I write from the vantage of a recovered & redeemed, male addict. My audience is most often addicted men, in the process of recovery, seeking the same freedom and redemption I’ve been given. A man writing to men. But occasionally the topic takes control and I’m relegated to the passenger’s seat.
Case in point: Validation. Who doesn’t need validation – of some kind – at some point – in their lives?
There seems to be an innate need within each of us that we know where we come from and why we’re here; a need for us to be able to live beyond merely surviving every day. I believe it is a part of the human creation, intentionally placed within us by God, the Father. This need for validation is specifically the need for our Father’s validation. There is a part of us that “wants to go home” to our Heavenly Father.
If the seeking of validation is an innate and good thing, why is it so hard to find, get, hold on to? How does it get side-tracked? How does it get hijacked and the good thing God created become an idol? We begin to look elsewhere for our validation. Why? How?
I know. You’re tired of hearing about it but I have to go there. It’s the soil in which we grow. It is our F.O.O. – our Family Of Origin. I’m going to pick on dear old Dad, but my pointing finger is aimed accurately and firmly at myself as I write. The fact of the matter is that there are no perfect families, no perfect parents, no perfect children, no perfect people. All that imperfection can’t help but make things … imperfect. It has been thus since Adam abdicated his responsibilities in the Garden of Eden.
When kids don’t receive the appropriate attention they need from their father, they can grow up with a huge unanswered question in their heart. The question is worded differently for all of us but it always sounds something like: “Am I good enough?” “Do I have what it takes?”
For girls (I imagine, since I am not one) it’s complicated by, “Am I lovable?” “Am I worthy?” “Am I special?” “Why can’t I be loved?” “Will anyone ever truly love me?”
For boys it’s complicated by, “What is a man?” “What does he look like?” “What does he do?” “Who is he?” “How can I be one?”
A lot – not all – but a lot of the responsibility of supplying good answers to these heart questions fell to our fathers. For us boys, our mother could not answer them; not her job. If our father, for any number of reasons, intentional or unintentional, good or bad, did not, or was unable to, help us find answers to these questions, it left us floundering and ripe to seek the answers in all the wrong places. And the enemy was waiting. Like a lion, he waited, prowling, patient, vicious, ready to misdirect and hijack our need for validation.
When I first heard the song I’ve posted with this blog, I cried my heart out. Not because I was lost, but because I had been FOUND. God, the perfect Father, had filled the father-hole in my heart. Now HE tells me who I am. He tells me I’m valuable. He tells me how to be a man. He doesn’t flinch. He’s not embarrassed. He’s not ashamed of me. He answers all my questions. In His Love, I find my validation. I am worthy because He says I’m worthy. “YOU say.”
It wasn’t always like that for me. It is now. I know where my validation lies. Do you?
Freedom is a gift from God. It is also His Promise; and He ALWAYS keeps His Promises.