Last week I sent out an email to some friends and family detailing some awesome things God has done in my life over the course of the last year. It was a praise report, and I wanted to share it with these people because they have all invested time and prayer into my life. I hoped that it would bless them to hear how their love and commitment to Jesus, and to me, have brought forth new life for my family and I.
I didn't send the email to get congrats or electronic pats on the back, but after a couple days of not hearing back from anyone I starting to identify a yucky, gnawing feeling developing within myself questioning why no one had responded. I pushed the feeling down, wanting to give people the benefit of the doubt that the weekend was approaching and they were too busy. After a few more days went by it grew harder and harder to dialogue with myself in a positive way. I even double checked my inbox to make sure the email had sent properly.
One of the issues I have worked at overcoming is the need for the approval of others. Not hearing congrats from these people who I viewed as significant in my recovery, was challenging me to work through how far I have really come in my growth process. An old enemy voice inside me started asking me questions about my worth, my value to others, the state of my relationships with people, and how important I am. This voice has the power to drive me into despair and self-loathing quickly if I do not manage it well.
Today I called a friend and asked him about the email. I wanted to know if he got it, and if so, why he never replied. He was gracious and honest with me. He admitted his failure to respond, and helped me to see that I may have written the email in a way that gave the impression "response not necessary." He affirmed my growth, and then honestly reminded me to keep working at getting over myself. Phoning a friend and sharing my honest feelings was a safe and helpful release valve for the emotional pressure I was feeling building inside. I'm grateful for that 10 minute conversation and for this man's gospel friendship.
Ironically, a received a respone email from someone else on my limited distribution list just an hour after making that phone call. God is faithful, and he continually pushes us towards growth - always for our good and for his glory!