Prove It!

Prove It

Ever notice?

We are always trying to prove it. We are like children who can’t resist rising to the challenge of that familiar taunt, “Prove it if you can!” When those words were yelled in our direction, we knew the gauntlet was laid down. “Prove it!” Hardly any kid could resist rising to that challenge.

And it turns out that we adults aren’t so different. When we observe our motivations, we realize we are mostly just kids in adult bodies. Sure we are more sophisticated and nuanced, yet when we look really close, we recognize that childlike desire to prove ourselves lingers. Even more than rising to the challenge to prove another wrong, we are actively working to prove all kinds of things to ourselves. Peel away the surface layers which appear ordinary, and we find our extraordinary efforts to prove something to ourselves and others. Where does this show up?

In the woman who experienced extreme food scarcity during her formative years who now has a house always jam-packed with food. Pantry, inside freezer, outside freezer, shelves in the garage….more food than can be consumed before the expiration dates. This is comfort food in the purest sense of the word; it’s presence proving to her that her food needs are and shall be met.

In the pastor who carefully watches the attendance and financial reports each Monday morning, with some small part of his brain interpreting them as a reflection on his pastoral competence. When he’s honest, the numbers are even more than that…a reflection of his worth. When the numbers are high, he recognizes the emotional high is not as meaningful or good as it seems, yet he just can’t resist interpreting this data to mean he’s not only a fine minister, but a fine person.

In the man who shares his story while his new therapist constructs a genogram (family tree with emotional dynamics included). As the story unfolds, he recognizes a pattern of cutting off relational connections prematurely. He realizes he’s working so hard to avoid being ever hurt like THAT again that he literally strikes first, cutting others off before they can cross his vulnerability line. He’s proving to himself that he can keep himself safe, not matter what.

In the woman who can’t put it down. She’s successful now, the hardest working person in the company. In fact, now she runs the company. Yet she doesn’t stop, even on vacation. It’s like her success has not caught up with her. The imaginary person over her shoulder keeps whispering, “you’ll never make it, you’ll never be successful,” driving her day in and day out to prove that voice wrong.

In everyone who’s posting anything at all on social media. It’s not hard to read between the lines, recognizing we are all unconsciously working to elicit something for ourselves. It’s like every post screams loud and clear what we are proving. “See this post proves I’m successful, or affluent, or connected, or happy, or whatever.” Certainly we are clever enough to disguise the psychological need behind the obvious surface pictures and quotes and memes. Yet, the subtle invitation is to help us prove to ourselves whatever it is we are trying to prove.

It turns out, we are not much different than kids rising to the taunt, “Prove it.” And sometimes, we need to do just that. We need to overstock the pantry until we accept the fact that we can provide the food we need to take care of ourselves. We need to find helpful ways to prove we are competent in our vocations. We need to find ways to get the affirmation in life we need to feel like a healthy, acceptable human being.

And there is a place on the other side of proving. When we prove it enough, whatever our “it” is, then we move to acceptance. In the land of self-acceptance we no longer find ourselves hooked by the taunt. In the land of acceptance, we don’t need to prove it anymore, since we know it. We know we are enough. We know we are acceptable. We finally have proven it to ourselves. Then we are not so driven by the need to prove it. Sure, we may still be people with high drive, focused on accomplishing what’s ours to do. But proving it to others and to ourselves….that no longer motivates, because the proving’s been done.

Through the grace, power, and unconditionally accepting of God, may it become so. That’s being alive in the adventure of Jesus. That’s DiscipleFlow.


2 thoughts on “Prove It!

  1. Dee Vaughan July 6, 2019 / 1:57-04:00Jul

    Wonderful insightful post. Dear Lord, let my proving be done that I may rest fully in Your grace. Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

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