For a long time I was waiting on a dude to validate that I was interesting and fun. I was desperate for someone to take me seriously. To not laugh at my dreams or roll their eyes at my passions. Everyone told me “before you can expect someone else to love you, you have to love yourself.” I think there’s merit to that, but I don’t believe that’s it. At the end of the day, even my own validation doesn’t cut it lol.
What’s changed the game and my life is encountering Jesus Christ. This is not just a one time deal, but a daily experience, a way of living and orienting my reality.
I met Him for the first time (that I was fully aware of!) at 15 years old, but we really got DEEP in our relationship when I was 21-22. After 6 years of following and seeking Christ, I came to a realization that my relationship with Him was still superficial. I didn't want to admit this to myself. However, life has a funny way of inviting us to reckon with reality, and I soon became aware that I had some toxic relationships in my life that were causing pretty significant damage to myself and others. In the wake of relational damage committed by me and against me, I realized I needed help… or rather, I need Him.
My imprint for relationships was wack and I wasn't really sure of how to fix that, but I knew that I needed to be restored by relationship with Him in order to have healthy relationships with others. I needed to know Him more deeply, experience His love more profoundly, and stop holding back parts of my life and pieces of my heart.
When I finally came around to Jesus, my heart was shattered into a million pieces. I was ready to do whatever was required to have this restored relationship I was longing for. The Lord received me with the upmost tenderness and care, yet with strength and sternness He made a couple of things clear: No more lying, no more hiding, no more pretending. As I shared with Him my desire for relationship, He also shared His desire for a relationship, but not just any relationship— His desire was for a whole hearted partnership in which we share everything and live life together. No more my life and His life, but our life and our love.
At the beginning, I spent most of my time playing the victim— “Jesus you’re so perfect and I’m so not.” The first couple years were mostly me lamenting to Jesus about my brokenness and wallowing over the fact that I could never be on His level. I was always the bad guy, the faithless spouse betraying the bridegroom, and the deadbeat friend always looking for a handout.
He didn’t indulge me in my fixation on my wounds. He also didn't dismiss me as dramatic, emotional, or ungrateful. Instead He lavished me with delight. He was so freaking interested in me. I couldn’t stand it. To all my woes, He never left and He kept asking for me to share more. I wanted to give Him the sparknotes video versión of my life and quickly label myself as depressed, anxious, pathetic. He wouldn’t let me stop at the surface of all my bad behaviors and misfortunes, instead He kept wanting to go deeper and deeper. He asked the hard questions, caught ever detail, and never grew tired of hearing the same stories twice and three times over.
Encountering this deeply personal God with a deep interest in me… my needs, my likes, my hurts, my habits, my stories, my emotions, my quirks, all of it. Seeing His eyes light up and tear up upon receiving whatever I bring to Him on any given day… that is what gives me a sense of validation and worth. Living in the light of His eternally delightful gaze… that’s it. That’s the secret sauce. The good stuff.
It’s not just positive self-talk, and therapy, spiritual direction, getting more sleep, listening to podcasts, reading books, and self-care… those things are all good🙂 but they don’t do jack squat if they don’t lead to a deeper relationship with Christ. What gives power and efficacy to these tools, habits, skills, ways of coping, is living all these things in and through and with Christ the Lord in a context of a loving relationship.
The best things in life are not those which we experience alone— for truly we are never alone. Nonetheless, the most meaningful experiences in life are those which we share with another, with a Beloved. The validation you long for and crave will not come from you making your own way; but by allowing God to have His way and receive you in all of your brokenness and beauty. The validation you are desperate for will not come from being revered by world, but allowing yourself to be deeply reverenced, respected and reddened by the loving eyes of Christ ever fixated on you.