Where Do You Turn for Validation?

by Andy Wood on June 1, 2010

in Esteem, Following Your Passion, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Pleasers

Imagine for a minute that you’re five years old.  You have taken your crayons and, on your own initiative, made a card for your grandparents.  No special occasion… just an “I love you” message of your own design. 

Hopefully you are motivated by a simple desire to express love to your grandparents.  At the same time, even at age five, you probably also assume that your parents, teacher(s) or somebody will also be proud of you. 

Praise you.

Approve of you.

The big word for that:  validated.  And it feels good.

But what if you got something else in return?  What if one of the Big People in your life said something like, “What did you waste your time doing that for?”

What if they were critical of your art, questioned your motives, or totally ignored your good idea and only reacted to your failures?

The big word for that:  invalidated.  And it hurts.

Oh, and it’s not limited to five-year-olds.  Here are some of the most haunting words I ever heard another human speak: 

“Andy, I am 56 years old, and just once I wish I could hear my mother say I had done something right!”

Can you relate?  Or does the whole world just think you’re awesome?

Pretty, But No Count

Being invalidated says that the good you do is no good.  It says that the right that you perform is done for the wrong reason. 

Being invalidated says that you don’t count, your feelings aren’t legit, your words don’t matter, your virtues aren’t virtuous.

It’s like being in a basketball game and firing off a monster shot that finds nothing but net – only for the referee to say, “No basket” because time had run out.  It was pretty, but it doesn’t count.

And that elation you just felt?  Get over it.  You have no right to feel that way.

Did I mention that it hurts to be invalidated?

You Have a Choice

Everyone needs a sense of validation that says, I am love-worthy; I am adequate; I belong; my feelings matter.  The problem comes when we look for that in the wrong places.  Invalidation hurts even more when we insist that our validation comes from other people.

How critically important is it to you that other people validate you?  If you perform well, is it important to you that they notice it?  If you mess up, is it critical to you that they think at least that your intentions were good? 

Unless you recognize that “need” and the lie that it’s built on, you will have great, great pain as your life goes on.  And even more painful, your future becomes just a prophecy built on your rejected, painful past. 

Hurt people really do hurt people.

When somebody tries to void the things you consider healthy, worthy, good or important, you have a choice to make:  will you get your validation from other people or from within?  Will you believe the judgments and opinions of others or believe the truth as God reveals and declares it?

I plead with you:  Build your sense of validation on the truth.  And the only reliable truth is what God says.  Yes, He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.  But He also speaks the truth in a world drunk on deception. 

I think you’ll feel pretty good about the truth He says about you.  You are loved deeply, forgiven completely, pleasing fully, all because He says so.  If other people disagree, it’s just because they haven’t discovered it yet.

In case anybody hasn’t told you yet today…

Whatever you’re feeling, go ahead and feel it.  But offer those feelings (however “proper”) to the Lord.

Whatever you’re dreaming, go ahead and dream it – regardless of who thinks it absurd or ignores it completely.  But offer your dreams to the Lord, who is your ultimate dream giver and dream fulfiller.

However you’re growing and being transformed, keep moving in that direction.  Others won’t see the progress in you that you often see in yourself.  Give yourself permission to celebrate progress, even while you’re pursuing perfection.  And offer your small victories to the Lord, the ultimate Finisher of your faith.

The future awaits the man or woman or five-year-old who addresses it boldly and bravely – knowing that their vindication and validation is from the Lord.  In Him, the courage and boldness are free and freely given.

Crayons?  They’re extra.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric Chaffin June 1, 2010 at 7:38 am

Thanks for sharing your wisdom. It validates me.

Julie Driskill June 1, 2010 at 8:29 am

I “found” your website a month ago when I was putting together a talk for a youth group. Can’t tell you how many times (probably 15) I’ve printed off your thoughts to use for some occaison or another now. I signed up to be on your mailing list, so glad I did. You speak God’s Words and can’t imagine that anyone ever stops to tell you by posting a comment. I rarely do. You put a lot of thought and preparation into your postings, and I just want you to know that today’s was God’s exact Word for me this morning. Keep speaking.

Andy Wood June 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

@Eric – And well you SHOULD be validated, my friend.

@Julie – Thank you SO much for your kindness and encouragement. I am blessed to know the site is helpful. Please keep reading, and share LV with your friends. God bless your ministry.

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