I accidently clicked my Bible Gateway link and the ‘verse of the day’ (funny how that all goes) is Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
and I was annoyed at the old language (or use of aright, I mean, what does that mean!) so I got the Message version up.
Oh! Teach us to live well!
Teach us to live wisely and well!
I bumped the context up and read the rest of the Psalm. The last verse mentions affirmation.
I was having a conversation with someone about this yesterday, how people go asking for affirmation and really how pathetic it often is.
Which leads me to think that if we are looking for affirmation we are deprived in some way of what others can and should bring to us. I’m not saying that the person who has had the perfect upbringing, parents, friends is completely satisfied with who they are, does not need encouragement etc.
I think the entire world is deprived of proper/effective affirming speak into their lives.
Why do we need five good words to outweigh every negative thing said to us?
I get, I guess sad when I think of my friends, certain people in particular who have had to put up with a lot more of those negative things than I’ve ever had to deal with. Hey, I think I’ve had it pretty good. I do not profess to understand the complete effect that certain things said to them have, I may not understand why the few decent words I can give (when I do bother) either mean so much, or have so much trouble sinking in.
A friend of mine, she can’t grasp, however often it is said to her that she is loved/shown that she is loved that people are speaking the truth. I don’t really understand her, the people who have to be told they are loved over and over again. They know it but they don’t feel it.
I know – because I am human, a little of what this is like. I don’t have great difficulty with understanding I am loved. I am glad I do not seem to need the words often, as they aren’t really spoken very much in my house. I have grown up in a secure household, with quality friends for the most part. I do not doubt I am loved. It still takes me a lot to get used to when friends say, “I love you” (yeah girls can do that as friends). I rarely/never say it back. Does what’s obvious need to be said? But I do not doubt that I am loved.
I know that I need affirmation, however comfortably situated I am. I can entirely understand why people go out of their way to find it.
Pslam 90 is a plea from the psalmist to God. Affirm us! Remember us!
13 Relent, O LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
Is it wrong to ask for affirmation in this kindness starved world?
Paul you said, “freely given and freely received”.
What about life as it is? We don’t as a society freely give affirmation or freely give love. It’s reserved for the closeness of offer for offer, and sometimes family.
We are far too willing to trade tit for tat – especially if tat is ‘love’.
We are not good at encouraging people, we are not good as friends. Friendship predominantly (in schools at least) provides a shaky social security, and if you dig deeper that’s really all. Sometimes we are no better than sheep or fish or birds. There is safety in numbers.
We don’t freely give enough. We are suspicious then when it comes and so don’t freely recieve.
At the same time all we are doing is screaming, “Hear me! Love me! Know me!”
The only way I have ever found to alter the pattern of repeating that phrase in whatever way I do is by throwing it back to others. It is difficult to love when you aren’t feeling it. I know what it’s like to feel dry, burnt, spent and utterly helpless to go and do anything for others, pour anything of yourself when you haven’t got that resource, that strength behind you.
God loves you.
Its a funny thing to grab hold of. I’ve heard it a million times, I don’t think I really understand it most of the time. I do know it when God puts that effort in to me to let me know. It constantly repeats itself that God likes to be obvious to me in strange ways – ways I find funny. Small things that hand me back a bit of hope, small things that remind me.
From these, giving to others what I do not have or fully know seems to be the only way forward. More often than not it is the encouragement through being effective in another person’s life that pulls you back to a place where you do start believing the truths about how much you count. How much you are loved.
I don’t know if I ever explained about ‘the birds’. Sam you left a comment saying you didn’t get it.
A few weeks before leaving the Solomons I had an angry conversation with God. I was in the bathroom. I don’t know if it was the first time I heard God speak (not audibly, just when you know), but it was probably the most clear. It wasn’t much. A simple reassurance.
I then, for some reason picked something to remind me of it. I ended up picking a bird. Any bird, a bird.
I do not know how many times God has put the symbol infront of my face when I’ve most needed it. The amazing thing about it is that it’s often exactly where/when you wouldn’t expect a bird to come, or it’s different, unusal, sometimes many. That’s one of my ‘small things’.
God does not fail us.
We do not affirm people half as much as we should. Should we not be entirely expectant of people to ask? Moreso, shouldn’t we be hypersensitive to when people do ask and in any way we can, strive to meet that need?
If we are all too dry, too spent to make that effort, then we are sitting in an ugly cycle of selfish deprivation.