I’m the person who stays in the movie theater after seeing a good film. While people are scrambling to grab their stuff, debating if they’re going to leave their trash in the seat or take it with them, I sit there with my eyes glued to the screen. I love the credits. I love seeing where it was filmed, who wrote it and the songs in the score. And if there’s a surprise end credit scene, I definitely can’t miss out on that. And maybe because I know how much work goes into a 90-minute feature, I watch every name scroll in silent applause.
Recently God asked me something that He hasn’t before. “Will you do the work for me?” He asked. I was like, “Yea, of course, I thought we were already on that tip but sure! Everything I do is for you God!” And then I went about my life. But something was different. He actually allowed me to hear my own heart. It was like there was a secret-service earpiece plugged in my ear, amplifying my deep inner thoughts. I was surprised to hear what my heart was saying:
- What about me?
- I’m the one did that!
- I’m the one who suggested that!
- That was my idea!
- What am I invisible?
- What I say and do doesn’t matter so why do it anyway?
I mean, in meetings at work, creative projects or even in conversations with close friends, I was craving validation and I didn’t even realize how far it’d gone! I was annoyed as heck by this little Fifth Harmony voice, singing “Gimme to me I’m worth it” every time there was a threat to be overlooked. It was like watching my life on a big screen. I saw that in areas where I felt like my voice wouldn’t be heard or that I would be taken advantage of intellectually or creatively, I drew back. I wasn’t my free, open self. So I ran back to God with this. “God I don’t like this and please please help me to make it go away.”
I can honestly say we’ve made good progress but I realized that it can happen to anyone.
It’s human nature to want to be credited and appreciated for what you do, especially if you’ve had a history of being overlooked. But to need it, thrive or plummet emotionally because of it is dangerous. When you confuse what you do with who you are- your esteem and worth are at the mercy of people’s opinions. One minute you could be a genius, an answer to their prayers and the next, you could be yesterday’s news. Oh, I was dealing with this heavy.
I needed to get back to having a consistent time with God. It was the only way to mature in this area and he needed me to grow up for several reasons. One, it’s not fair to unknowingly put people in validation jail. It’s not their job. Two, He’s my exceeding great reward, He rewards and applauds me for seeking Him. Three, life really isn’t about what you can get from people but about what God put on the inside of you to give to others. This is greatness! Imagine living as a conduit for creative ideas, a catalyst for change and growth. Imagine allowing all the talents, gifts, abilities that God gave you to flow freely to help others without fear of being unnamed or anonymous. I believe God wanted me to rise and become a person who functions based on convictions and not necessarily based on people’s appraisal.
Our worth and value are based on God’s love for us- nothing else. Not what we can do, can produce or what we become known for. That’s what people see. But God is the one who stays behind when everyone leaves. He watches everything. He sees the work you’re putting in behind the scenes to be the best version of yourself. He sees the effort to grow and mature and do better. He sees the discipline, the patience, the prayers, the acts of kindness, the big fights, the small wins. He sees you. He stays behind to applaud what others might not be willing to. Will you do the work for Him?