I have always had a problem with self-worth. Growing up I knew where my place was in my family (hint: it was pretty low in the food chain). I had several sisters who often told me how much they hated me, that no one would ever love me, and that I was fat, ugly, and awkward. I also knew I was never enough in my parents’ eyes either. My needs were often put aside for the needs of others and I knew I was not loved in the same manner as the others. In 2010 I would confront my mother about this and she would admit that yes, everything I felt was true… that she had deliberately put me and two of my other sisters aside because she knew that the others needed to feel accepted, wanted, and cherished. It was a devastating blow to actually hear that all those feelings were legitimate.
These feelings made a huge impact in my life. They have persisted even today. I wonder how I am worthy of love; I don’t think that I am enough; I have a hard time taking a compliment because I wonder how anyone can see any good in me. It’s a daily struggle that I don’t often talk about.
Thankfully there is hope in Jesus’ love and acceptance.
Chapter 7: The Third Question
I found this chapter to be very healing. It is a reminder that we are so much more than what we think we are. If someone were to ask us who we are we would list off a number of things- I am wife to Mike, mother to oodles of children, a writer, a Masters of Theology student, a board member of our pregnancy resource center, a Confirmation catechist, a volunteer, a Georgia Bulldogs fan, a Saint Leo Alumnus… the list could go on and on. But the answer that matters most in this world is that I am a child of God. For me, given how I felt growing up and taking into consideration my own mother’s admissions, this knowledge gives me both hope and peace.
I am worth something.
The words that stuck out to me in this chapter were “infinitely valuable” and “personal interest”. It is comforting to know that my worth doesn’t rely on my grades, if I win awards, if enough people like me, if I put together the best birthday parties for my kids, if I go on that mission trip, if I make the tastiest dinners, or if anyone reads my writings. No, my worth is totally independent of these things because God loves me simply because I am His. He is a Father who adores His daughter.
I needed to be reminded of that fact.
It was also good to be reminded that God has a personal interest in me. He is active in my life, even when I shut Him out. He wants to see me succeed and He nudges me in the right direction to do so. Unlike my childhood where my mother said, “I had to put you on the back burner. Your needs weren’t as important as the other girls. It was what it was,” God instead puts me up front. He is capable of putting every single one of us up front and tells us each (and means it!) that we are most important. He loves us so much that He wants to be included in every aspect of our lives.
Point to Ponder: No matter what happens, God loves you.
This point made me think about my oldest son. He has been through a lot in the last couple of years. It wasn’t until recently that we have been reunited. I told him that through it all we have loved him and missed him while he was away from us. It was a tremendous reminder of God’s love for all of us. If I can love my son so deeply and my heart break while he is away from me, how much more does God feel about us! His love for us is unimaginable. His heartache when we are away is so vast. No matter what we say or do, God loves us and this is comforting to know.
Verse to Live: “Am I now seeking human approval or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
This one hits me right between the eyes. So much of my life I have worried about what others things of me and I have tried to live my life to please them. Those diehard habits of childhood trying to win love from my parents have spilled over into my adult life. God’s approval is the only approval I really need. If I am living my life for Him then nothing else should matter.
Question to Consider: Do you value yourself anywhere near as much as Jesus values you?
Sadly my answer is no to this one. I can see the worth and value in others but it is still so difficult for me to see my own worth. It is a battle I have fought my entire life and that I am trying to conquer now. There are days that I do a little better, but to be honest, there are many days that I don’t.
Your Turn: Do you feel that God loves you? Do you look to others to help you find your worth? Do you feel like you are worthy of love? Do you love yourself as much as Christ loves you?
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself to me. Thank you for all you have done for me. Thank you for loving me even more than I love myself.
Lord, help me to see myself through your eyes. Help me to know that I am loved, that I am infinitely valuable, and that you have a personal interest in my life. Amen.