Seeking Validation

Every few weeks, a new blog post goes viral. It’s the mom writing a letter to the mom on the iPhone or another mom writing a response to the mom writing the letter to the mom on the iPhone. It’s the post about having sex with your husband every day and the posts about why another woman is not going to possibly have sex with her husband every day. We read and share these posts like crazy on Facebook and Twitter.

Why?

Because we love validation.

Doesn’t it feel to good to see a blog post going viral that supports the decisions we make on a daily basis. We share it so we can see others comment with “right on!” or “this is SO true,” further validating the choices we’ve made.

The good thing about the internet is, whatever we’re doing, we can usually find someone who shares our viewpoint and does the same things we do.

There’s something to be said for sharing with one another and supporting one another as a form of building each other up, but there’s another thing to be said for needing others to validate the choices and decisions we make in our lives.

We do it in other ways too. That employee treated me poorly, so I’m going to post about it, mostly to hear people say “yeah, that employee really was in the wrong” or someone says I’m not good enough, so I’m going to post about it just to get people to comment “ignore them, you’re awesome.”

When I taught middle school, my students used to come me and say things like “so and so said I was dumb” or “so and so said I was fat.”  My response would always be, “Well, are you?” If the answer was “no,” I’d respond with, “well, then what does it matter?” They were only coming to me to get someone to validate that they were wronged or to get the other person in trouble and they were also basing their self-worth on what someone else said about them.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Do you spend more time comparing your life with the opinions of viral blog posts and people on social media than you do comparing it with the instructions in the Bible?

In Galatians 1:10, Paul says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Our human nature craves validation, but we don’t need to get that validation by sharing viral blog posts or ranting on Facebook. We can get that validation from God and know that whatever we do, if we’re following Him and His word, we’re okay.

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You’re Not the Only One

As a military wife and mother of young kids, one of the things I hear the most is, “I don’t know how you do it.” It, of course, refers to holding down the fort while my husband is away. Some take it further and compare me to a single mother, although I’m quick to remind them that while I may not have my husband home, I have his support and income to help while he’s away. Regardless of how they word it, I never know quite how to respond. Is it as easy as I make it look? Of course not, but it’s a part of life, and it’s actually a part of life for more than just military wives.

Every day moms, and even dads, must run the show while their spouses are away. While people recognize the hard work I do, they don’t often stop and tell my friend whose husband works random hours at a grocery store that she’s doing a good job or encourage another friend whose husband spends a few months every year working on the pipeline in Alaska. They don’t notice the friend who never sees her husband because they both have to work conflicting schedules in order to make ends meet either.

Sometimes it’s so easy to become consumed by our reality that we don’t stop to look at the reality of those around us. We can go months without our spouses, but that mom whose husband goes back to work after she has just had a new baby may be struggling even more than us. The wife whose husband has left for his first business trip may really be struggling with loneliness. The woman who only gets to see her husband as she’s climbing into bed after a long night of work may be longing for a little quality time with him.

Does that make what we do any less amazing? Does it make what we do seem any easier? Of course not, but it does give us the opportunity to pull away from our reality and start supporting someone else in theirs. We’re often the ones getting encouragement, but we should also be the ones doling out the encouragement to others.

The Bible tells us to encourage others too…

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…” – 1 Peter 4:8-10

Why does it matter?

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

We can use our experience and the strength we’ve developed to build up other military wives and other wives and mothers who are struggling while their spouses are away, whether they’re away for 8 months or 8 hours. By doing so, we’ll take the focus off ourselves and our struggles.

Look around you. Who can you provide some support and encouragement to today?