will bring it to completion at the day of J—sus Ch—st.”
It’s amazing what a whole lot of stress and responsibility can reveal about your character.
And this time it is not pretty.
I realized, well perhaps 'realized' is not the right word. I acknowledged this week that I deeply crave human affirmation in my life. Honestly, I think I have, in a way, always known this about myself. Whenever I have a big decision to make I tend to still ask my mom or friends what they think I should do. The catch? I ask them not because I really want them to give their opinions or advice, but often I ask because I want them to affirm and validate the decision I’ve already decided to make. I just need someone to say, "Yeah, You're right. Good job making the right decision."
I do believe it is natural for humans to want to hear that they are doing a good job or hope to be appreciated when they work hard. Everybody likes to be valued for their work, right?
It’s more than just my friends and family's validation though. I realized to the deep extent in which I desire affirmation at my work. This was a surprise. In moving to China, living in a new country, teaching with totally new curriculum, classes, coworkers, etc… I’ve felt uncharacteristically out of my element. I know I craved acknowledgment in the past, but the desire for human verbal affirmation reared its head less obviously when I was amidst the normal and familiar. When you know what you’re doing, it’s less likely that you need someone to tell you, "Good job," because you are already confident and assured in what you are doing.
Now, I find myself yearning for people’s admiration in a way I never imagined. I really noticed the danger of this desire when I became extremely hurt, offended, and even a bit angry at the realization that a coworker I’ve been working alongside for seven months has never once said anything along the lines of “Good job” to me. It shocked me when I realized the extent to which this fact bothered me. I thought, Why can't [this coworker] just once acknowledge how hard I'm trying? Why do I have to feel like I'm always coming up short because [this coworker] won't affirm me when I do something right?
Upon processing these frustrated thoughts, I quickly asked myself, Why am I working as hard as I am? Am I working this hard just because I want this one coworkers’ approval? Does this coworker's approval define my effort and motivation? If I am only working for her approval, then I have moved here and am in this position for VERY wrong reasons.
Growing up I can remember countless times my mother taught me saying, “If you work for human approval and acknowledgment, the satisfaction you will receive after attainting it will be very short lived and unfulfilling. Instead, you should be working to serve THE FATHER. Because when the Father sees you working for Him, He will bless you. And His blessings are worth far more than the simple and faulty words of humanity.”
(I know, I have some very wise women in my life).
I remember my mom reiterating this lesson to me this countless times throughout my life (because my mom seemingly knows my tragic flaws better than any other person).
There is the reason the scripture encourages us to live in humility, serve with surrender in our hearts, and release the burden of seeking earthly esteem. The reason is because true righteous labor and a purposeful life is crafted out of a motivation born of everlasting, heavenly favor, NOT the good opinion of men.
Acknowledgment and approval from man does not transform lives and the work that comes from being motivated by it is fleeting and easily burnt out. This is why I have decided I must reject humanity's "Good job".
I am here, working where I am, because this is the place My Father called me. I work hard because My Father has commissioned me to do His work. I am a servant of Him alone. I hope I reach the day when I finally realize that serving Him solely is ENOUGH. I don’t need anyone else’s approval, validation, appreciation, or affirmation. I HAVE His Truth, Love, and Light to carry me through each day. This is why I work hard… I am loved and the Prince of Peace knows my name … I work hard for HIS CAUSE.
His sight, knowledge, and approval will carry me far beyond this place. His fulfillment will continue giving me purpose and hope long after my human body fails and my spirit departs to heavenly glory.
whether he is a bondservant or free.”