Bible Verse: 1 John 4:10
Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. (CEV)
We all have plans we make for our life. I had a plan too. A good plan!
I was going to become a nurse.
It sounds simple enough, right? It’s a great career choice and this world needs good nurses who care. I was going to help people, love on people, do my best to bring them joy and comfort as they came back to a place of good health. In college, I couldn’t get enough of my science, medicine and pharmacology classes; I enjoyed and found purpose in them. I studied hard, went to clinicals, and worked to pay my way through. And I was almost done! There wasn’t much left. Just a couple more classes and my nursing exam.
I remember the excitement; you know the kind. When something you have worked so hard for, and so long for, is about to be complete.
I was bringing something of worth to the world!
I was giving something of worth to myself!
But chronic illness was all it took to snatch that dream away from me and crush that beautifully accomplished feeling of self-worth. Nursing was out of the question. In a strange turn of events, I struggled to care for myself. Caring for someone else was out of the question.
Now I was the one in need of a nurse, a kind helping hand to help me heal. She would come three days a week to help me shower, eat and walk with assistance.
And then, with my Nursing career over before it started, I felt, there was nothing I could offer in return. I thought there was nothing I could do to add value to the lives of others.
I believed I had lost my ability to bring worth.
- Because I believed worth was derived from doing.
- I believed worth was purchased with accomplishments.
- I believed worth came from giving.
It was a belief that had never been challenged or questioned because I’d always been able to fulfill the requirements placed upon it. I’d always been able to do, accomplish, and give what that monster of a belief needed to be fed to remain silent and happy.
The world around me had shaped the very core of my identity, brainwashing me into believing that my value as a person was wrapped up in the same things it screamed to me were important:
- The world screamed that my value should be measured by the number in my bank account.
- The world demanded that my value be attained by the sweat of my brow.
- The world required that my value be proven by the approval of others.
And I found myself unable to provide all it asked of me.
It was exhausting and devastating. Even in the midst of realizing I could no longer give what I believed I should in order to prove just how worthwhile my life was to the world around me, that realization brought no comfort whatsoever.
And for a long time, I lived feeling a sense of worthlessness, even self-loathing.
If I could not add to the world, then I must be subtracting from it, draining it of all its energy and wasting its time.
But over the years, God began to question my beliefs, pointing me back to Himself, asking me to trust that my worth was not something to be earned or proven, but inherently given by Him. And I slowly began to realize that my worth could never be diminished or added to. It was something that could not be measured by the standards of this world. It had nothing to do with me or my accomplishments or what I had to give.
My worth had everything to do with who God is and what He had created me to be.
I began to read the Bible with fresh eyes. The truth is that when God created Adam and Eve, the parents of all humanity, He looked at them and called them good. They were enough. They were not lacking. They hadn’t lifted a finger. And God said that they were good. Not because of anything they’d done, but because of how He had made them. There worth, in his eyes, came not from what they would do in the future, but from what He had done for them.
Before they lifted a finger, God loved them.
Even when they chose to disobey and eat from the tree He had forbidden them, turning on him and on each other, He didn’t throw them out as worthless creatures. He never redefined their worth, never changed His opinion on whether they were worth having on the earth. He never questioned their value – the very same value He himself had assigned them. He never saw them as having subtracted from the world. In fact, He affirmed their worth.
When they lifted a finger to disobey, God loved them.
They deserved death. But He chose another way. He chose to die for them, and everyone else who wanted to be in relationship with Him. He chose to give them what they didn’t deserve: forgiveness and life. And He took upon himself what they did deserve: rejection and death.
He saw them as worth it!
God didn’t scream, he sacrificed himself so that humanity could be in relationship with him.
God didn’t demand, he demonstrated love by giving all he had, asking humanity to follow him.
God didn’t require any proof of worth, he requested humanity give him their hearts.
God defines my worth and there’s nothing I can do to change that.
On the days I accomplish great tasks, my worth does not increase.
On the days I accomplish nothing more than feeding myself, my worth does not decrease.
My worth cannot be determined or defined by what I do or how much I give. It is forever cemented in who God is and how he chose to create me. And I believe that when God created me he said the same thing as in the garden: you are enough!
Before I ever lifted a finger, before I ever spoke, before I even existed: God said I was so valuable that I was worth dying for. And he has no regrets. So, on the days when I question whether I’m adding worth to this world, worrying that I’m just a drain and an annoyance, I’ve learned to look back to the One who created me and ask him to remind me of how he sees me.
I encourage you to do the same. On the days you feel the same drain of self-worth: look back to your Creator. Pause. Breathe. And know that you are loved.
The world will scream that your value comes from your beauty, your clothing, your exercise routine, or a perfectly designed Instagram feed. It will demand that you prove your worth through your career, your house, and your bank account. It will require you gain a stamp of approval through your family, your friends, and your social media likes.
But none of those things bring you value. Only God can assign that. And he already has.
Stop striving. And just be.
Today’s Prayer: Dear Jesus, Thank you for the sacrifice you made on my behalf. Please help me remember that my worth can never be added to or diminished but is only found in you. Please remind me that you love me no matter what I do or fail to do, and you always see me as enough. In Jesus’ name, Amen.