The Need for Recognition
// From the Archives //
One of the things I truly believe that God has called me specifically to do is to write.
Anyone who knows me well knows this.
I dream of writing blogs consistently, writing books, bible studies, devotions… but I haven’t written a blog in a while. I could pretend that I was too busy or too tired with my pregnancy. I could pretend that I had too much to do with cleaning my house, working full-time, and taking care of my kid… among other things. Lately, though, I have noticed that those are valid reasons for not taking the time to write, they are not the main reason why I haven’t.
You know those moments when you see your sin nature rear its ugly head, and it is not only clear to you, but clear to others, too? Yeh, I experienced that this week. I noticed something about myself that I knew a few years ago, but I never spent time fully dealing with it. While I was getting my Masters Degree in Seminary (for counseling), we not only had to learn from our books, we had to learn from personal experience.
I took a class specifically training us in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I won’t explain what that therapy fully entails, but we mainly learned how to help our clients know, challenge, and replace unhealthy thought patterns. Sounds fun, right? Yeh, except for the fact that we actually had to be “counseled” by a classmate on real issues. We had to know, challenge, and replace our OWN unhealthy thought patterns. I learned at that time that I have struggled with a deep-rooted belief for a long time, and that is the belief that I saw come out in an unsightly way this week.
I am a person who longs for recognition.
There…I said it. I don’t like to even say it out loud because, frankly, it is embarrassing and makes me sound insecure. My pride isn’t too fond of others seeing my insecurities, but it’s true. I long for recognition. Sometimes I feel like I even NEED it.
I was taught in my life to do everything to the absolute best of my ability, and when I do that with little to no appreciation or recognition, I feel too easily angry and hurt. I tend to take a little too much pride in the strengths and talents I have at times, and I expect others to notice those things. When they don’t, I get angry and bitter and close up into my shell, going back to believing the deep-rooted beliefs that have never been uprooted.
I am unwanted. I am unlovable. I am not good enough. I am unappreciated.
Part of me can’t even believe that I just said that outside of the security of my journal, but I choose to share it with you because I know you may have some of these deep-rooted beliefs, too. Sharing my struggle and how I am working to overcome it may give one person the courage to face their own core beliefs with a little more confidence.
But I felt those things this week. Someone else received recognition for something I felt I deserved, and those beliefs hit me hard in the face. Sadly, they came out in my actions, too.
Sometimes I believe that I am a good writer. A good singer. A hard worker. I believe that I am intelligent and well-read. I believe that I am a good counselor. A good teacher. A good mom and wife. A good leader.
Most of the time, I believe that I am not good enough in those roles.
I believe that others don’t really want anything to do with me, that they don’t really care.
I believe that someone else is a better singer, a better writer, a better mom, a better counselor.
I tend to believe these things because of the simple fact that a lot of times I receive little to no recognition for doing those things. (or at least I think I don't)
Isn’t that sad? I believe the lie that I need someone to honor what I do and who I am in order for me to believe that I am wanted, lovable, good enough, and appreciated. Logically, I can run this into the ground, but for some reason there is a major disconnect between my mind and my heart. I can speak truth to myself all day, fighting those lies, but if I still believe that I am unwanted, unlovable, not good enough, and unappreciated, what am I doing??
The first thing that I need to do more is understand and know who I truly am. I am a sinner saved by grace. I am a child of God. Those other roles are a part of who I am, but they do not define me. Yes, I am a mom, a wife, a counselor, a writer and a singer, but I am first and most importantly someone who has been radically changed by Jesus. He calls me His own, and that is enough.
That should blow holes in my deep-rooted beliefs alone. The fact that Jesus left the throne in Heaven to become a man on this earth, to understand what humanity really is, to be able to truly sympathize with our hurt, our fears, our temptations… the fact that He died on a cross to make the final sacrifice for my sin so that I can have a personal relationship with God… that should make me realize that I AM loved. I AM wanted. Will I ever be good enough? No. But He was good enough for me!
My identity is found in this alone: I am loved by God. I was important enough to Him that He would do that for me (and you). I will never be perfect in all of those roles or the very best, but He was. That is enough. He was and is enough. I don’t have to be. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be the best writer or singer or mom. I don’t have to be.
The second thing I need to realize is that I don’t NEED recognition. I need Jesus. I need His grace. I need His love. I need His peace. I don’t NEED recognition from others… I need to recognize the One who truly deserves it. I have to literally play that on repeat in my head. Recognition from others is so temporal, but it is God whom I need to work to please. I need to write to honor Him alone, not myself. I need to sing to honor Him alone, not myself. I need to counsel, to teach, to work, to be a wife and a mom… to honor Him alone, not myself. I need to live for HIS fame, not my own.
When I feel forgotten, unappreciated, unloved, unwanted or not good enough on this earth, at times it manifests itself into a feeling of entitlement, which leads to a life of pride, a life centered around myself, a life of growing bitterness toward those who don’t see me as I wish they did. Because of that growing insecurity and bitterness, and may I say even jealousy, I do not do the things God has asked of me. I neglect writing and many other things.
However, when I choose to focus on my real identity as a child of God, on the One who deserves all honor, the One who gave me my strengths and talents, those beliefs start melting away. What comes out instead of pride is humility, is genuine happiness for others getting recognition I crave so desperately, is obedience to do what is asked of me even if I never receive a “Thank You,” or a “Great Job!” What comes out is the attitude of Christ.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - Philippians 2: 3-11 (ESV, emphasis mine)