After 35 years of running, I had to stop this year due to hip issues. I decided to pick up biking and called my brother, a seasoned biker, to take me out on the road. I remember feeling insecure and fearful. Taking on new things usually feels this way. But he spoke something to me that day that changed the way I felt. It was something like this: “You could really be good at this biking stuff.” I remember feeling something deep stir in me. He had seen something in me that I could not see and spoke it out. What did I feel? Validated.
An invalid is someone we image as sickly, unable to walk, confined to a bed. But change the accent to make the word invalid. The image still connects. When we feel invalid, we become sick in our souls, unable to walk through life, confined to an emotional prison. We then get on a never-ending treadmill, doing anything we can to find affirmation. We become sucking black holes, fishing for compliments, fearing criticism. Or we can take the opposite route, harden our hearts, and deflect any praise that comes. At least we won’t feel the longing anymore.
When Jesus began his work, he was validated by his Father before all who would listen. Here is what the voice said: “You are my beloved son. With you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:17) It was an affirmation Jesus would need as the foundation for all that lay ahead for him. If the Son of God needed this from his Father, how much more we.
Yes, we do need to affirm each other. It’s part of loving others well. It’s beautiful and powerful whether between husband and wife, parent and child, teacher and student. All this came home to me recently watching a brilliant short film entitled, Validation. In it, you see the power of validation between persons.
But all of this is the echo of a deeper validation that we can have from one who sees us and knows us completely. What he thinks of us is the most important thing in the world. And in Christ, we become validated: “You are my beloved child. With you I am well pleased.” This is the affirmation that can become the foundation for our own souls.
Take some time today to hear the Father’s affirmation of you. Then take 15 minutes and watch the film.