualifications, experience, …gender. And let’s not forget religion. Religious leaders teach us to please God too. Love God. Love others and inherit your name in the Lambs book of life. Hear “Well done” when you graduate to Heaven or whatever name we give the ethereal afterlife.
It’s almost as if with every single thing we do in life, we’re seeking to meet a standard, please a person or meet a quota. We’re always seeking approval for something and we can’t help it, it’s in our blood. It’s how we were made. It’s what we desire. To be seen by those we respect the most and to be afforded the opportunity to hear “good job” over and over and over again.
But what do we do when we become addicted to that feeling? The feeling of being wanted and affirmed and promoted? What do we do when it stops? What do we do when we strive for it our entire lives, get it, and then realize it wasn’t actually what we were looking for?
What happens when we confuse validation for fulfillment? How do we get [back] to the place where we are living our lives because of who we are and not because of what we gain?
What would the world look like if we didn’t seek to please anyone? Not even ourselves. What if, we just embrace the ability to be and live from a place that is so holy, so beautiful, so full, that it doesn’t need affirmation or validation or anything? Does that place exist? Is it possible to do it for…no one? Is it possible to just do it because it’s who you are?
I believe there is a sweet balance in there somewhere. A place where we want others to love us and praise us but if they never do, we keep living well because we’ve found a greater love and a greater reason to exist in the world.
For some of us, there is a tiny voice or feeling that pulls us towards one thing or another. We feel this thing so strongly that it becomes harder and harder to ignore as the days go. It tells us who we are. It pulls us towards wholeness. And if you have never found it, if you can’t hear it, if you can’t feel it- it’s still there. It’ll always be there. I believe that is the place where God dwells within us. And it’s not so much about pleasing God as it is about being who God created us to be. It’s about doing those things that feed our souls. Living in the present and listening to the voice of God that speaks through our spirit, telling us what to do and how to do it. It’s about belonging in the world and not feeling as if we have to perform for it.
Because whether we believe it or not, there is a place deep inside of us where God dwells. A place we can live from. A place we can find peace in knowing that it doesn’t matter how many A’s we get, how many times we get promoted or how many people read our blog. I don’t want to do it for anyone. I want to do it, because it’s who I am.
So lemme ask you, who you do it for?