Today’s post is hard for me to write. The struggle hits way too close to home.
My word One Word this year is Validate. I felt prompted to pick this word after a couple of weeks of the same two words popping up in my brain, love more. Here is what I wrote at the beginning of January.
Yet, love, didn’t seem like the word I was supposed to choose. It’s the fruit of loving others. When we choose to love, we choose to validate. There’s my word. VALIDATE. This year, I want to focus more attention on acknowledging others. I want to take the time to extend overflowing acceptance and appreciation. I want others to feel seen. I want others to feel heard.
Since January 1, I’ve been taking steps to live this out in my day-to-day life. However, I’m also beginning to recognize all the subtle ways I choose not to live this out. I’m becoming more aware of all the times I choose to withhold love. This is embarrassing to admit, because it’s petty and it’s childish and it reflects a heart that has a long way to go towards loving others abundantly and with no-strings attached.
Here’s my confession:
I’ve been known to withhold Facebook “likes.” Yep, shake your head at my pettiness or laugh at how stupid this sounds, but this is one area God is convicting me about.
I sometimes quietly withhold my love for someone by choosing not to “like” their status even though I do, in fact, like their status. Okay, so I know not all the times I do this is a reflection of my heart. BUT, there are times that it is. I think instances like this are scary because the other party has no clue you’re doing it. It’s an ugliness inside me that I can keep hidden so well. But here’s the problem. If I’m honest with myself, like I’m being in this post, I know full well that I’m doing it. My heart knows I’m doing it, and God certainly knows I’m doing it.
I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want my heart holding on to little pockets of secret bitterness. In actuality, this action (or lack of action) probably isn’t even hurting the other person. But, it is doing harm. It hinders my ability to grow. Anytime we withhold our love (even on stupid Facebook) we get a glimpse of what is really going on inside our heart.
“The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable–who can understand it?” Jer 17:9
Maybe this isn’t a problem for you. But what about other areas of your life? I encourage you to pause and think about ways you might be guilty of doing this too. Do you ever subtly choose not to say or do something loving that you know (in the moment) you should do? Does a pocket of pride, hidden in that heart of yours, ever whisper withhold…nobody will even know?
Today, I’m throwing out a challenge. Next time pride creeps in and whispers withhold, choose RIGHT THEN to do otherwise. Choose to lavish love and validation.