If you have read some of my recent posts you will notice that there are times when I have a feeling a low self worth. This is born out of a frustration of recognizing I am not the person I want to be – and at times a long way off from that.
I am not the first to feel this way. See what Paul says in Rom 7:21-25:
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[a] a slave to the law of sin.
I recognize the hand of the enemy at work during these moments because he wants to make me ineffective and, if he can, even destructive to the work of God. He does not hesitate to remind me of my failures and how unworthy I am. And of course, it is a half-truth. I do have many failures and I am unworthy of God’s mercy. But that is not the point is it? I often need to be reminded that I am covered in the blood of Jesus (through my belief) and therefore completely washed clean of my sin. God sees me “hidden in Christ”. He no longer sees the sin – it as though it is as far as the east is from the west. So that takes care of both my failures and unworthiness. Then add to that I am adopted into the family of God – I am a child of God. Chosen! Destined! Sent! I just need to humble myself and make myself available. But I also need to take on and accept that God really does love me! That He really does accept me as I am AND that He loves me so much that He wants to make me more like Himself. Wow! What a privilege.
It is so important that we are honest about our failures. If we hide them then we are pretending we don’t have any and other people will not be able to see the full work of salvation in our lives. My failures speak of my need for salvation. My faith then speaks of my trust in God, His love and His redeemed and refining purposes for my life.
However, that is not the point of this post! It is simply the reason why I started thinking about giving worth.
Where do we get our sense of self-worth from? When we speak of worth we speak of value. So, to put it another way, where do we get our sense of how much others value us and thus how much we might then value ourselves?
It’s an important question. It’s important because it should force us to be honest. Whose voice do we listen to the most?
How much do the people in school or college/university value me?
How much do the people in my team value me?
How much do the people in my work value me?
How much does my spouse value me?
How much do my family value me?
I have broken out these questions so that we might think through them one by one.
Because whenever we ask “how much does X value me?”, we are also asking, “and what can I do to increase that?”. We might not put it in to these precise words but I am sure that is what we so often do ask ourselves. It plays a great importance in our sense of self-worth. We might then need to consider, “what am I willing to do so that X will value (love) me more?”
The situations that caused me to have such a low self-esteem were those in which I may have humiliated myself in front of people who are important to me. I may also have inadvertently hurt them in some way. They are certainly not situations I am proud of. That then leads to my frustration in myself.
So how do I deal with this?
The answer lies in recognizing how much importance I place on what people think of me. I think you know where this is going, but before I get there, it’s really important that we don’t undervalue what people think of us either!
I need to place the most importance in what God thinks of me. This has to be my starting point. That does not mean I don’t value what others think of me, but it has to be put in perspective. And interestingly, my starting point for taking on what God thinks of me is not to ask that question but rather to give Him his worth!
I need to start with worshiping God. I can best worship God by recognizing who He is and what He is like. The bible tells so much of that but there are also great worship songs out there that do the same. I would also hope that being among God’s people in church does the same!
He is faithful, loving, kind, generous, swift to bless, slow to anger, almighty, powerful, sacrificial, full of peace, grace and mercy and ready to listen at any time.
He has also achieved so much that makes it possible for me to enter His presence. I need to give thanks for His sacrifice on the cross, the forgiveness of my sin, my adoption into His family and the destiny He places on my life.
And there is so much more!
God is ready to receive our “giving worth” (worship) at any time. He does not need it, but He does delight in it for in those moments we are closest to God the Father, part of His loving family. We can enter in to the most Holy place and know His acceptance and healing.
In worshiping God I remind myself of who He is. That changes everything. He then reminds me of how much value He has in me. His willingness to die on the cross so that we can be together is such a beautiful expression of love. See:
My sense of self-worth changes in these moments and I know that whatever I do it cannot be taken away.
In these same moments I can also confess my sins, ask for forgiveness and also then ask God how I can put it right. I do value what people think of me (the value they put in me). It is part of loving and respecting someone. I also value what they think of God as a result of what they think of me. So, therefore if I have wronged someone I need to try to put it right, and if they have wronged me then I need to forgive them and where possible let them know it does not get in the way of how much I value (love) them.
But my self-worth must not come from what people think of me. It must come from accepting and entering into what God thinks of me.
Finally, as well as giving worth to God, we need to find ways to give worth to each other. This is simply learning to honour people for who they are. Learning to look for the person God has made them to be and calling it out when we see it at work. When we bestow God’s identify on someone, we honour them. We can also do this through prophecy when God sees someone’s identify before we see any sign of it through what they do. In the same way that God calls Gideon a mighty warrior or Jesus calls Simon, Peter (the rock) before they have done anything to warrant that name, we too can open ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit to call out and honour someone with the name and destiny God has given them.