Chapter 18 – A is for Affirmation. C is for Cancer. P is for Performance.

Welp…I’m almost 30,000 words into manuscript!

By the end of the week I’ll be half way to my goal of writing a Book in 100 days. Now obviously,there will still be work after the writing is done. Some serious editing, then passing it on to others that  will edit and provide substantial feedback. Then there’s the whole try to get it published thing.

But I’m just taking it one step at a time. Trying to enjoy the process. A process that has included lots of hours logged on a computer, and lots of life given in pursuit of this dream.

To keep you up to speed, I wanted to share this chapter to see what you think.

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I struggle with affirmation.

Being affirmed isn’t a bad thing. Affirmation is healthy. The Bible tells us to prophesy for the edification, encouragement, and comfort of the church (I Cor. 14:3). It’s good to affirm – to edify, encourage, and comfort. Problem was, I was seeking it in unhealthy ways.

We all have these forming experiences that help shape who we are and who we become. Mine was the ‘C’ word. Cancer. Let me be clear. Cancer is not a good thing. I don’t believe the Lord decided he would give me cancer one day so He could teach me a lesson. I don’t subscribe to that line of thinking. I believe cancer is a disease, and is the result of the fall of man when death entered the word.

I believe Jesus is in the business of healing. And while I don’t believe He dished me cancer, I do believe He allowed it for His greater glory. Thus, I don’t believe it was His will for my life to be sick for many years, but in His sovereignty allowed it.

One thing I learned early in life then was how to get affirmation or attention through illness. School yearbooks were named in my honor. Bible awards given in my honor. Pastors came from all over the area to meet and pray for me. Church bake sales in my support. Blood drives for my specific blood type on the local news. A standing ovation at my high school graduation. Testifying before Congress and meeting the President at the White House years later.

My life felt like that last scene in my favorite movie Rudy. And I wanted the feeling of being carried off the field. “Salley! Salley! Salley!”

If A is for Affirmation and C is for Cancer – then P is for Performance.

I got used to the conversation being about me. And when it wasn’t, I would make a cancer joke to shift the conversation back to me. I got good grades. Was good at sports. Was well liked by friends, girls, coaches, and teachers.

I got good at being on stage. At some point I loved it. At others, I hated it. It some ways affirmation, or being the center of attention, was another drug in system. One I knew how to administer myself. And I’ve had hundred of drugs in my life. Ones that make you feel sick – ones that make you feel better. The constipating kind – the nauseating kind. Some that make you feel high – some that make you feel depressed.

Having cancer elevated me to popular status. I was the cancer kid that showed great faith in the face of adversity. It’s a funny thing. Affirmation is like a double edged sword. Please don’t get me wrong. We need affirmation it. It’s healthy. It’s a good thing to have your parents show love and affection and affirm you.

But when I seek affirmation of man over the Lord, I end up doing some weird things to be well liked. Which then can play out in fear of man. Like performing.

I realize I’m using some churchy words here. “Fear of man.” What do I mean by that? Thanks for asking. I’m not talking about being afraid of man per se’. I’m talking about being afraid of not being well liked by man. That my reputation of being popular is based on the number of hits I receive on my World Race blog.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ (Gal 1:10).”

So here we are. Month 4. Kenya.

I’m doing it again.

One thought on “Chapter 18 – A is for Affirmation. C is for Cancer. P is for Performance.

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