Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Do I make you proud?

I think it is amazing that no matter how old we get . . . inside, we are still that small child seeking approval and applause from our parents, and from those we look up to and respect. Even if we are absolutely sure that our parents love us, there is that human part inside of us that needs to hear "Good job" and "I'm so proud of you."

I often admit that I am a feedback junkie. I'm currently in the last 3 classes of my Masters degree, and every time I turn in an assignment, I check the online gradebook every hour to see if my grade has been posted. I have to know how I'm doing. It isn't that I want to hear someone praise me if I've done a good job (not that I don't appreciate that) - but I want to keep checking to make sure I'm 'on the right track.' I want the constructive criticism so that I can do a better job the next time.

What I've come to realize lately is that I am not looking for approval, acceptance and feedback in the proper places. Yes, I think it is important for parents to tell their children that they're proud of their accomplishments and it is equally important for employers to praise their employees for jobs well done. However, when I am seeking feedback and approval . . . am I considering whether my Heavenly Father is proud of me? Is he going to say "Well done, good and faithful servant"?

This week, something happened where I felt unloved. It is probably a silly thing for a child of God to ever truly feel unloved - but again, that is the human part of us. I was very sad and feeling down because I tried so hard to make someone proud of me, and I felt (and often feel) like I've fallen short. I felt a nudge around my heart that day, as if God was saying, "Have you done something today to make ME proud of you? Are you living the way you should? Are you feeding my sheep?" It really made me stop and think. And even though I know that I will never completely stop seeking the approval of others - I can learn to better put things into perspective.

When I want to check to see if I'm on the right track, I need to take a moment and pray for God to show me the way. I need to continually study to learn God's will for my life. I know that I am not perfect. I never will be. I am human. But there is one thing I am sure of -- I am loved, more than I could ever imagine possible. The words to this Michael W. Smith song speak to me as I write this - and I hope it speaks to you too.

Never Been Unloved
by M.W. Smith

I have been unfaithful
I have been unworthy
I have been unrighteous
And I have been unmerciful

I have been unreachable
I have been unteachable
I have been unwilling
And I have been undesirable

And sometimes I have been unwise
I've been undone by what I'm unsure of
But because of You
And all that You went through
I know that I have never been unloved

I have been unbroken
I have been unmended
I have been uneasy
And I've been unapproachable

I've been unemotional
I've been unexceptional
I've been undecided
And I have been unqualified

I have been unfair
I've been unfit for blessings from above
But even I can see
The sacrifice You made for me
To show that I have never been unloved

It's because of You
And all that You went through
I know that I have never been unloved


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