May 22, 2017 by Kgalalelo
Most of us want to be validated for just about anything. I guess it’s a weakness or perhaps even a strength of man in some circumstances. When we give speeches on the podium, we’d like someone to point it out that it was a powerful speech or presentation or even a sermon. Someone has to tell you that the pie you baked was delicious, the hairstyle looked fabulous, the artwork you produced was out of this world and that you executed the project perfectly.
This is how it is with all of us. We feel good that someone acknowledges our work and feel hurt when nobody says anything or brush us aside or think modestly about whatever that we did.
I’ve had a few of those episodes myself and felt hurt and wondered whether people were appreciating me and whatever I was doing. I needed to hear that I did an awesome job, I looked gorgeous, I spoke well and a few other things, however the well dries up sometimes. It does, when suddenly nobody acknowledges your work or comments on something good you did, forgets your birthday or fails to recognise something you really needed to receive feedback on.
Let’s face it, we all thrive on endorsements, that’s human nature but the best acknowledgement you can ever receive in your life is the one that comes from God. He sees everything you do. The scripture says “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance” (Colossians 3:23). Our dependence should in no way depend on our fellow human beings as we are all mortals and whatever is endorsed today may be criticised tomorrow. Usually, our minds tell us something else, but the Bible further says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
Jesus was the perfect example for us when He began His ministry. The Bible tells us that He came to John to be baptised at the Jordan River and when He came out of the water the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended onto Him like a dove and rested on Him and the voice came from heaven which said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Jesus was validated by God and no other and so when He left He knew exactly who He was, He was confident because He knew that He was the Son of God. Nothing that anyone could say could set Him aback nor shake the assurance He had received. He therefore spoke with boldness and clarity. Nothing could stop Him, even the devil who tried to tempt Him. He drew great crowds around Himself, preached in the synagogues, healed the sick and every kind of affliction and He became very popular because of who He was. He spoke with authority and surprised His followers and the teachers of the law.
His demonstration of boldness gave His disciples the confidence to be like Him and to trust in Him and in God despite the reproach of people. We therefore need to seek scriptures of what God says about us instead of accepting what others say. We need to find validation in the Word of God and not depend on people. A lot of introspection is required to discover reasons for our lack of faith in ourselves to be able to place these before the throne of grace. If we always seek validation from others we always end up feeling disappointed as some of the things are said in that spontaneous moment. We need to carry on doing the best that we can in all areas whether there’s acknowledgement or not. Acknowledgement is found in God alone and which is sustainable and dependable.
When I received revelation to write about validation, it took me weeks to complete the article. I couldn’t understand why as I usually write until I complete every piece I’m inspired to write about but this time it was different. I couldn’t come up with more than two paragraphs whereas I knew that God wanted to speak about the subject. It only dawned on me the day I had to edit and schedule some of the articles I had already completed that God had a different way in which He wanted me to write and complete the article. I had to go through a certain experience recently where I sought validation myself to be able to write about something I knew for sure.
This way, it gave the article more meaning and I had to be at the end of the reprimand and minister not only to people but to myself as well. I therefore, consider this topic, one of the most critical subjects in human relations and growth as this is the root of all self-reproach, self-pity, self-doubt and competition in the world. We want to be the first in everything; we want to be the first to receive accolades and if another receive praises, jealously and envy springs up, comparison rises its ugly head and we want to compete to receive the same compliments.
An acquaintance had complained to me about a service I had rendered to her which was not of good quality and I honestly took things for granted that since we had been associates for years some of the rules didn’t apply anymore. When the complaint was lodged formally, that’s when I realised the seriousness of the matter and I tried to rectify the matter the best way I could but it was not good enough it seemed. I thought we could just put it off and she could accept my efforts and carry on but she was adamant. When I received the same reproof from the second associate agreeing with the first I took the matter personally.
I was hurt as I thought that I was being attacked. What I thought was the best decision to be applauded in trying to rectify the first error of judgement turned out horrid as there was agreement between the two associates and they stood by each other persistent that I had done a poor job that was intolerable. I agonised over the matter for a week feeling teary. All kinds of negative emotions surfaced as I was filled with resentment and felt less of a person. To make the matters worse, a close friend of mine was entrusted with an assignment by the second associate that she did impeccably. I admired her for the work of such stature but that made me fearful that I was probably not good enough and felt even less significant.
I recollected the story of the twelve men from each tribe of Israel as I was writing the article, whom God commanded Moses to send to explore the land of Canaan as it was the land that God had promised the Israelites. This was the instruction Moses gave to the men:
“Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.) (Numbers 13: 17-20).
When the men came back from spying the land and gave the report to Moses and the elders of Israel about the land of milk and honey they said that they saw giants in the land and the Canaanites were strong and they in turn were like grasshoppers in their own sight.
The men of Israel though they were given the mandate which actually came from God, who had promised to be with them always, felt small. They had moved their attention from the God of their fathers who had defeated the Egyptians thus setting them free, the God who provided for them in the wilderness when they had nothing; the God who appeared to Moses in a burning bush and the God who went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way by day and a pillar of fire at night to give them the light when they fled from the Egyptians. The Israelites had surely forgotten this God and I had also, as I had begun to see myself as a grasshopper. I sought validation that I had done the right thing though it was not pleasing to my associates. I was right in my own eyes and they were wrong. They should have commended me for the efforts I had taken, I argued. My decision in my own eyes was correct and deserved praise but clearly this was not so.
I had to come to a point where I had to look beyond the situation and bring my spiritual understanding in the matter that there was probably something divine that would come out of the situation. Indeed there was which was for me to complete this piece of article and to speak on a subject that I knew for sure and something I had gone through.
When you know that you are a child of God, without ever losing sight of this knowledge, the success of others doesn’t threaten or bother you. You in fact, elevate them knowing that we are all on the journey of shining our little lights like the stars. The Bible says that what good will be the light if its hidden under the bowl, when you light a lamp, you place it on the lampstand to give light to everyone and that is how we all have to look at each other. There is no need for competition, comparison or validation from another, God Himself will validate you and will throw a pebble or two for you to remember this and focus your eyes on Him and not on other people or your shortcomings. Everyone is on their own journey and if they are good at one thing, it doesn’t mean they are good at another. They might suck at nine other things and only master one out of ten.
God doesn’t do anything in vain, He is always there to remind us of who we are in Him and we need to give thanks for every situation that we come across, even if it feels painful at that time. We need to ask for revelation to be able to understand and get the lesson. Express gratitude in even the things that sounds and looks absurd, they are taking you somewhere.
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. &
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Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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