People will go to extraordinary lengths to gain approval. At the core of many social interactions is the longing to be favoured and verified. The soccer field, the marriage contract and political power all ride on the belief that we can prove ourselves worthy of affirmation.

The author Deborah Meyler wrote,

“We're high on the adrenaline of feeling, even though we know it's fleeting and evanescence. And we're getting worse -- checking texts and emails and Facebook every five minutes, always searching for that next hit of feeling, that next morsel of approval.” [1]

We hang on the words of a father or mother who had the power to bless and curse—we thrive on their blessings and die inwardly with the words that diminished us.

We wait for the words that give us permission to inherit the earth… we long for a father to tell us that we are good and blessed and unstoppable. And sometimes it takes someone other than a father to encourage our goodness and creativity.

Henry Ford and Thomas Edison had a longstanding friendship over several years. Henry Ford looked up to Edison as a mentor.

In 1896, Henry Ford attended a company event where Thomas Edison (the great inventor) was the guest of honour. His friend introduced him to Edison as "the man trying to make a car that runs on gasoline."

Edison asked young Henry Ford a host of questions and when the talk was over, Edison banged his fist down on the table and said, "Young man, that's the thing! You have it! Your car is self contained and carries its own power plant."

Years later, Ford, reflecting on their first meeting, said in a newspaper interview, "That bang on the table was worth worlds to me. No man up to then had given me any encouragement. I had hoped that I was headed right. Sometimes I knew that I was, sometimes I only wondered, but here, all at once and out of a clear sky, the greatest inventive genius in the world had given me complete approval.
The man who knew most about electricity in the world had said that for the purpose, my gas motor was better than any electric motor could be."[2]

Have you heard the bang on the table that encourages you to live out your potential? Jesus had his approval confirmed when he was baptized.

Matthew 3:
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

In the moments of self-doubt and uncertainty, don’t you wish someone would say, “I love you—I am pleased with you—you are going to make it!” Even if those words are spoken to us, do we take it to heart or rely on a darker interior voice that says, “You are not lovable—we see through your phoniness—you are doomed.”

[1] Deborah Meyler, The Bookstore, 2013 by Gallery Books