I have written about this before in other places, however, it is a topic I find myself coming back to and thinking about regularly. It could be due to my love for talent shows. I could also be because of the longing I feel for validation myself.
I do not think that this longing is something far from the thoughts of many people. There is something within each of us hoping, yearning even, for others to receive us with open arms. I do not find this odd or even inappropriate. What I have discovered through my own introspection is that we may have turned our angst and decided to be satisfied by lesser forms of authority. When you are a singer and you want your voice measured you subject yourself to the judges on one of the many talent shows. When you want your cakes/cupcakes tasted or your tattoos showcased you put yourself out there and are literally under a microscope with the hope that someone will say, “Yeah, that is pretty amazing”. Those who make it to that stage are few. I often wonder about the countless droves who do not even risk the scrutiny and yet desire the evaluation.
I say all of this because a second reality I have discovered is that when we turn to the wrong place for the acceptance we desire we may find temporary relief, but it is just that. We may find some of the pressure we feel in our heart and mind eased, however, the anguish of soul will surface again because it was never really addressed. And the reason is because any salve we find in this world will only mask the deeper source of our spiritual pain and poverty. Only he who is the architect of our essential self can fill any holes we may find or even suspect, but never identify.
When Jesus was walking through a certain town, a man covered in leprosy came near and gave voice to his longing. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (Luke 5:12 NIV). Luke records the exchange and Jesus did something so shocking, and yet, its profundity has lost much of its impact over the centuries. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. He touched the man. The problem was not leprosy. The problem was loneliness, lack of community, isolation. The leprosy only deepened the reality this man was experiencing. There are so many people who are looking for someone willing to identify with their brokenness. Not the brokenness that evokes pity but true compassion.
As the body of Christ, we have to get back to seeing the true needs of the hurting. This kind of diagnosis can only occur when we see from a different perspective than the “patient.” We have become a “WebMD” church when what the world needs is the help of qualified spiritual health professionals who are prepared to evaluate and intervene on behalf of the sick and direct the ailing to the Great Physician.
As I continue to think on these things I hope to find greater clarity on what role I should be playing that I am not now walking in. I would be interested in any thoughts you might have on this topic.