Maturity is taking life seriously without taking yourself too seriously. This is not a comprehensive definition, but it is worth some reflection. How much time do we waste by wondering what others think about us?
So much of my desire for affirmation is unconscious. The more time I take to pray and reflect upon God’s Word, the more clearly I see signs pointing to my self-centeredness.
What are these signs? Irritability at criticism, hurt at perceived slights, the expectation of recognition. I think I’ll quit there. Perhaps you can identify with these sins and add more warning signs to this list.
A few years ago, I found an article by D.A. Carson entitled, I Fear You Think Too Highly of Me (I tried to find it online again so that I could share the link, but was unable. I downloaded it from the Modern Reformation site a long time ago). Here’s the first paragraph:
Most of us go through life quietly fearful that people think too little of us. In odd moments of shame or guilt, of course, we recognize that so much evil still clings to us that we are surprised that anyone can think well of us. But by and large we spend a disproportionate amount of time wondering if we are being bypassed, slighted, or ignored, or if the we people we admire have noticed our fine words or our excellent deeds.
Dr. Carson’s point in this article is much more profound than my point in this little blog entry, but that opening paragraph does such a good job of exposing the silliness of living for affirmation that I am wrenching it out of context (if anyone would like the whole article, I could send it out as an email attachment).
The subject of affirmation came up because of my new adventure in blogging. I’ve had to ask myself why I’m doing this. If it is to fill some need for affirmation, then I’m an idiot. If it is to cultivate the discipline of personal journaling, then it might be of some use. I read some more justifications for blogging on Michael Haykin’s Historia Ecclesiastica blog (the entry for November 13). Now, granted, I am no academic. However, keeping a log of ideas, planting seeds for future projects and honing my skills as a writer are not bad motivations to keep this blog going.
If I wanted affirmation, I would make some comment about Phil Johnson’s famous blog PyroManiac just to see if I would get blogspotted. That would be stupid. In fact, when Phil’s blog was quite new, he had a poll asking readers if he should continue blogspotting. I voted “no” immediately. I was pleased to see that early voting seemed to be going my way. I was disappointed the next day to see that the “yes” side prevailed. They ended up winning by a margin of about 10 to 1. This is ancient history, but I just wanted to make it clear that I don’t go along with such silliness. I might have readers some day, after all.
I wonder what they’ll think of me?