Friday, August 12, 2011

you’re WORTH it!

Our invited guest Florence MacKenzie wrote this article for managing your emotions, published in Just Between Us, Fall 2011.

While surfing the Internet recently, I came across a blog post that wanted to discover what issues women were most concerned about. Of the various topics mentioned, one seemed to dominate all the others. Self-worth!

It’s a fact that many women are in a constant battle with self-worth issues. These can range from thoughts of unfavorably comparing themselves with others to thinking they’re completely useless. If this describes you, you’re not alone. Many Christian women are living in defeat and not enjoying all God has for them because they place very little value on themselves. Perhaps negative events in their past have eroded any sense of self-worth they might have had. They blame themselves for any rejection they’ve experienced and believe that, if they could only perform better or please a particular person more, they could earn acceptance. My friend, Margi, was like this. She lived most of her life as if she had no right to be here. She once told me that she sometimes felt she should apologize for breathing! As the third child born to a single mom, Margi thought of herself as an inconvenient accident that wasn’t worth very much. Insensitive comments and judgmental remarks from others did nothing to alter her perception. One of the consequences of this was she frequently misappropriated responsibility to herself for any trouble that came into her life.

On the other hand, there are women who think their value or self-worth can be measured in terms of successes they’ve already achieved. In effect, they’re building their worth on their own accomplishments. I recently met a woman who used to do just that. She had struggled with self-worth issues for many years and, as a musician who headed up the worship team at women’s conferences, she linked her feelings of self-worth to how well she sang at each event. She couldn’t believe anyone could like her for who she was. Any appreciation they had for her must surely be because of her singing ability and it was on this that she based her value as a person. The trouble with this outlook was it caused her self-worth to fluctuate—when she sang well, she felt good about herself, but when she thought her performance was below par, she was filled with feelings of self-doubt. Not surprisingly, this yo-yo pattern of how she viewed herself played havoc with her peace of mind.

For these women, and for all Christians who struggle with issues of self-worth, there is good news. Our value is not determined by what we do, but is based on what God has done for us: He has rescued, redeemed and forgiven us (Col.1:13,14)! We are immensely valuable and precious to Him! Once we begin to appreciate what He thinks of us, we’ll be less likely to buy in to the inadequate perspective others might have of us or even our own faulty view of ourselves. God doesn’t look on the outward appearance, but on the heart. He doesn’t value us because of our successes or consider us worthless because of our failures. We are valuable because He made us and we belong to Him (Ps.100:3); He supervised our development in the womb and planned our days in advance (Ps.139:16); He tells us He cares even for the sparrow and Jesus reminds us we are worth more than many sparrows (Matt.10:31). And, to top it all, we are so valuable to Him that He thought we were worth dying for so we could know the freedom of His forgiveness and spend all eternity with Him in heaven. Can it get any better than this?

Do you ever doubt your value? Are you allowing what other people think of you, or even your own view of yourself, to eclipse God’s perspective of you? As followers of Jesus Christ, we ought to be more concerned about His view of us than anyone else’s view. He created us and, as someone once said, “God don’t make no junk!” Only when we grasp the amazing truth that our identity is found as new creations in Christ, will we be ready to hold our heads high, knowing we are daughters of the King.

Florence MacKenzie holds an honors degree in psychology and a Diploma in Expository Preaching. She is the author of several books, including Destructive Emotions: Facing Up to Guilt, Fear and Anger. She is a member of the preaching team at her home church and is married to James. Visit them at http://www.equippedforliving.org.

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