This is so apt in my life right now. I was thinking the other day about how much affirmation I get at the church "good sermon", "great prayer", "but we need you to preach". I get a lot of affirmation in this current community and have had a good bit of healing from last year's trials. I was also thinking how most other folks probably don't get as much affirmation at their job as I do at mine. And then I figured maybe God calls those who need a little extra boost of self-esteem.
I have also had my fair share of complaints--people threatening to leave the church, people leaving the church, and people just plain mad. I don't do well when people are upset. I am one of those OH people Andy describes. It doesn't matter if everyone in church LOVED the sermon, if one calls to complain, that's the one I worry about and that's the comment that carries over into next week.
A year or two ago my dad (who is always very affirming) decided he was going to try and not affirm me as much so that I could try and hear my affirmations coming from God and not worry about what my dad thought, but worry about what my Father thought. To be quite honest, I was not a fan of his grand plan. I like affirmations. My mom is huge on affirmations and I kinda got accustomed to being told how wonderful I am rather than all the things I do wrong and will never get right. And, let's be honest, how often do I (audibly) hear God's voice telling me I rock?!!?
I am not sure my dad's experiment changed me too much, but it did at least raise my consciousness about where I was seeking approval. Lately I have seen fruits, blessings, and good things coming out of the ministry here and I believe those to be God's signs that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing that "she who has been faithful in a little will be given more with which to be faithful". I see where being faithful with a little allows space for more and am trying to faithful with that too. And really, those are probably God's affirmations of the work we are doing here at Wesley.
None of that changes the fact that I am an NAR, but maybe it lessens it to a degree.