Remember Silverchair? I liked them.
Last night I went to hear Don Miller read from a few of his books. It was really goodâ€¦ heâ€™s a funny guy and very comfortably interacted with the audience. It was interestingâ€¦ after reading Blue Like Jazz, which reads almost like a journal, it was strange to see him in person. I kept thinking, â€œI know so much about this guy and how he thinks, and he knows nothing about me or how what he said changed me.â€
At one point, a girl asked a question about finding our validation in Christ, in His unbelievable love for us. Why, if we are called to something so much higher and the God of the universe died because he loves us so much, do we look to other people for our worth? Why am I more worried about what my coworkers think of my outfit than if what I am doing is pleasing to God? It was an interesting question that he apparently addresses in Searching for God Knows What. Itâ€™s a question Iâ€™ve dealt with most of my life, as Iâ€™m sure most of us have.
For the sake of argument, Iâ€™m defining â€œseek validationâ€ as letting someoneâ€™s thoughts or ideas of me shape who I am and what I do.
I started thinking about whose validation I seek. Aaronâ€™s, of course, but not for the same reasons as everyone elseâ€™s. Validation from Aaron is validation of our marriage. He is not judging me for my outfit, or how funny I am, or the meals I cook (thankfully). Part of his job as my husband is helping me be the best person I can, helping me follow Christ as closely as I can. Approval from him means Iâ€™m doing something rightâ€¦ itâ€™s measured against a different standard.
I donâ€™t think I would say I seek validation from my friends. I feel pretty confident that they like me for me, that in spite of and because of my quirks and screw ups they love me. For the first time in my life, I feel like I have friendships that are real. These are not friends who will be bitter toward me for having something they want, nor look down on me for doing something they wouldnâ€™t. They celebrate my happiness and support me in my sadness. And I them.
I definitely seek validation at work. I work in an â€˜industry of coolâ€™, which is unfortunate for me and my compulsive uncoolness. My boss was named one of the best dressed people in Nashville, for crying out loud! I am more self-conscious at work than anywhere elseâ€¦ do I look cool enough? Am I too plain? Am I doing a good job? Do they talk about me when Iâ€™m not here?
Last night after the event, I called my dad. He recently read and liked BLJ, and I wanted to tell him about it. I realized after our conversation that for the bulk of my adult life Iâ€™ve sought validation from him more than anyone else. Subconsciously, I think. He always wanted us to do well, of course, but more than that he wanted us to be independent thinkers. Whatever we chose to do and believe, he wanted us to seek it out and be sure it was what we wanted and what we truly thought. Never to just go along with the crowd. Iâ€™ve always been worried that heâ€™s disappointed in me somehow. That by getting involved in church and getting married young I have somehow sold out. Even now, when we talk on the phone, I try to phrase things so he knows that Iâ€™m â€˜coolâ€™.
As Iâ€™m starting to figure out who adult Brandi is supposed to be, the pressure to impress my dad has lessened a bit. Maybe Iâ€™m more independent than I think I am. Heâ€™s certainly more forgiving than I used to think he was. Maybe part of being the person he always wanted me to be is not being so worried about what HE thinks. He wants me to be happy. Thatâ€™s enough for me.