This last month has been a roller coster for me. I have had the subject of affirmation on my heart and mind for a long time but this past month more than ever.
Over the past three years I have been working through this idea of affirmation from God instead of people. Now, just so it’s not confusing, affirmation from people is good, it’s healthy. The thing with me was, I was getting too comfortable with the affirmation from people part of it. I was getting burnt out, tired, and discouraged.
My mentors and spiritual leaders were the ones I was trying to get approval from the most. I would do anything to get a “good job, Cami” or an “I’m so proud of you.” Of course they could see right through me and they started calling me out on it. That was hard for me but at the same time really good.
Last month, my youth pastor asked me to help him cut stencils for a huge art piece he wanted to do for a worship night we were going to have as a youth group. I said yes, and headed over to work Monday afternoon. We worked for two hours and realized we weren’t even close to getting done. We agreed my sister and I would come early the next day and work on it more. Next day came, Sofi and I got up, and started to get ready to leave. I figured we were only going to be there for a couple hours, then come back home. So, I threw on junky clothes, a hat, and left.
Sofi and I worked until our mom came to pick us up. We felt bad leaving because there was still so much work to be done so we offered to stay all day and work and then stay for youth group that night.
At youth group we had been talking about lament. Lament means to mourn over, to feel, show, express grief, sorrow or regret. A couple of the students had an idea to make a movie once we were done with the series. This movie would feature us writing down the things we wanted to lament/let go of on rocks, then the next week we would go out to the bridge and throw our rocks off of it.
This particular night was the week we were supposed to write on our rocks. I had been having a hard time figuring out what to write on my rock. So the whole day, while cutting stencils, I was thinking of what I wanted to put on this rock.
6pm rolls around, kids start showing up, worship starts, and everybody is happy. Except me. I was so tired from working all afternoon, I was having a hard time keeping a smile on my face and my attitude in check. My youth pastor was keeping me super busy too, every other minute he was calling my name for me to do something new. So, basically, I missed the whole night, I didn’t get to join worship, paint, or even do a rock.
By the end of the night I was a wreak. I was beyond tired, dirty, and sore from being hunched over the giant stencils all day.
Throughout the day I hadn't really been thinking about how I would feel if no one affirmed me for all the work I did, but once I got in the car and started to head home, all the feelings started coming back. Fact was, no one had really said hi to me, or even looked me in the eyes the whole night.
I was so fed up with those feelings, I started crying out in my heart. “God, I can’t do this anymore! I feel so discouraged so over looked. I’m so tired of feeling like this!” Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had started to lament something. The Lord started speaking to me, just affirming me about the things I had done that day. I started to tear up, but that was only the beginning.
When we pulled up into the driveway, I got out of the car as fast as I could, went inside, and dragged myself up the stairs to my room. Once I stepped foot in my room, I don't know what came over me, but I collapsed on the floor and started to sob. I have never cried that hard in my life, I just cried and cried for a good 20min. The more I cried, the more I could feel years and years of being disappointed and let down by people start coming off me. The Lord just kept taking me deeper, and speaking into the past situations where I didn’t get the affirmation I wanted. All I could do was cry.
I went down stairs when I thought I was done. I walked into the kitchen and my dad takes one look at my face and said, “What happened?!?” I opened my mouth to explain my red, and teary face but instead of words, out came more tears. I started sobbing again, this time, all over the counter top.
Around 9:30pm I started to cool down. I felt like I had just gotten rid of a thorn in my life. So...free! By then I didn’t care that my youth pastor hadn’t affirmed me, I didn't’ care no one said thank you. This was a feeling I had never had before. It was just me and The Lord. The moment I said that in my heart, I heard my phone go off. I picked it up and it was a text from my youth pastor. It was just a simple thank you, love ya, good job and goodnight sort of text. Usually this would be the text that made my week. As I looked at it, I felt this overwhelming sense of blessing. The Lord started to speak again. He said once I am secure in His approval and love, He is going to bring blessings and encouragement from the people in my life who also love me.
To sum up the rest of the story. The next day, I told my parents what God had said and I explained what had happened to me the night before. I also told I was bummed because I didn’t get to do a rock. My mom and dad shared with us that they had rocks in their life they wanted to get rid of too. So, as a family we got some rocks, went out to the bridge, prayed, declared freedom, and threw them.
To this day I am still processing what happened that night. This is a big deal to me! My life changed that night. I am still learning a lot. I can feel this freedom that wasn’t there and peace I hadn’t felt before. I am so excited for what the Lord has in store and for this next chapter of my life!