Guest Post – Status Focused

Posted on April 26, 2015 | 12 comments

Photo credit: Tom Page, flickr.com

Photo credit: Tom Page, flickr.com

Recently, I put a call out to a few of the bloggers that I interact with, and asked them to write a post for Choose to Trust about some perspective on identity in Christ.

Beth 350x350

The first to respond was Beth Steffaniak who blogs over at Messy Marriage (be sure to check her site out). On here site, she is very open about the path her marriage has taken in an effort to help others.

Beth is a friend whom I had the pleasure meeting a couple years ago when she and her husband were in Orlando for a conference. Her article is about the struggle we all have with validation; seeking to have our self validated outside of Christ.

I hope you enjoy her perspective on identity.

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A Status-Focused Trap

I must confess that it’s really easy for me to look for validation from others. In a practical kind of way this makes sense, since as a blogger a lot of what I do has to be “liked” in order for it to spread. Even beyond that, I feel like there’s a certain validation that I need so that I can tell if what I’m doing or the direction I’m going is a good and helpful one.

Sadly, this can be a trap. I can get all caught up in looking at my stats, likes, retweets, or comments on my blog, Facebook or Twitter—just to name a few of the platforms I try to leverage! The list can be endless, if I let it! And the opportunities to be discouraged by the lack of engagement are endless too . . . if I let it!

But my life, my identity as well as my contribution cannot be summed up by the size of, or engagement with, my platform!

After all, no people-focused pursuit can provide the validation we long for!

I think Jesus really cares about who you and I turn to for validation. I say that because I’ve recently finished an in-depth study of the gospel of Matthew and that’s just one of many important “take-aways” that I gleaned from my studies.

If I used the same lens to look at Jesus’ impact during His brief time here on earth, I would see that His “status” was often “disliked” and His “platform” was “unfriended” by many that He sought to reach. Ultimately, His platform was used against Him. They even plastered His domain name—“King of the Jews”—above His head as they crucified Him before His mocking and disenfranchised “audience” or “tribe.”

Was Christ’s identity altered or diminished because of what others did to Him on that horrible, but beautifully redemptive day?

Not a chance!

In fact, if anything, it exalted Him and His platform to one that has endured and prevailed through the ages—regardless of how many people have waged holy wars, persecuted or martyred His followers, or tried to drown out and disparage His message.

In the same way, my true identity as a believer is not dependent upon people—especially not upon what they think of me. As a believer, I have this incredible opportunity and privilege to claim a perfect and heavenly validation by the God of the universe! Christ validated me when He died on the cross—extending to me not only forgiveness, but co-heir status (see Romans 8:17) with Him through my faith in His completed work!

Do I really think someone’s opinion can add to that, when Jesus said, “It is finished”?

If we look to anyone other than God for our validation, in our idolatry we end up spiritually sick, hopelessly hypocritical, painfully prideful and, at the end of the day, empty.

But when I look at my position and identity through God’s eyes, then I see that I lack nothing! Now that’s a status I not only “like” but love!

Who or what have you looked to that has lead to more emptiness and frustration?

What are some things we can do to keep our eyes on the Lord and the validation He alone can provide?

Scott works with followers of Christ to energize discipleship, improve relationships, decrease anxiety and facilitate leadership development. He is a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, discipleship, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.

Services offered are one-on-one coaching, group coaching,  speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact Scott.

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12 Comments

  1. Beautifully written. His validation is the only validation that truly matters. Thank you for sharing this encouragement today.

    • Thank you for the encouragement, Rose! It’s a continual battle to stay focused on Christ rather than on status, but it’s something I want to learn to surrender to Him.

  2. I love the thought of “It is finished!!!” I never really realized that anything after that was just detail, but of course! One thing that has plagued me is the thought of feedback. You may reach a ton of people through your blog and never know it without the feedback. But, should our efforts for Christ be gauged by the amount of feedback we get or the work He can do with and through our efforts. It’s a hard one. Feedback motivates. Feedback is a form of measurement and validation. As people, we tend to respond more quickly and passionately to tangible feedback and validation rather than sit still and allow God to work through and inspire us. I’m convicting myself as I type…..

    Thanks for sharing, Beth! 🙂

    • Yes, I’d never really thought about Jesus’ words on the cross as being something I could apply to my need for validation either until I wrote this post, Stacey. But I think it’s absolutely applicable, since His work completes everything we need. And I do think it’s difficult to separate the need for validation–knowing we’re on the right path or doing helpful things–with the need to feel competent or of worth. One is practical, while the other is or can be “egotistical.” But I want to be like you’ve mentioned, able to sit still and allow God to work through and inspire me. The rest is just icing on the cake. Thanks for your sweet encouragement, my friend!

  3. Ah, that seeking of validation and approval from others is a constant struggle for many. But staying focused is indeed the best way to counter it. Knowing and reminding ourselves who we really are and Whose we are will surely put us right on track. 🙂

    Well said!

    • I also think we must learn the fine art of “diverting” our attention back onto Christ, Lux. If I had to choose a word for this year, that’s what I would choose – “divert.” Because there’s such a need to constantly divert my attention from my struggles in life back onto Christ. Easier said than done, but still it must be done or I’m done for! 😉

  4. Timely post, Beth! I was just having issues with validation in my soccer coaching abilities last night. Thanks for the reminder that we don’t need to seek validation from other people.

    • Oh, I’m so glad it met a need for you, Billy! That’s the kind of “validation” that makes all of this worthwhile–when it encourages one other person in an area where they struggle just like I do from time to time. I truly appreciate your encouragement, my friend!

  5. I thrive on validation! Every day I’m trying to grab hold of it doesn’t matter what others are thinking of me and I honestly don’t need their validation. Been studying Philippians and really focusing on “keeping my eye on the prize” When my eyes are focused on Jesus – nothing else matters! My question to myself is “Will this matter if Jesus comes back tomorrow?” Thanks Beth for your insight! Validation from others should be considered a blessing from God rather than what I place my value and worth on!

    • I just finished studying Philippians too recently, Becky and saw what you are talking about. Every time I turned around the apostle Paul was briefly mentioning a hardship and he would quickly follow it up with BUT GOD or rejoice always! Paul knew that he had to keep turning his eyes back on the Lord. I’m working on that and when I do it, I feel like all the other peripheral stuff falls into its proper place–under Jesus’ feet! Thanks for the encouragement and “validation!” I feel like validation is like “ice-cream.” It’s delicious when I get to eat it but I can’t have it all day or every day or I’ll pay the price!! 😉

  6. Love this post! Great message. Thanks Beth

    • Thanks, Andrra! Your encouragement means a lot!

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  1. Status Focused – Guest post at Choose to Trust - […] excited to be featured over at Scott Perkin’s blog – Choose to Trust, where my post, Status Focused is…

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