This past week I sat across from a high school girl, ridden with doubt, looked into her tear filled eyes, and told her she mattered.
I have a hunch (and I am pretty sure my hunch is correct) that all women struggle with issues of value and self-worth. A few days later, a friend and I were discussing this plague that seems to have paralyzed too many women, including ourselves, and I love what she said, “If we say we don’t struggle with it, we are either arrogant or lying.”
What is our worth?
Self-worth can be tricky because it can be the result of countless varying experiences, piled one on top of the other and interwoven into a conglomeration of yuck and mess that rears it’s ugly head in countless ways, disguising itself as fear, anger, apathy and timidity, all the while, digging its way deeper into the heart and mind of its victim. And for some reason, women are the majority of it’s victims.
From the onset, Scripture solidifies our worth in that humanity was created by God and in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). If the magnificence of the Creator is magnified to the highest degree and extent imaginable, as it should be, what can we say of that which comes from His hands and is fashioned after His likeness?
As believers, how do we address this without denying that God’s love for us is immeasurable, yet not toeing the line that can lead to pride and self-inflation (Galatians 6:3-4). Because, in fact, apart from Jesus, we are nothing and can do nothing (John 15:5). If we dangerously elevate ourselves, the object of God’s love, we make much of ourselves above God, which is completely inconsistent with our faith at its core. But if we fail to recognize ourselves as created by God, in his own image, than do we not belittle the Creator?
Where does it come from?
I love the illustration a friend imparted. As a full time counselor to youth and families, she often asks girls, “Where does your worth come from?” The most repetitive answer she receives is that worth comes from what family and/or friends might say. My friend then questions, “What about an orphan, who has no family or friends to define her value? Is that orphan worthless?” I can’t imagine many confirming that. So where does that orphan’s worth then proceed from? Without fail, God enters the equation. Our worth comes from our Creator. And what is it that God would say about us?
Isaiah 43:4 says, “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.”
Matt 10:29-31 says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Psalm 139:13-14, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted my together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
How do we maintain it?
I believe this is a continual and ongoing battle that we will face in one way or another until the cows come home (confession: I don’t really know what that expression means). However, I believe Scripture to be our number one tool in fighting the temptation to believe our worth is in anything other than Christ.
Words are powerful, and too often, we as women give authority to the voices in our lives and unfortunately, to lies that contradict God’s truth about us. We give power to the words of a parent whose approval we are desperate for. To a guy who has no idea the power his opinion of us holds. To a sibling, a friend, a mentor. The daily battle exists in giving that power solely to the one that created us, to the God that has redeemed us.
I’ve said it once, and I will say it again. We must continually remind ourselves, teach ourselves, and submit ourselves to the Gospel. Our perspective must be daily altered by it. To live in such a way that recognizes our worth only because of our Maker, and shifts our focus from self to something, someone, much greater. Something much more worthy of our lives and our worship than the plague of self-doubt. This is the Gospel. The good news that there’s something bigger than the sin of selfishness and pride, something bigger than our insecurity and our fear of the future. The God who has it all together and has made a way for life through the death and resurrection of Jesus. He has conquered on the cross the mess we have made and continue to make by misplacing our worth.
My encouragement to you is simply this. Today, when tempted to believe what simply isn’t true about you, that you are not good enough, that you are not smart enough or pretty enough, preach to yourself the truth that, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
Know that Christ in you gives you great and immeasurable worth, chiseling away the sin that jades us, and restoring us to what God intended, from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Let that shift your focus from you to Him. May this lead you to a life of worship and adoration, not to mention great joy and contentment in who you are. Recognize your worth, though you are undeserving of it, and think on the greatness of your Creator.