Friday, June 6, 2008


I've been reflecting on this for a while but I've realised that I am an extreme version of a "words of affirmation" person. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, a guy called Dr Gary Chapman wrote a book on how people express or feel loved. The five languages listed are;

  • Quality Time

  • Words of Affirmation

  • Gifts

  • Acts of service

  • Physical Touch

Of course, these are very generallised and often people are a combination of a few of these.

However, below is a diagram arranging these on a line of most relevent to least relevent language for me...

...Ok, so it's not quite that extreme... Physical touch is somewhere in the middle (i'm definitely a hug-a-holic) and gift giving and recieving is somewhere off this page (in the "I so don't get it" section of the line) but you get the point.

The thing I've realised about this though is that I'm looking for affirmation in the wrong place. It hit me at ETC really; I was one of the music organisers and it's a well known fact that in ministry, you shouldn't expect to be thanked very much (which is fair enough - you're not really supposed to be doing it for your glory... but that's getting ahead of myself).

This, was a severe problem...

You see, when people don't tell me I'm doing a good job at something, I start wondering why. Is it because I suck at whatever it is I'm doing? Is it because they don't like it? Do I look funny out the front? Does anybody like me? Am I... What's.... Why?

And so the stress builds up and I start to implode with worry...

This is exactly what happened at ETC. I ended up a in tears a few times because no one was telling me how much they loved the music and that I should keep up the good work!

Now please please please don't get me wrong here; I'm not saying that you all suck for not telling me I'm awesome (that would seriously not be helpful) I'm merely telling you all this to illustrate my point: I need to stop looking for acceptance and affimation from people and start looking more to God.

The way I see it is as long as I'm doing what He tells me to do through the bible I'll be fine. Of course this would be a lot easier to do if I got emails or something from Him to let me know I'm doing ok but unfortunately that's not how it works. I need to learn to do what He wants me to do and to be satisfied with the knowledge that God loves me no matter how good a job I do at it.

Maybe then I'll learn to see the occasional word of encouragement from a friend as icing on the cake... :)

1 comment:

netty said...

hey joh!

i found your blog again today and wanted to say hi.

i thought the music at etc was great! you've got a great voice and i loved doing harmonies with you and kt*. i Love harmonies. thanks!

i know you said you were just using etc as an example, but i think people Should be more verbal in their appreciation of others and their work. and i think that it's through people that God most often affirms and encourages us.

problem is, us people can do a lousy job at that sometimes. maybe we just don't realise how much our words can mean to each other or something.

so again, thanks for all your efforts at etc. we had a good team and a good organiser.

anyway, hopefully i'll run into at uni or somewhere sometime soon.

all the best with exams!