by Marquisha Harden

Everyone needs to rely on someone to some extent. Before we were born, we relied on our mother to nurture us in her womb, to take care of herself so that we would have the opportunity at life. Children rely on their caretakers to answer their million “why questions”. Teenagers often believed they have all the answers to life, but rely on their parents to steer them in right direction as they enter adulthood. And the need for nurture and attention continues in every stage of life. The type of attention received during the early stages of life often determines how adults reciprocate attention. Some women have expressed their need to give and receive attention in an unhealthy manner.

Women need attention. We need someone to recognize our accomplishments, complement our new look, encourage our dreams, listen to our daily news flashes, love us at our best and worse; the list could go on. Unfortunately, we don’t always realize our need for attention robs us of developing healthy relationships because we are focused on the praise. As a result, we sometimes compromise who we are to receive attention from anyone. We become promiscuous, wear revealing clothes, point out faults in others, or behave obnoxiously. We may even become overachievers to appeal to others, regardless if it’s God’s will or not. We choose to market, or accentuate “certain” body parts and personality traits to make ourselves noticeable, even if it’s for a moment. Some women have accepted unhealthy attention, from family, friends, or lovers, because they lacked healthy attention as a child, or in their current relationships. Some have yet to accept who they are and whose they are; if someone is handing out attention, they’re next in line to receive it (good or bad).

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the things he planned for us long ago.”

“Good” attention will push you towards your goals and purpose. It plants seeds to help you grow in areas other than your ego. It helps develop love for others. You won’t feel the need to be the center of attention. Others will naturally gravitate toward you because you are positive and loving. Good relationships help nurture your ministries; it also provides constructive criticism regarding your weaknesses. You’ll get busy nurturing others and God will send the right people to nurture you and give you healthy attention. It gives balance to your life so you can see yourself the way God sees you. However, if you allow the wrong people to uplift you, they may place you on a pedestal higher than you should be; it will make you lose your balance in other areas like praising and worshipping God. You’ll worship the praises they give you instead.

1 Peter 3:3-7, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” This scripture doesn’t mean you can’t dress nicely and care about your appearance; but realize your true beauty comes from within. And God is so wonderful because He tells you how to present yourselves to Him because he wants you to draw closer to HIM.

Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

“Bad” attention drains the best parts of you because you are constantly transforming yourself into the latest “it thing”. It masks your true essence and covers you with layers of other people’s opinions; people’s opinion of you will change. It’s like you’ve become a puppet waiting for the next person to tell you you’re beautiful, talented, or anointed. You start to join ministries because you are hoping the pastor or a fellow church member notices you. If they don’t, then you switch ministries still seeking praise to uplift yourself. While you’re busy seeking attention from others, you neglect your first command of loving and attending to the needs of others.

2 John 1:5, “And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have heard from the beginning: that we love one another.”

Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do right, seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”

You are the apple of God’s eye! Allow him to love, nurture, and attend to your every need. His thoughts about you won’t change regardless of your status, accomplishments, or failures. His love for you goes beyond anything you could ever measure against man’s opinion of you. You have to reaffirm who God has ordained you to be. Spend time away from others and get to know Him; He will reveal who you are to Him. Set standards and follow through with them. Reward yourself for your accomplishments and let that be enough. Enjoy being who you are without waiting for someone else’s approval. Better yet, enjoy being who God says you are because only His approval counts.

Deuteronomy 32:9 -10, “For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, and he kept him as the apple of His eye.”