Whose report will you believe? We shall believe the report of the Lord! If you sang the first line – you, O Levite, are a church veteran! Here’s your certificate.
In a well-meaning attempt to not appear earthly-minded; we, Christians, tend to downplay the fact that we are both human (physical) and spiritual.
Almost like acknowledgement of the realities of the physical is synonymous with renouncing the faith. It’s not. If human beings were a Venn diagram, we’d be the intersection where the physical and spiritual meet. Our physical world isn’t irrelevant, neither are our emotions.
Which brings me to the topic at hand… Is Validation, by a fellow human, vanity?
- If the Bible already tells you you’re fearfully and wonderfully made, why are we still complimenting each other?
- If you already believe the report of the Lord, why are you making me reiterate?
- Should Christians be concerned about (earthly) approval \ validation?
I think approval in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is generally an indication you’re doing a commendable thing.
I mean, God looked at all he created and said it was good. Sistren and Brethren don’t be tight lipped with your words of affirmation! If you’re concerned that genuine compliments will stoke the flames of pride in another person’s heart – perhaps you should evaluate yours.
The real issue isn’t validation in itself; it is that because we constantly look for things and people (other than God) to define us, we begin to actively seek out any validation that supports / improves the identity we’ve carefully curated for ourselves.
There’s a reason our go-to responses to describe ourselves are our jobs and achievements. We trade in validation constantly – tacitly or explicitly – from carefully balancing our followers:following ratio to only sharing posts when maximum engagement is guaranteed – and this is just on Social Media. So maybe the Tight-lipped Titi’s and Theo’s are on to something.
But we are relational beings, it is near impossible to say we will not give, receive and\or expect affirmation or validation from people. It comes with the territory.
We need to strive for balance. We should be open to receiving approval but we ought not to desire it in a way that makes us live for others. (Read: eye service not sacrificial living).
Because we know true validation comes from God and what he has done for us (cliché but true). We can evaluate ourselves without relying solely on outward approval and using the Bible as a standard.
For instance, if I’m being praised for being a savage; whilst I may be great at it. It shouldn’t be an attribute I affirm because it is not Christ-like (sorry, Stallions). We are to weigh the validation we give and receive against biblical principles.
This helps to keep us anchored and reminds us of the standard greater than ourselves (Christ).
The absence of validation doesn’t automatically mean something is wrong with you; when other words fade away, God’s Word remains – remember our standard and locomote!
An aside: sometimes an absence of approval may actually mean you need to fix up. It’s not everyday “my haters don’t wanna see me win / it’s always those closest to you”. Maybe, just maybe, it is an indicator that you need to look inwards and adjust.
It is key that we don’t demonise validation or prop it up too highly. It has its uses but it can’t be all we live for. It’s an add-on. The trap is that validation can become a proxy for our self worth. Don’t fall for it. Remember this:
I am fearfully and wonderfully made not because many affirm it but because it is as God intended.
Still wouldn’t hurt to hear people echo this truth sha!
“Lola [Olukogbon] writes because she can and writes for City Church because they’re family. Navigating her faith in the appropriate context without relegating it to a part of her whole has been her biggest discovery so far! She also writes at www.thelolaexperience.com BUT if you’re interested in more off-the-cuff commentary, she’s on twitter — where all her tweets are uniquely inspired by carbs, Christianity and the city of Stresselence, Lagos. (@UnOfficialLola)”