There’s a question that doesn’t seem to want to disappear. It’s been in my head for a few days now and I have an inkling that it needs to be addressed.
A few nights ago I was at an ‘inner healing’ counselling course and we were chatting about unforgiveness and there was a comment made about ‘forgiving yourself’. Or perhaps to put it another way, allowing yourself to receive forgiveness. For me, that doesn’t come easy. During the conversation, the Father dropped a question into my heart. And I squirmed. He asked me, “Steven, why do you always apologise for yourself?”
I knew the aftermath of that simple question would be messy. But I needed to pray into this and seek not only an answer but also a deep restoration.
As I mulled over the question, I realised the Father was right (as if that was a new thing!). I limp around daily carrying the burden of insecurity. My first reaction in any situation where I may be exposed or ‘look vulnerable’ is to apologise and cover my ass.
To give you an example, I recently launched a new website for my business. I worked hard at it. I spent a lot of long hours staring bleary eyed at the computer screen in a desperate attempt to pull it all together. But by the end of it, I had a piece of work that I was very proud of. And that’s quite hard for me to admit. A few days after the launch, I met with several other businesses who all were aware of the new site. One after another, they told me how great it looked and gave me what should have been a ‘pat on the back’. But what was my initial reaction which spilled out? “Ah thanks, appreciate that. We’ve nearly got everything sorted, just a few tiny little glitches to iron out, but we’re not far away…”
Really? Glitches? When did they appear?
I felt the need to ‘apologise’ for the website just in case someone found anything on it that didn’t work properly. I couldn’t deal with the shame of being exposed as someone who maybe didn’t quite know what they were doing. Oh the shame. Imagine. People thinking I wasn’t perfect.
But what I’ve now realised is that I take a desire for VALIDATION to the world and not to the Father. As men (and women), we all need validation. Even Jesus needed validation.
“After being baptised, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Matt 3 v 16 – 17
He needed to hear those words, “Beloved Son, I’m well pleased with You!” It’s not wrong to seek validation, as long as you desire it from the Father.
In my own walk, I now realise that I’ve used this apologetic mindset as a way to protect myself. Without even realising it, I had believed that as long as people couldn’t say anything negative about me (because I had already spoken negatively about myself) then in a weird kind of way, they were validating me. I was trying to protect myself from being exposed.