Affirmation: Looking For Five Stars

digitalart FDP

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I recently visited a friend’s blog. She had wonderful news to share, and I eagerly celebrated with her. I happened to notice at the bottom of her post that people had given that post a five-star rating.

Hmmm. Had anyone given me a five-star rating? Or a four-star rating? Here’s where it gets sad (in that I did this to begin with). I checked my recent blog posts, and sighed. There were no stars at all. Then, I stopped.

I want to know that what I’m writing makes a difference to those who read it. Why was I looking for others to give me stars? Does it really matter what others think of me, my thoughts and my writing? It shouldn’t, but sometimes, I allow it to.

In my short-term perspective, I focus on the wrong things—receiving affirmation from people. What matters most is being affirmed by God. He delights in me, takes pleasure in me, and loves me completely. That should be enough.

I’ve been blogging just over three months. Is it realistic to expect that I’m “all that” in the blogosphere? No. I’m a writer-in-progress. I’m still figuring out this blogging world, learning how to do it well, discovering my voice.

This forced me to question why those five stars were so important to me. Why as a newbie blogger, I needed that kind of affirmation. Would they make me feel like I’d “arrived?”

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It also prompted me to remember my intentions in blogging. Is my goal to gain those five stars? Or is it to encourage others through the thoughts and words that flow into my posts? Reminding myself why I blog helped me regain perspective.

What do I do when I catch myself seeking affirmation from people?

  1. I remind myself that, in God’s eyes, I am loved for who I am. He has given me the talents and giftings He knew I would need. They don’t look like some of my friends’ giftings, but that’s okay. His plans for me are different than they are for them.
  2. I talk to my husband or a trusted friend about the thoughts I’m grappling with. They speak truths that invalidate the lies trying to stick themselves in my brain.
  3. I journal-pray. Writing down these thoughts, and allowing the Lord to speak His truth to my heart brings an accurate perspective and peace.

I wish I could say I only deal with the affirmation issue once a decade, but the quest for people-affirmation is a frequent struggle of mine. By God’s grace, I’m learning how to refocus my thoughts in healthier directions more quickly than I used to. Maybe I’ll get to the place where I’m not swayed so much by what people think about me. Between here and there, I’ll choose to remember that I’m a five-star in God’s book.

What about you? Do you ever struggle with the desire for people-affirmation? How do you deal with it?

***With my kiddos home for summer, I am going to decrease my blogging to once a week. Catch me here each Tuesday. I’ll be back to my normal schedule come the next school year. I look forward to chatting with you!***

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26 thoughts on “Affirmation: Looking For Five Stars

  1. I had a college professor who gave smiley faces on graduate students’ theses as they turned in part by part on a weekly basis. As the time progressed, he randomly decided to not give smiley faces to a few of them to see what would happen. He said it was so interesting how they would ask to walk with him to his office or to class, strike up random conversation, and inevitably, roundaboutly ask, “Ummmm…Professor? Ummmm…..I was just wondering why…well…why I didn’t get a smiley face on my last paper?”
    He used this as an example of the power of simple affirmation. Even those adult grad students liked and thrived on the smiley faces! I always remembered this story because I find it to ring true for so many of us. We want our smiley faces!
    But, seriously…I learned at camp one summer (while a counselor, not a camper) that it matters most what God thinks about me, just as you said. It’s difficult in our world full of people to focus on this, but it is so very true. We are to seek 5 stars from our Lord, and that is sufficient.
    I give this very interesting topic…. FIVE STARS! 🙂

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    • Wow, Carolyn, what an interesting story about your college professor. It highlights our intrinsic desire for affirmation. As a Christian, I must remember that God’s affirmation is what matters most. I love that when we belong to Him, we have His affirmation. 🙂 I love your thoughts here today. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. It’s hard no to receive affirmation when I’ve worked hard on a project. It doesn’t have to be number one, but I’d at least like to know if it’s good enough. It’s definitely a struggle to keep ego out of criticism and praise.

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    • I agree, Jim. It is hard to not receive affirmation, or at times, even feedback, isn’t it? I like the way you put it. It is hard to keep ego out of criticism and praise. I find that to be true with my writing. I keep coming back to the fact that God gave me this story for His purposes. He’s working in multi-faceted ways in me as I figure out how to craft it. I am doing my best on it, but I don’t know if He’ll ever have it published. My prayer is that He will use it to make me more like Him and to encourage those who help me with it. But, it’s still discouraging at times when I “put it out there” and get no feedback on it. It’s constantly humbling (and can be frustrating) to be in a place like you describe. I hope you receive the words you need as you work on your project.

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  3. One thing I think is hard to see with blogging that those who do not blog, often don’t comment. Writers and other professionals using social media to gain “community” are more apt to take the time to say something, but a whole bunch of lurkers just read because they are often uncomfortable, feel like they have nothing to say because they aren’t “a writer,” or the hassle with captcha etc. (I don’t know how many times I’ve reset my mother’s blogger password in an attempt to let her be able to comment on my kid’s blog but she’ll still forget how to do it and just emails me her comment). I’ll often get tons of people at church tell me “I love what you said about such and such on FB” and I’m wondering “then why didn’t you comment!?”

    Anyway, for awhile it does sound like crickets….but there’s crickets!! 🙂

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    • Melissa, you add a good perspective for bloggers. It’s easy to forget there are lurkers out there. 🙂 People do read our words and never give affirmation or feedback, for any number of reasons. I mustn’t get wrapped up in how many commenters I have, or “Likes” I receive or stars I do/don’t receive. God can use my words. There’s nothing that says He must let me know how He’s using them. 🙂 Thanks for adding your perspective today. I needed the reminder.

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  4. I so feel you on this. It’s really, really hard. I love your encouragement and suggestions! You are making a difference. I just remind myself that if I am challenging, encouraging, or loving just one person. That is more than enough in God’s eyes.

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    • Love your perspective, Lisa. If God uses my words to encourage one person, that is enough. If He uses them to speak only to my heart, then that too, is enough. I need to remember where to keep my focus. Love your thoughts. Thanks for sharing them.

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  5. I finally took the star rating off my blog posts, because I would write what I thought was a great post — one even that maybe I felt called to write? — and there would be no stars, no comments, zip, zilch, nada. It is lovely when people comment, but I too have had lots of friends (who aren’t bloggers) say how much they love reading my blog. I tell them — the only way I know you’ve been there is if you comment…but still they don’t. Blogging is a strange world — I fight with keeping it from consuming me all the time. Pray about it as well… I give you 5 stars for this post, too. 🙂

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    • Awww, I know that feeling. No comments, or affirmation that what is written spoke to someone. Sometimes we have to trust word of mouth rather than the stars, likes or comments on the blog don’t we? I have a couple friends who don’t comment on the blog but tell me via email or word of mouth that it was good. I’ll take it.

      Isn’t it funny how blogging, hoping for good feedback can consume us? Good for you in praying about it. I also love how you took the “star” option off your blog. I didn’t know we could do that! Have a wonderful day!

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  6. Jeanne: You and I have talked many times about the how “star” trap … and you know how I feel about ’em. How I don’t want to focus on stars, or to hitch my wagon to the stars … but I do. And then I end up in a ditch. And I need to refocus — on God, on who loves me when I’ve earned a star … and when I haven’t.
    Terrific post, my friend. Terrific post.

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  7. As it seems so often with your posts, I read it and walk away to think about my response.

    Jeanne, you are a very deep thinker with a massive gift for encouragement.

    I was hooked on affirmation for SO LONG. Then I realized I was wearing myself out wanting the attention and praise of people I admired, but who rarely gave me a second thought. It wasn’t that I was a nobody to them, it’s just that I wasn’t a somebody.

    I still long for affirmation, but I have worked hard to focus my longing on those who long for me and want the best for me.

    So honey? You don’t need some virtual stars that float on ether, look at the sparkle in your husband’s heart and your boys’ eyes. There’s enough starlight in those to last a lifetime.

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    • Love your thoughts, Jennifer. Like you, I’ve gotten better about not going after affirmation from people. But, I do still catch myself longing for it. You’re right—I don’t need any virtual stars. God is enough for me. Sometimes I just need to be reminded. 🙂 He’s given me an amazing husband and sons. Thanks for your words.

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  8. I like what you said, Jeanne! But I have to say (with one month plus of blogging under my belt) that I have never even seen those stars or the option to give them before! I thought that was what I was doing when I clicked on the “Like” button. Dang, a ratings system on TOP of that….hmmm, that actually feels like a lot of pressure for me as a reader. Just b/c I wouldn’t give 5 stars for something I read on a blog doesn’t mean that it isn’t a 5-star post for someone else….and maybe God gave the blogger that message for the other person anyway! I think that personally I would prefer to just stick with the “Like” and comment options myself. I don’t want to set myself up anyway as a person determining the “worth” of a post by doing that whole star thing.

    And, in case my comment isn’t long enough already, I appreciate melissajagears’ perspective. For the most part on our blog, the only people who comment are the other bloggers who are reading it! So I can certainly agree with what she said….I just needed someone else to point it out to me. 🙂

    What kinds of work is God desiring to do in us as we navigate this blogosphere? I know I have seen His hand at work already in me as I interact with this new world, with what I’m led to write and the ideas that come to me…..and my feelings about how many visitors we have or what kinds of responses we get or don’t get. Seems like this is an iron-sharpening-iron experience for me even though the other “iron” isn’t always specifically a person!

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    • Very interesting thoughts, my friend. 🙂 You’re right, blogposts are subjective in how they meet the needs of people who read them. A post may say something to one person that hits him/her at a point of need. Another person will read it and think, “Meh. That was okay.”

      That’s important to remember. Melissa J has a lot of wisdom. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

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