“Let’s not be concerned with the opinion of men at all, only of God. Let’s not be concerned with the validation of men at all, only of God”– Kanye West
We actually all want acceptance. Like fundamentally, we all yearn to be accepted and loved and seen and heard, in whatever capacity that may be.
What happens when we start searching for this acceptance in the wrong places? What happens when it begins to feel good at first but then morphs into something toxic, proving that it was only a mirage, a fake copy of the real deal?
I’ve experienced toxicity in my life. I look back and I realise just how much of myself I placed in the hands of another person – be it a friend, a guy – my world was literally void of joy if any one of these people failed to look upon me with grace, with a smile, with love. I expected something from someone that they couldn’t offer. They couldn’t give me what they didn’t have or have enough of.
I longed for any form of approval because in some way that meant everything was okay. That proved that I was a good person, that gave me a sense of identity. Recently I’m noticing the power in owning my story. My story does reek of self-doubt, random suicidal thoughts laced with the most warped concept that I would finally be seen and appreciated once I was no longer here. It reeks of a lack of confidence and a fear to be my most authentic self.
But somewhere along the line that stench turned into the most beautiful aroma. My scars became my beauty marks because I began to see just how powerful my story is and how my lord and saviour Jesus Christ has truly transformed my mind. I’ve begun to acknowledge the beautiful woman that is Tolulope Biodoumoye Karunwi and I am in a place of revelling in who she is. A child of God whose exists to give Him glory/praise. A child of God who is a symbol of peace and comfort in whatever room she walks into. A child of God whose joy and acceptance comes from the one true God.
I feel a release. I feel assured that though there might be days and certain triggers that have the effect of placing me back in those shoes, the Holy Spirit is never too far away. He and only He alone can & will comfort me in those moments pulling me back up to remember the truth.
And the truth is that we are ‘powerful beyond measure.’
The truth is that we are loved. The truth is that we are seen. The truth is that we are beautiful. The truth is that we are appreciated.
I received a prophetic word a few months ago. I was told that the root of a lot of my insecurities was that I felt under – appreciated. It truly didn’t click until I visibly saw myself feel small a few weeks later, in one of the scenarios that trigger this belief, the idea that I feel under-appreciated.
So it was during the final year exam period and one of my really good friends was feeling really stressed concerning an exam. On the morning of her exam I had sent a message on our group chat to encourage her with some bible verses and prayers and remind her that she was covered. Another one of my friends chimed in and sent her will wishes in her own special, individual way.
So here were two approaches that represented us separately as individuals
That’s cool right? My mind soon began to feel otherwise.
So my friend returns from her exam, and we’re both excited to see her and ask how it went. And in the process of recapping both the exam and the messages we sent to her to some of our other friends, I overheard her saying: ‘Tolu sent a message but then _____ said such and such’ as she proceeded to elaborate on my friend’s approach. Now, a scenario like this would not be a big deal to some and truthfully should not have been a big deal to me either cause I mean, I had been working on not seeking for approval or validation right? I had been working on not even expecting ‘thank yous’ because though it’s a nice sentiment, it can be all I’m craving and when I don’t receive it, I feel demoralised and unseen. And more than that, I know my friend and I know she did not mean anything bad or offensive by it.
So why these feelings? Why did these thoughts linger and why did I interpret the situation as my approach being pushed to the side and one approach being glorified? Why did I then translate it to suggest that I was easily forgettable or invisible – traits I’ve lorded over myself for years on end. Why in that split second did all these beliefs stir up in my soul and make me feel so incredibly uncomfortable as I washed my dishes?
That’s when it clicked.
‘The root of your insecurities, is that you feel under-appreciated.’
I looked back on my life and saw that certain moments which I could probably identify as some of my darkest moments, were moments where I grappled with my insecurities – be it with my body, my social presence/confidence, or my intelligence. These moments were laced with that one feeling of: under-appreciation.
But as I’ve begun to walk in my truth, the Holy Spirit has equipped me with the power and ability to track these triggers and denounce the lies they come with in advance. Now, I can tell myself in a similar scenario to also join in the merriment of praising & celebrating a friend’s different approach because ultimately comforting someone doesn’t mean we have fixed them, we’re not supposed to. A friend of mine said something so profound in relation to the winning of souls. I’m seriously paraphrasing here but her words are too monumental for me to not attempt to quote her:
“We aren’t called to convict, we’re called to share.”– Fayo Elias
Hence, if our words have the power to stir someone’s heart then that’s great – we thank God for the ability. If they don’t, that’s still great – we thank God for the obedience in speaking and we thank him in advance for how someone else’s words or actions might become the catalyst for the change that person needs in their lives. Ultimately, we thank God. Because whatsoever we do, we do it to please Him and not man.
“Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others.”Colossians 3:23 TPT
Therefore, I’m slowly learning as the Holy Spirit and I work on dismantling this need for validation which stems from feeling under-appreciated, that it’s all about Him. And as long as I’m right with him, nothing else should matter. I’m learning that it’s a daily choice to deny myself, pick up my cross and follow Christ. I’m learning that it’s about SURRENDER and true surrender doesn’t still ponder on things that aren’t true but rather releases and chooses to ponder on things that are (say it with me people)…
“whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—THINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS”Philippians 4:8 NIV
(highkey I had to check mans hasn’t learnt this verse by heart lol)
So what is true? Well first and foremost Jesus Christ and his death for us on the cross is true – because He is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) But in direct correlation to this series on validation (which has gracefully come to a beautiful end with this post), this is also true:
Can you see it now?
Do you hear it – loud & clear?
Do you believe it?
I do. I finally do. And I pray with all my heart and everything within me that you will too and we will continue to believe it, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
So I mentioned something about ‘beauty marks’ in this post and this phrase came from none other than, Ciara. I had a serious obsession with Ciara when I was younger – like I loved her so much. But I remember after watching a programme discussing the power of music and how it can affect us as young people, I began to feel convicted about listening to her music, but in a way that I wanted Ciara, my favourite musician to come to know the Lord. So I got down on my knees (I can see the moment so clearly now) and I began to pray. I prayed with my whole heart that God would save her soul.
Now, I don’t want to ascribe her growth and journey to this one prayer but I believe God heard me. And now, more than a decade later I’m seeing the fruits of that one, small prayer by that one, small girl. I’m seeing how she’s shared her story, her beauty marks and let us in on her journey to love.
To love God. To love herself. To love others.
And I’m seeing so many similarities in the ways in which she approached/accepted the wrong types of love. I’m seeing how she too yearned for validation in the wrong spaces and places. And I’m elated, I’m inspired seeing how God has transformed her life and how he continues to order her steps. She’s now living her truth and able to look back and refer to those moments, those dark places as her ‘beauty marks.’
And all this is illustrated and felt in the song, ‘Beauty Marks’ which I pray you are blessed by. I pray you are able to witness the beautiful transformation that occurs when you dedicate your life to Jesus and choose to surrender to Him and His will.
Peace & Love (always)