Thursday, August 6, 2009

I have my approval

It seems to me that we're all aware, to some degree or another, that it's not good to go through life expecting and feeding off of the approval of others.

Granted, if you REALLY never cared what anyone else thought, growth and maturity would be difficult. If no one ever told me, for example, that my stick figures didn't look much like the people they were fashioned for, I might go on drawing them as I always had.

But at the same time, there is a certain value in simply doing things we love to do, and doing them well, and being pleased with the end result... the last of which is impossible if we only value our works for the judgments others give them. Why should I withhold satisfaction with my work just because I didn't get any applause?

What if I went to the gym, enrolled in a spinning class, worked my butt off, and left positively dripping from the exertion? If a seasoned biker had seen me, they might have had all sorts of pointers and directions and advice to right the things I hadn't done perfectly. And if a friend had seen me, she might have praised me for enrolling at all. But what if I simply went, got a good workout, and was proud of myself for trying something new, regardless of what anyone else thought about it?

What if I designed a website that served more as a place for me to store my online stuff than an entertaining, interactive website, and in the end was not good for a whole lot except that I'd been positively thrilled to play around with HTML and actually get a working product as a result? It might not be worth much to anyone but me, but I can give it my approval - it was something I did because I enjoyed doing it and it made my mind engage, and I am proud of the way it looks.

And in the end, my approval doesn't really matter either. It too is a means to an end of being content with myself in ways that are more directly developed by placing more value on God's view of things. In this case, I think that means that He created me with certain abilities, certain talents, and a mind that enjoys engaging in one thing over another... and so I should do them. I used to think that He made us to love doing one thing or another solely so that we could bring those talents to the table of the community of believers, making a well-rounded picture... but when I consider what (little) I've learned about His character, I think He values our OWN delight in doing things that we love, too. Do you ever sing when you're alone and enjoy it because you have musical talent? Do you ever act your heart out in front of the mirror, just because it makes you happy to wax theatrical? And when we acknowledge the fact that we have those talents at all, OR the ability to enjoy them, AND even sometimes the ability to share them, all because they are gracious gifts of God, that's when we come full circle and see the intent God had for placing passions in our hearts.


Maybe. ^_^

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