Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tough Stuff Tuesday: Self Worth

Recently, I received a message on my tumblr account from a girl who said she needed some help. I went to her blog and found a post that itemized the struggles in her life. One major theme was self-worth. As I read her words, I felt like she was inside my own head. I nodded along with her as she described her home life, the emphasis she placed on friends, activities, and boyfriends. I saw in her words a glimpse of the person I used to be. I ached for the person writing those words.

That is why I think I need to address the issue of self-worth. It seems to be such a problem in today's society. Maybe it's the media telling girls that they aren't enough: thin enough, pretty enough, athletic enough, girly enough, stylish enough. Maybe it's parents telling their daughters they aren't smart enough or attractive enough--or place too much emphasis on physical beauty rather than spiritual beauty. Whatever or whoever it is, girls are getting the message that they aren't enough.

I was one of the girls that bought into it.

For me, I always had a hard time finding the balance between arrogance and self-worth. I wanted to steer clear of arrogance and pride (because I knew those things were sinful), so I went to the other extreme: I didn't think I was worthy of anything. I didn't deserve to have many friends. I didn't deserve to date someone who treated me well. After all, I was lucky they even wanted to be with me in the first place. If I thought that I deserved better than the way they treated me, wasn't that being arrogant? Wasn't that me thinking I was better than they were? I didn't want to be that way. So, I let myself get kicked to the ground time and time again.

My sophomore year in college changed a lot of things. At the beginning of the year, I was dating a boy who told me that other people didn't think I deserved to be with him--and that he mostly agreed. At the time, I didn't realize that I was groveling and begging him to stay with me. I didn't realize that I was clinging to him to define my own worth. I didn't realize I was letting a boy define me at all. But I was.

When we broke up, I was fortunate enough to have a group of amazing friends to lean on for support. One friend, who is now my amazing husband, spent a considerable amount of time consoling me and telling me that I deserved better. I just shook my head. He'd tell me again. I would tell him he was crazy. This little dance went on for months. It was so hard for me to accept that I was worthy of more.

For those of you who may be struggling to find some self-worth, let me tell you some of the things that my best friend told me. Without him, and without his wisdom and strength, I would probably be married to someone who talked down to me and treated me like he was better than I was. Fortunately, I listened to what my best friend had to say, and now I'm married to a man who loves God more than he loves me, and therefore treats me with love and respect.

1: You were created with worth (Jeremiah 1:5). Before we were formed, we were sanctified--set apart for a specific purpose. As Christians, God has set us apart from the world. Before we were even thought of, God had a plan to save us (and all sinners). You may not think you have worth, but even in the womb God knew you. The fact that the Creator of the universe knew you before you existed and STILL knows you makes you a big deal.

2: God loves you, individually (John 3:16). "God so loved the world"--do you think that's the planet earth? No, it's the people. God loves you, so much, that He sent Jesus to die for you, so that if you believe in Him, you can have everlasting life. When you don't think you're worth it, remind yourself that God Himself left heaven and became a man to die a cruel death for your sins. If Jesus thought you were worth the sacrifice, you are. End of story.

3: Living righteously makes us worthy (Colossians 1:10, Phil. 1:27, Eph. 4:1) When we are fruitful in good works and study and increase in knowledge of God, we are walking worthy of our Lord. The world may not see you as pretty or smart or great or amazing, but when you live a righteous, holy life, you are living a worthy life. Wouldn't you rather be deemed worthy by God than be deemed worthy by this sinful world's standards? When you live the Christian life faithfully, God calls you worthy. Accept it. Meditate on it. Believe it.

4: God doesn't see you as unworthy (Luke 15). We are all sinners. Even at our best, we do not deserve the sacrifice of Jesus. When we wander away from God, we realize this. We may say to God, as the prodigal did in Luke 15, "I am no longer worthy to be called your son". It doesn't matter. God restores us to sonship and gives us a crown and a robe and every blessing. Even though you aren't perfect and will never be perfect, God forgives your imperfections and accepts you into His family. What an honor and privilege to be in the family of God!

5: You may not be worthy, but He is (Revelation 4:11) None of us are worthy. That is why God is to be praised above all. While we were still ugly sinners, God gave us Jesus. Jesus' blood washes our unworthiness away. Coming into contact with Jesus changes every single thing about us. Contact with Jesus made the lame to walk, the blind to see, the dead to rise. Can it not make the unworthy, worthy?

2 Corinthians 6:18 says, "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty."

You are a daughter of the king. You can't tell me that doesn't scream worthy to you.

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