Friday, September 25, 2015

The Affirmation Trap

By: Sarah MacKinney

As someone whose top love language is encouraging words, I appreciate affirmation from friends and colleagues very much. It is how I feel loved and valued the most. Tell me I did a good job on a project or that you loved a lesson I taught, and my love tank is filled to the top; overflowing. But the older I get the more God is revealing to me that my affirmation, the way I feel about myself, can't be rooted in what others say or think about me. I am living a very shallow life if I am relying on others to give me the affirmation I seek.

As I scroll through Facebook and other social media outlets, I see people crying out for affirmation and they don't even realize it. Asking (even though they don't say it) for others to affirm that they are beautiful, that their success is noticed, and the list goes on and on. Been there, done that. No harsh judgment here. While yes, those positive words are good and we should be continually encouraging each other;  if our happiness is based solely on the words people say to or about us, we are in for huge disappointment! What people think and say about us will change. We will have fans and we will have critics. But the way God feels about us doesn't change. We will have days of success and days of failure. God's love for us doesn't change based on that. People can be wishy washy, but God never is.

God's feelings for us aren't based on what we do, how we look, our performance or anything shallow. What does He say about us? He says we are chosen, loved, redeemed, forgiven, a Child of the King, an overcomer, we have victory, we are free, sanctified, a new creation, blameless and the list could go on and on. Wow! To think that God says these things about us! Now that is beautiful affirmation! That is affirmation that isn't based on the clothes I wear or the success I have or the material possessions I own. That is affirmation based on who I am according to the King of Kings! I don't have to have the right look, job, perfect children, fanciest car, cleanest house for Him to look on me with adoration.

Hear the message I am trying to portray. It's ok to enjoy affirmation and it is very good to affirm others and build each other up; in fact the Bible tells us to do that. I believe that God sends people as messengers from His heart to ours, to say just what we need to hear at certain times. As I mentioned earlier, encouraging words is my top love language, that is who God made me to be and I embrace that. But the way I feel about myself can't be based entirely on who friends, family, colleagues say I am. Eventually the accolades will quiet, the compliments will be silent; but God's thoughts about me are loud and clear. His opinions about me don't change. He doesn't think of me one way one day and another the next. If my self worth and value is rooted deeply in the truth of who He says I am, then I have accomplished much. None of us should life our lives in the affirmation trap; only feeling good when others compliment us and notice our success.

I'm sure I will always value kind, encouraging words. It is just part of the DNA of Sarah MacKinney. I can't argue with who He created me to be. But my prayer is that I will put more importance and value on what He says and thinks than that of people. That my ultimate affirmation comes from what He says about me. That the joy I feel isn't reliant on compliments and flattery, but on the amazing promises He gives me. That I continually look to Him, not people, for the affirmation I desire. What greater compliment than to know that He is pleased with me.


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