Friday, November 30, 2012

Verdicts, Value & Validation

I've often wondered what's behind the attention grabbing antics of we mortals beyond the obvious. In various & assorted ways we make our presence known. Why? Is it narcissism? Showmanship? Ambition? Flawed character? Something else?

There's the undeniable variety- - the grand-standing, self-aggrandizement that's instantly recognizable. Then there's the lessor sort - - the stealth maneuvers that aren't quite so easy to discern.

Two year olds demonstrate all-too-well what it means to be the center of one's own universe.

Several days ago I heard someone give testimony to their need for validation. It had caused them to do something they really didn't want to do, but they did it anyway because it brought positive & powerful attention from their family.  

My antennae both heard & made note of their transparency.

Rightly or wrongly, I've concluded that the need for validation is quite likely at the root of so many attention-getting maneuvers, not to mention heartache. Who among us does not want their lives to count for something?

According to Merriam, validate means to ratify or make valid. It's to sanction, confirm, support and/or corroborate; to recognize, establish, and authenticate legitimacy. It's no small wonder that people search high & low for it, even when the altruisic is compromised in the process.  

Searching for validation oftentimes entails a scurry along the rabbit trails of life thinking IF ONLY I could accomplish THIS, or be noticed for THAT, I would feel so much better about myself. IF ONLY ...
  • I could lose 25 pounds
  • I were important; accomplished
  • I could get my book published
  • I were older/younger, taller/shorter
  • I had more money
  • I were more like my brother or sister
  • He hadn't left me
  • My parents had sent me to another school
  • I hadn't messed up
  • I wasn't so shy
... and on and on it goes - - the age-old snare of a works-infused worldview. We gravitate towards human doings/havings versus human beings. The futile & endless rigors of comparing oneself to some earth-bound standard in order to garner validation.

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves
with some who commend themselves.
When they measure themselves by themselves
and compare themselves with themselves,
they are not wise.
~ 2 Corinthians 10:12

The truly tragic aspect of all this is that THEY (whoever THEY are) keep moving the standard - - the ever shifting, fickle whims of a world enchanted with all things sensory & visual.   

So why do we do it?

I've come to believe that people just want their personhood, goals & dreams to be authenticated.  They want their lives to have value even if - tragically - it comes at a cost they hadn't counted.  

I wish I could say this subject-matter is the exclusive domain of the unbeliever, or the unchurched. Sadly, God's own people (and me among them) suffer the same affliction.  The "Look at me" and its companion "Don't look at me" are born in the same soup.

It is true, as Augustine of Hippo tells us:  "You arouse us so that praising You may bring us joy, because You have made us and drawn us to Yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in You." 

There, in Him, is our validation; and with it, the peace that passes all understanding.   

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.
For it is not the one who commends himself who
is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
~ 2 Corinthians 10:17-18

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
not by works, so that no one can boast.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus
to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
~ Ephesians 2:8-10


Janette's Sage/Simply Your Decor said...

Great post...just recently I went over these scriptures with my sons, we were talking about the same thing...and yes the church falls into this trap like the world..and so do I

Sonja said...

These are such wise words. I see myself in this, as will all who read it, but mostly I see the grace of a loving God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

myletterstoemily said...

i have a friend who needs so much validation, that i fear there is a black hole that sucks the very thing
she desires. my prayers are that she will find the
One who makes our boast in Him!

Denise said...

Bless you for this very truthful post.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head with this one.....


Miriam said...

Kathleen, very valid points--alright, I just had to throw that in here! small smile

This explains so much about our society in which live in. Also, so many of the headlines and troubles that we see in lives. The world shouts, "You must be..!" So therefore, we think we should. I think this goes all the way back to the Garden.

I needed to be reminded of what you are sharing here. When our ultimate goal of validation (if we are honoring God) is "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Thank you & hope you have a beautiful day.

Debbie Petras said...

It's sad that so many require validation. When I consider how much God loves me and how He holds me in His righteous right hand ...I feel valued. He is all we really need if only we would realize it. Instead of trying to please many, please Him.

You always hit on great topics Kathleen.

Blessings and love,

beBOLDjen said...

Oh Oh Oh! Such sweet and wise words of admonition and encouragement.

I sure wish I enjoyed more free time to keep up with blogs these days. I always enjoy reading here. Merry Christmas, Sassy! God's blessings to you and yours. said...

To finally arrive at that place of rest, of allowing Jesus to be the source of our validation and not man. There's a craving in all of us for validation; now, to move our ladles to the only well that can satisfy. I'm learning to do this, Sassy, with each passing day.

Enjoy your trip, you amazing, wild-wandering, Jesus friend!!!


Just a little something from Judy said...

The more I learn of God's grace, the less I come to value "validation". This is so well written! The list you shared places me right there in the midst of it, and yet fortunately God continues to show me the futility of "validation". How thankful I am for God's love and patience with me, and the deep joy of knowing what is ahead.