My whole life I have struggled with finding approval from others. In elementary school I can remember wanting so badly to be liked by my teachers. I constantly sought after their validation by working hard on my school work. I would be overwhelmed with anxiety when my teachers would walk by my desk checking on our work, as I didn’t want them to see it until it was perfect.
I grew up with a mom who loved me and two grandparents who helped us have everything we needed to survive, but I didn’t have my father. When my mom remarried I grew excited about the opportunity to have a step father who would love me and give me the experiences I missed out on when I was young. I wanted a dad who would support me, teach me, and guide me, but instead he hated me, emotionally abused me, and left me.
I crave validation.
At twenty-six years old I still worry about how others perceive me, so much so, that I often find myself doing things so that other’s will tell me how great I am. I grew up wanting a dad who told me how talented and skilled I was, how pretty and smart I was becoming, and while I had a mother and grandparents who told me, for some reason, it wasn’t enough. My self-worth is pitiful. If asked to list five things I love about myself I could list two: my hair and my eyes. So to compensate for my lack of love for myself, I have been looking for love from other people. I want to be told my voice is beautiful, my piano skills are top notch, my writing is incredibly moving. I push myself to post a photo on Instagram that I know will get several likes, or update my Snapchat story to show how important my job is. I get upset when things don’t go my way and find myself becoming jealous when other’s get opportunities that I wanted.
I was recently having a conversation with a friend in which I did nothing but complain about how I wasn’t getting my way in an area of my life. I felt I had been wrongfully passed over for someone who didn’t deserve it as much as I did. My friend stood and listened to me moan and groan and when I had finished she offered her words of wisdom: have a servants heart. Now, she said more than those four words but they are the only ones I remember. I went home that night and replayed the conversation over and over in my head. Her words haunted me for days.
Have a servant’s heart.
I have spent my life trying to be good enough, trying to get the approval I so desperately wanted from a dad, when my Father has been wanting to give me that approval all along. I become jealous when others in my life receive validation that I so desperately want,when I should be happy and excited that they are gaining opportunities they are called to have. In God, I am good enough. He loves the sound of my voice and the words that I write for him. He wants to teach me and guide me through life, if only I let him. I don’t need the congregation of my church to tell me how great that worship song was to feel validated and loved, because that song is not for them, it is for Him. I need to open my heart to God’s will for my life and not my will for my life.
I was doodling earlier today and I wrote down the words:
Called to Create.
I have always felt a deep desire to create things whether it be songs, stories, or poorly done crafts. But, is that who I really am?
After a few minutes of staring at them I scribbled them out and wrote:
Called to Nothing.
Maybe I am called to nothing. Maybe there is no greater purpose in this life.
Again, I scribbled that out and wrote down:
Called to Serve.
This is who I am. I am not called to gain approval from others, to boast on my talents that I think I have, or to strike others down when they get what I want.
I am called to serve others.
I am called to serve God.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.