The more time passes, the more I realize how much I need “relating” affirmation or validation. It’s not that I need affirmation in order to do something so much as affirmation that what I’ve done (or am doing) matters. I find myself asking (either literally or mentally), can you relate? or know-what-I-mean? Validation, kwim? For the last month or so, I’ve been mulling over the thought of “validation” the need/desire for validation. It’s sort of an assurance of being on the right track, or having done something well, or, in some cases, assurance that you’re not alone in whatever failure you’re experiencing or have experienced. Trouble is, most of us rarely get to that needed validation because we don’t pass through the gates of vulnerability very often — that, or our focus is misplaced, or we’re not really doing what we’re called to be doing.
Can you relate?
I’ve made some decisions in the last few months that I haven’t had to (or wanted to?) make in a long time. The convergence of several things in my life have forced me to really examine what I’m doing (or not doing) and why. This has led me to make decisions to get back to doing “first things” (the profitable, intentional, prioritized) things I used to do that for whatever reason I’ve slacked off or neglected to keep diligently doing. Thus, I’ve looked square in the face of reality that I wasn’t doing many things I wanted to do — and know I should’ve been doing — but had, somewhere along the way, forgotten. They were small and gradual steps and slides here and there. Apathy, lack of purpose, lack of “validation” — or maybe a combination of these — along with major life changing events — had to be addressed and dealt with. Then… a new plan of action had to be formed. When the Lord’s in something, His promptings ought not be ignored. This I know. I also know that when He’s in something, He’s dumping a whole bunch of grace in the mix in order that we’ll walk on in faith — the seeing yet not seeing; believing yet not knowing.
Instantly, I jumped into the new battle. And didn’t realize it to be a battle until after I’d jumped in. The devil doesn’t seem to attack slack. He doesn’t seem to attack sloth. Or any other thing that falls into those categories. But he mocks them here and there with those barbs: I can’t believe you did/do that, etc., etc. and he head-on attacks faith, obedience, trust and a whole host of other “I-will’s” that we dedicate to the Lord.
Can you relate?
But I jumped in and stayed in — and am staying in — the battle. And, by faith and by grace, I’m staying in (winning and losing, winning and losing) because I know that I know that I know it’s what I must/what I oughtta/what I wanna do. It’s what I’m called to do. I’m not talking about works-based-faith or appearance-based-faith, I’m talking about believing God and doing what I’m called to do as a Christian wife, mother, homemaker, homeschooling mama, and a whole lot of other things. It dawned on me that I’ve been wishing for validation or affirmation for what I’m doing — when really, the truth is, the validation or affirmation of my life is that I attend to what the Lord has given me to do and called me to be. And in a mysterious way, validation or affirmation comes — but, strangely, not — or not often — in ways I previously thought they should. Validation shows up when I least expect it. Affirmation comes from sources I’d never have guessed.
All the while, I’m continually refining and “redefining” what’s important, and how to order each day to accommodate these activities and things I thought I didn’t have time for. But I did have time for them—but it took reclaiming squandered time to set the order and redeem that time. Redemption. The ultimate validation.
Can you relate?
As an example, I decided that I would get involved with activities that were available to me at our local church. Some have been quite a stretch–meeting new friends, addressing old problems, finding grace in new solutions; some have taken me “back-to-basics” as a homeschooling mama, some have taken me back to vulnerable accountability in a Bible study.