I had an unexpected conflict pop up a few weeks ago that took me off guard.
A friend and I were having a discussion about life – busyness, parenting, scheduling, the way we live out our faith, etc. – and she said something that I completely disagree with. She was/is fiercely passionate and committed to this perspective, so I felt the wisest thing to do was to back down.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
In fact, it dominated so much of my brainpower that week that I finally had to talk it through with my husband as a way to stop the thought circles from chasing their own tails.
Being the wise and discerning man he is, Chris said something very timely.
“You will never be able to get affirmation from someone with different core values.”
Yes! Affirmation! That’s exactly what the tension was all about!
She and I think differently, we live differently, we value different things, and that’s okay! My affirmation doesn’t come from her.
Her perspective and the way she lives her life is all about her core values and what she chooses as most important. My perspective and the way I live my life are all about my core values and what I choose as most important. And that’s okay because my affirmation doesn’t come from her!
The real tension shouldn’t have been between her perspective and mine. We are both human. We are both flawed. Rather, I should have been more discerning to recognize that God was using this situation to speak to me and ask me some tough questions.
- Who’s affirmation do I care more about: my friend’s or God’s?
- Who’s values do I measure my life up against: the ways of the world or the ways of Christ?
- When confrontational situations arise, am I more concerned with defending and justifying my own opinions and way of life or His?
Isn’t it interesting how easily we fixate on the wrong things?
- We want to make life all about us, and He’s calling us to make life all about Him.
- We want to feel heard, understood, and invited into the conversation, and He’s asking us to do this for Him.
- We want to be loved and welcomed, cared for, like we’re truly valued and understood, and He’s asking us to be the leaders of this in doing it for others without the need for reciprocation.
If what I value most is to live and love like Christ, then it doesn’t matter what other people value. His ways trump my own. With being in right relationship with Him comes a deep desire to lay myself down. That’s what I value most. And I am perfectly okay with this when my affirmation is based on Him, not others.
What do you value most?
Where do you seek affirmation?
“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” Philippians 3:7-9