Sometime ago, I watched a video (Change Your Lens, Change Your Life– share your email and the link will be provided) by Dewitt Jones, a former photographer for National Geographic and a motivational speaker. I have enjoyed his film “Celebrate What’s Right with the World” for many years. I return to it from time to time to receive the message he brings. It’s funny that his gifts and talents include pictures and words. You know the old cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, today, I want to flip that on its ear and say that “a thousand words produces an amazing picture”.
Dewitt Jones has such an amazing way of saying things that speaks directly to my heart. As he shared the experience of a beautiful sunset he said, “It (the sun) was putting on its beautiful show and wasn’t waiting for him (Dewitt) to show up. The sun wasn’t waiting for his affirmation or applause. He could critique it all night and it would still do it again tomorrow.” I started to cry. Anyone who has enjoyed my stories over the years knows that one of the areas in which I struggle is applause and affirmation. Growing up I never received kudos, little long love, from my dad unless I had completed a chore or project to his approval. Unconditional love was not in his duffel bag of military fatherly provisions. Sadly, it created a spoiled rotten adult clamoring for the love of approval and recognition. I have read God’s Word, prayed, taken classes, listened to well known speakers, sermons and read other authors in my efforts to overcome this very debilitating characteristic with my old nature always finding its way back to this childhood crutch.
Today our pastor took me back to this struggle providing a thought I’d never considered. “Compliments don’t make me more competent.” God has been with me every step of the way and has taught me so many things through this journey with Him. I have written them down in my glorified journal (my website/ Facebook) but because I depend so much to others “likes” and compliments, the lack of them can paralyze me. I stop writing or posting because I think no one likes me or no one likes the message my stories convey, and the lack of their approval must represent God’s disapproval as well. The enemy of my soul knows this need of compliments and validation and he stops me dead in my tracks with the lack of them.
Today, my soul is filled to over-flowing that your approval of my stories, or this blog, is not what makes me competent. God put it on my heart years ago to write these things that he’s doing in my life and as Dewitt Jones and Pastor Sammy (Lighthouse Church) reminds me, “Your approval doesn’t make me competent and I do not need to wait for your affirmation or applause to naturally do what my God has purposed me.