Despite being an uncoordinated white man who can’t even dribble properly, like the song in the commercial, “I dream I move, I dream I groove like Mike! If I could be like Mike!” Michael Jordon, of course. I’m at home with my fantasies. 🙂
Growing up I must have hit a thousand World Series winning hits at the bottom of the 9th, with 2 outs and bases loaded. I was also a Rock idol and an astronaut. In dreams the world is your oyster!
While vain glory is a worthless pursuit, identity and validation are human needs. We look up to the stars who represent our desires and ideals. They’re really no different than us in many respects, but we we love the thrill of what they inspire so much that we pay no attention to that. It’s a real drag when they screw up so bad that we can’t ignore it any more. We want to believe in them. It helps us believe in ourselves. They are surrogates for the successes we dream of, the validation we desire, and the sense of identity we long to have. Consider that the attitude of a whole city can be changed by a championship.
I remember a girl kissed me unexpectedly my freshman year of high school. I had just won an event called “Original Comedy” for my school Speech team at a small tournament. She was exuberant with joy for me and just decided to kiss me. The trophy was validation, but the kiss was better. 🙂 Soon after that I discovered a lot of unsolicited kissing going on in the theater department. Thus began my interest in theater. 😉 There was this senior named Beth… (sigh). Yeah.
Validation and identity can come from a lot of different places. So can rejection and aimlessness. In varying combinations we all encounter both. Think about all the things you’ve done because somebody praised you for it. Think about the risks you didn’t take for fear of rejection. The challenge is to balance all of that and recognize who we really are.
An adult must have an identity that withstands criticism to be of any use at all. It’s one thing to have an open mind and be flexible enough to grow your horizons, it’s another thing to be blown wherever the wind takes you. I mean, let’s face it, it’s hard enough for humans to agree with themselves day after day, let alone each other. Opposition comes with being alive and having an opinion. On any given day, someone may shred you, who really has no clue what they are talking about. Likewise, people may heap praise on you undeservedly. If you believe it all and get a big head, when its weight is to much for your neck you’ll fall right over into the sewer!
We can’t listen to everything we hear, but we must listen to some of it. Validation of some sort is necessary even for a well-established identity.
I believe God designed us to be who we are at our most fully realized potential. At conception he gave us each an identity that will always remain. The realization of who we are and our potential is ongoing. We spend our lives researching and developing. And given that God is the designer, it stands to reason that apart from him our potential is lost because of the consequences of sin. It takes the blood of Christ, the ultimate validation, to restore us to him and make us anew, so we can become who we were made to be with him.