Validation & Acceptance —
by Daniel Burke
We have a deep need to be validated. Probably very intentional from God’s perspective. I liken it to a implanted ‘checking-system’ that forces me to check my motives before I go out and conquer relentlessly without any consideration of the consequences. Validation is defined as ‘to check or prove the validity or accuracy of something’, so my very need for it highlights a desire to bring truth and purpose to my endeavors. And that’s a trait to champion.
The need to be validated forces us to stop and ponder over advice others may have – sound opinions, wise ones, ones that can either propel us further or protect from foolish decision-making. After all, we want to live in truth. Think about it, a trusted friend gives you advice on a matter, you consider it and weigh the consequence against your own thoughts: you are validating it. Validation in the right context is good.
The more I think about this need for validation, the more I’m convinced it’s intent is Godly, placed there to ensure I operate with integrity. But often, instead of looking for wisdom when seeking others to validate our endeavors, we seek their acceptance. And this is where the mango grove hits the fan. We get into this thing of hoping they will validate our entire existence as being ‘ok’. And that is not ok. ‘You look great in that’, ‘you’re so great’, ‘I love it when you do that’ are the praises so many long for, but really it’s just a show of an unquenchable thirst for acceptance. Here’s the deal: you will always live in spiritual and emotional lack if you confuse validation with acceptance.
A unhealthy need for acceptance is really the language of your soul: I don’t really like who I am. I mean, I’m pretty ok, but there’s some stuff I’d rather change. That statement, as innocent as it may sound, is filled with the rejection of God’s handy work: YOU. Scripture extols you as a masterful creation [Psalm 139]. And never forget: He died for you. Don’t mess with that. Bottom line: you will never live in a sense of Godly validation if you reject yourself. An unhealthy need for acceptance is your tell-tale sign: I actually want love. And how do you satisfy this appetite? Glad you asked.
Most major streams of psychology agree that the first seven years of any person coincides with the major developmental phases of their life. In other words, miss some key developmental needs and you’ll be looking for it long after, and in many ways. Enter sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll. Leave stuff unresolved, and it will cause you to make one bad choice after another until you take a hold of it and master it [Genesis 4:7]. Don’t underestimate the strength of unresolved need. The appetite for acceptance is put there by God. But it is to be met by His people in a healthy functioning community of faith, where love is given and we serve one another selflessly. As for those unsatisfied appetites? It has driven many Christians with sincere intentions to do some shocking things. Do whatever you have to deal with those needs…Start by telling a trusted friend or leader that knows and follows Christ. The good news? Our savior satisfies [John 4:13].
Look for validation out of our desire to improve, not to be accepted. Look for validation because you are lured by the promise of wisdom. Validation is such a powerful force, that when received and mastered in humility, it will empower your life and stir in you vision that is fit for kingly exploits. Ask Jesus, His Father did one huge validation at his baptism – doves ‘n all [Luke 3:22]. He did pretty good after that I’d say. Your validation comes from God [Romans 2:25 MSG], which means it’s filled with life giving purpose. Don’t confuse the need to be validated with the need to be accepted. The one comes from a search to improve, the other from a gap in your soul. Fix the gaps, do whatever it takes, and fill your thinking with the truth: you are loved and made for greatness.