My favorite Bible verse has always been Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (NIV) I believe in the power of words: in their power to hurt, heal, and help. That’s why I am a writer.
Somewhere in Winston-Salem, a senior pastor named Gary Chapman is probably preaching as I type this. Chapman is most famous for writing a book called The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. You can buy a copy here; I highly recommend the book. He actually has a new version which I plan to pick up soon. At any rate, Dr. Chapman’s theory is that every person expresses love through a combination of
2. Quality Time
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
Basically, everyone uses all of these to communicate with the people they love–but each human being has one (or two) PRIMARY love languages that really work for them. So, if your primary love language is quality time, then your spouse/parent/teacher/whatever can bring you all the gifts they want or hug you all the time. You will still feel loved. However, the thing that will REALLY make you feel loved is their quality time, because that’s your primary love language. Understand?
My husband J and I have discussed the love languages that work best for us, and as good spouses, we both attempt to use these things to support and love each other. J’s love language is touch, which means that much of our “love” time is spent in back-scratching, hand-holding, or hugs (which causes our friends and family to roll their eyes at our “lovey-doveyness).
As you may have guessed from the title of this post, my primary love language is affirmation. I LOVE to be complimented and/or praised: with a catch. I must feel it is 100% sincere, or it is completely ineffective for me. To be honest, my neediness in this area is probably a source of immense frustration for J. After all, it’s not enough for him to compliment the way I look or tell me I succeeded at something; I have to believe that he is telling an absolute truth. True compliments are, well, affirming. I need them to feel supported and loved in my relationships.
All of this is a long introduction to say that I’m realizing I need to shift my desire for affirmation AWAY from J and ONTO God. J is a good man, but he is unable to fulfill all my needs. Only God can love me enough to make me secure. After all, John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (KJV) Throughout the Bible, I am reminded that God has saved me not because I am worthy, but through his grace. He 100% sincerely loves me, even when he sees the blemishes and sins I try hard to hide from the world. Where J, being human, can find me frustrating or incomprehensible, God sees all things I do and think, and calls me his daughter ANYWAY.
How can I continue to feel unloved, under-appreciated, or unseen when God has known me from the womb and watches me constantly in love? My prayer today is that I can keep this lesson before me as I face my daily frustrations and trials (be they dust bunnies, illnesses, or sins). With practice and prayer, I will not be so dependent on the affirmation of the world, because God has already affirmed that I am his child.
My take-away verse for this thought is Psalm 100:
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. (NIV)
May God’s blessing be upon you and me as we grow in understanding his love and finding affirmation in his faithfulness.