When Cecil was diagnosed with an inoperable aortic hematoma and told that he would die, the sunshine went out of my life. I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t believe it. Consequently, talking about it became almost impossible.
One morning, after arising, Cecil crawled back into bed with me, and said, “We need to talk.”
There was an immediate avalanche of tears. He talked and I listened.
Finally, struggling to control my emotions, I said, “Cecil, if you die, I am not going to rant and rail against God. I am just going to believe this is God’s time to take you home.”
I can still hear the warm approval in his voice as he drew me closer, and said with a deep sigh, “THAT’S MY GIRL!”
“THAT’S MY GIRL” was his seal of approval.
Every person on the planet shares certain core needs. There are the physical needs such as food, water, and air, but there are also emotional needs. Every man strives for a sense of physical and emotional security. Feeling approved of makes us feel good about who we are meeting that common need. Whether we admit it or not, the desire for validation is one of the strongest needs known to man. When we are no longer met with approval, our sense of security is threatened.
I spent a good deal of my early life longing for people to like me trying to be what I thought they wanted me to be. I found myself saying “Yes,” when I really wanted to say “No,” agreeing when I didn’t, telling people what they wanted to hear, cooing over things I hated, sucking up to strangers for a bit of approval, and trying to be impressive.
I robbed myself of ME, and the approval of others was, at the most, fleeting.
Of course, the approval of others is desirable, but not at the expense of losing who you really are—not at the expense of sacrificing your own dreams and desires.
Aristotle said, “Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.”
God created no clones. When He made you, He did not intend that you morph into some Hollywood star, some supermodel, a well-known athlete or even an admired friend. He made you a unique, special being, unlike any other of His creation. Even Identical twins are not truly identical. No two sets of figure prints are the same. DNA is particular to each individual.
In my favorite Psalm 139:14-15, David said, “…I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works…When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth, Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed…”
The Psalmist is simply saying the structure and functions of a human body are beyond imagining. The body is wonderful! It is awesome and mysterious! In the womb, it was skillfully made—the parts embroidered and woven together with threads of various colors. So, also, is the soul awesome and wonderful in its intellect—in its imagination, affections, judgment, conscience, and will.
Every individual is a bundle of possibilities, but no one has precisely the same possibilities as anyone else. Each man can be what nobody else can be. Each man can do what nobody else can do.
Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
Yes, I wanted approval, but I soon learned that I could not “say nothing, do nothing, or be nothing. I needed to be me—the girl God made. By the way, I like that girl!
When Cecil first began to show interest, I warned him not to get serious. I told him that I am Selfish and stubborn, terribly opinionated, and I talk too much. He declared that those were some of the things he had always admired about me. Funny man!
I wanted very much to please my sweet husband. I wanted and needed his approval, but we did not always agree on everything. Rather than quarrel, we were open and honest about our differences, and I knew there were some things about which we would never see eye to eye.
When I think of Cecil now, I hear again his tender voice saying, “THAT’S MY GIRL,” and I know, in spite of everything, he approved of me.
However, I realize that ultimately, the approval I most need to be concerned about is that of Almighty God. I am living and longing for the day when I stand before Him and hear Him say, “…Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25:21.
That will be His seal of approval upon the life I have lived.
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!