“NOT WORTHLESS!!” 3 Ways to Discovering Your Self-Worth Pt.2

Yesterday we explored three basic lies that many have convinced themselves are important in order have a sense of self-worth.  (See Pt. 1 Link Here)
(RECAP) These basic lies are –
#1 Self-worth is all about what you do (Employment/Career).
#2 Self-worth is all about how others see you (the People pleaser trap)
#3 Self-worth is all about being “happy” all the time.

Now onto the “good” stuff – Discovering true self-worth.
You can’t buy self-worth…at least not in the long term.
You can’t work capture self-worth by attaining your “dream job” either.
These things are temporary.

vaporOur Lives Are Like Vapor:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

Understand how temporal this all is.
I don’t mean to sound all “doom and gloom”, but this life is brief…we can make a difference in how we live by recognizing this one. small. truth.
We.  Are. Like. Vapor.   So…what are we going to do with this “vapor” of ours?

#1 Our true Self-Worth is found not in who we are but Whose we are!child
“And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” -2 Corinthians 6:18

Beyond anything that we can “do” in this world, the most vital argument for finding our true self-worth is tied up with Whose we really are.  Places of employment and careers are great things but they shouldn’t be the primary definer of who we really are.  From the very onset of creation God longed to fellowship with us.  He has made a way for this to happen even when we distorted our true identities with sin.  In a very real sense realizing Whose we are leads us to find our true self-worth in life.  This doesn’t mean that nothing else matters now in life, it just means that we re-align our perspectives in life allowing for this primal and vital identity to take first priority in our being, thereby releasing false images of self-worth while reclaiming this ancient, yet eternal truth – We are God’s creation, and we are called sons and daughters.

In moments when we feel the sting of rejection by others around us, let us remember that despite all of these things we are His -both first, last and everything in between.

cross#2 Our true Self-Worth is found not in our identity but in Christ’s!

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” -2 Corinthians 5:17

I hope you get the sense that all three of these “self-worth declarations”  are interconnected.
Once we can come to terms with the notion that we are children of God, we too must understand that our self-worth isn’t tied up in the old life prior to conversion.  Since Christ has conquered sin and death, we too can share in this eternal redemption story!  If we are Christ-followers, we too recognize that the old lives we used to live prior to our salvation story no longer dictate where our self-worth comes from.  Before this we followed the ingrained patterns, we indulged in selfish gain, we strive to climb the corporate ladder because that’s where true success and self-worth came from…But now, ah now we are no longer blind to these trappings.  It doesn’t mean that we have become better than others, it just means that we have begun to identify with the eternal Christ more than the temporal measures of self-worth.

Becoming crucified with Christ means that we have aligned ourselves with His love, His redemption, His purposes, His grace. We have allowed Christ to replace the lie with His truth within us.  This new creation (because of Christ) provides us with a deeper, more clearer sense of self-worth because it is divine and untarnished by our old sinful selves.

Within this identity shift, recognize too that we must be gentle on ourselves.  What do I mean by this?  Don’t denigrate and berate yourself when you slip and fall back into some of the old patterns.  These old habits are sometimes hard to break.  That doesn’t mean that Christ can’t miraculously redeem you from them, but many times we must strive to overcome them through His power…sometimes inch by inch and yard by yard.  Be gentle on yourself as you realign your self-worth with that of Christ’s.  Sometimes we can become our own worst enemy…If Christ believes in you, you too should find some encouragement and confidence to believe in this new creation that is “You”.

#3 Our true Self-Worth is found not in being served but through service! service
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…” 1 Peter 5:6

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…” Ephesians 4:2

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

Jesus washed His disciple’s feet.
He did this to display how vital humility and servanthood was.
Serving others because of our new identities in Christ is an outpouring of this new self-worth and purpose!
No longer are we tied to what others think of us.
No longer are we tied to a self-indulged lifestyle.
No longer are we tied to a selfish success oriented binge of climbing the corporate ladder.

Fame and fortune (which is temporal) take a back seat to the utter gravity of the Salvation Story.
We find our self-worth in serving others because we long to be like Christ in every way!
When we follow this path of servitude, we further execute our old ideals of self-worth while taking up far more significant and eternally impacting cause!  serve

Sometimes we assume that we have this humility thing all worked out, only to find that we still have miles to go in this journey. Be patient.  This is day by day.  Submitting to Christ completely can be will be difficult…But isn’t identifying with authentic worth…worth it?

So…
How is your own sense of self-worth today?
Has it been tied up with all the wrong things?
Mine has too.
This is a reminder for all of us.
This is a pondering of encouragement also.
Perhaps we can break these old lies of their power over us, and rediscover how God intended us to live all along.

Something more for us all to ponder today!
To God be the glory!

“NOT WORTHLESS!!” 3 Ways to Discovering Your Self-Worth (Pt. 1)

Self-worth:  Many people struggle with this issue in life.
Some people decide that they truly are worthless and in that moment they become full of self-loathing.
At the very least it is counterproductive, at its worst it is a pathway to self-destruction.

Questions:
How do we live this life and feel complete…satisfied?
How can we retain a measure of self-worth when we encounter discouragement?
Are we worth anything?
Do I matter?

These are very common questions that are thrown around.
Sometimes circumstances in life lead people to question their identities and self-worth.
Others grew up being told they were accidents, freaks, or simply that they were “good for nothing”.
NEWS FLASH: These are lies still being told today to people all around the world.

You may feel as if you are all alone in this.
You may feel as though you are truly worthless and if you were to simply “disappear” no one would care.
Please know that this IS A LIE that many tell themselves.

I do not want to delve too deeply into the realms of depression today, but I do want to say that these depths can be extremely dark and lonely and that it is perfectly normal to seek out professional help in the form of counseling!

let me further illustrate the lies that we buy into sometimes in our lives before I include just 3 ways to discovering self-worth again:

3 Lies About Self -Worth

workLie #1: Your self-worth is all about where you work and what you “DO”.
Perhaps if you had a better paying job you could afford nicer things and a nice home…
people always seem to associate self-worth exclusively with where they work and how much money they make.  Perhaps having more money might solve some issues in life, but when people place all of their identities into what they do they can discover that at the end of the day they still feel empty and unfulfilled.

NEWS FLASH: What you “DO” shouldn’t be who you are!
What I mean by that is this:  The Apostle Paul earned a living as a tent maker while serving as a missionary.  Tent maker wasn’t who he was, it was a means of supporting his purpose and calling in life.  Jobs may come and go, and often times we place so much power upon what we do that in the process we lose the “who we are”.  Our identity in self-worth is so much more than our place of employment.  Beyond this, if you are a person of faith and a Christ-follower, our self-worth is inexplicably tied to WHOSE we are and from that the calling He has placed upon our lives…but I will get to that later.

Lie #2: Your self-worth is all about how others see you – the “people-pleaser” people
We ought to make a distinction here, there is a big difference between accountability with peers and mentors and the need to constantly seek the approval of others.  Our self-worth should not be inexplicably linked to pleasing people.  When we connect our happiness with making everyone around us happy, we crash and burn.  Being a perpetual people pleaser might provide us some satisfaction and happiness at the onset, but eventually the shine wears off and we will find ourselves constantly running for that applause and approval while at the same time never reaching any personal goals or achievements.

This is where self-care comes in.  You cannot help others and be a source to others if you have nothing left in the “tank“.  There must be times when you step away and seek out selfishly (in a good way) those things that will restore your energies and confidence in yourself.  Jesus got away from His disciples from time to time.  He prayed to the Father.  I’m sure He reflected too.  I’m sure He also replenished His “tank” while in the process.  Don’t tie your self-worth exclusively up in the applause and approval of others.   Living as a people pleaser is an empty life and will only serve to wear you out both mentally and physically.   This “People Pleaser” mentality is a lie that will leave you feeling worthless and spent in an endless pursuit of utter insanity.

fakeLie #3: Your self-worth is all about being happy all of the time!
This last lie (and I know there are many more) attempts to force us to entertain the erroneous notion that all is not well if we are not happy all of the time.  If everything is not candy canes and lollipops something must be wrong.  In the Church this lie is sometimes perpetuated by people who think all Christians ought to be smiling and cheerful all of the time.  We even sing songs about being happy all the time.  The truth is we cannot be perpetually happy every moment of every day…and THAT’S OKAY!   Self-worth shouldn’t be about “am I happy all the time?”  Happiness is much different that being content.  Contentment doesn’t mean that you are constantly cheery and everyone thinks you shine like the sun.  Contentment means there is a peace within us.  It means that we have found a “sweet spot” in life and we live within that sweet spot.  It doesn’t mean there won’t be bad days.  It doesn’t mean that we won’t experience sadness either.  Being content is vital – being happy all of the time is not…it’s a lie.

Understandably we ought not look like the character Eeyore eithereeyoresad, where we’re just mopey and down every moment and we tend to bring other people down…But self worth is more than just experience happiness and smiling so much our jaws ache.

So-WhatSo where does our self-worth come from?
How can we recognize the lies being told about self-worth while striving for a genuine self-fulfilled life?
I am happy you asked.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s edition as we jump into the 3 ways that we discover this important characteristic in all of us.

Until then ponder these words:
It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.
-Abraham Lincoln.
-See you tomorrow!

Let Go of the Baggage – “Things that hold you back.”

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) 

When we as a family prepare to go on a vacation there are usually two types of people in our family.  Type One – the under-packer who just wants to be out the door and in the van in fifteen minutes or less and worry about what we didn’t bring with us later.           Type Two – The over-packer who wants to bring everything from our home along with us on the trip and takes twice as long to get ready to leave.  Also this type two person (who will not be named but I’m married to her) has to clean the house as if we were receiving an inspection from a military grade house inspector with white gloves and all.  

If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m the type one person who at times sits impatiently in the van honking the horn as the type-two person (again unnamed but I’m married to her) finishes cleaning the house until it shines and is sparkling clean.  

Truth be told, I am glad that my wife takes great care in our preparations and in the long run, as much as I hate to admit it, She is right.  

There’s another kind of baggage in life though

Sin can weigh us down. 

Make no mistake about it, the old life (before Christ) leads to death.  When we come to Jesus and we accept His gift of salvation we are made into new creations by His blood.  The old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)…but at times we still feel as if we have to keep lugging that baggage around with us.  It weighs us down, causes us difficulty and trouble and yet we still habitually burden ourselves with this unnecessary baggage.  

What is this baggage? 

1) It is the remnants of the old creation –

When Christ saved us, He did so completely yet we find it very difficult to let go of old habits and old sinful ways of living. The Holy Spirit prompts us to unclinch our white knuckled fists which are tightly holding onto these things that we needn’t any more to grasp. In times of trial and stress, these old remnants also rear their ugly heads to cause us strife and further temptation as well.  When we lose our focus on the forward prize of Holiness, which is the image of Christ alive in us, we face the old self again.  When this happens a flood of the old tendencies pours in and once again we find ourselves taking two or three steps backwards in our progress of Holiness. This baggage has been there all along festering and molding in a cold dark corner of our hearts and we’ve been reluctant, even rebellious in our lack of spiritual attempts to deal with it, so, instead we ignore it.    The Holy Spirit knows that this baggage does not belong in our new creation.  He is spurring us, even painfully at times, to let go of it.  Why do we still clutch it ever so tightly?  What good can ever come from its hold on us?  This baggage stands blatantly in our path of real, tangible Spiritual growth and yet we allow it to stunt us.  

Prayer – Dear Lord, allow me to see this baggage in my life today.  Show me that which still blocks my steps to full surrender.  Reveal to me the places that I have yet to let go of.  I do not want these burdens of the old creation to hinder my forward progress of reflecting You.  -Amen.

2) The Baggage can also be our guilt, shame and self-worth.

The old life also has a way of convincing us that we are not good enough to be like Christ.  It will try and convince us that we will never be good enough or smart enough to receive such a reward from God.  This has nothing to do with pride, in fact just the opposite.  When Christ redeems us, the wretched sinner, He does so completely.  When we commit our hearts to Him, He washes us clean.  This doesn’t mean that we won’t face temptation again or that we can not fall, but it does mean that His blood sacrifice can and will cover up our sinful old creations and wash them away.  Our part, within this free will, however, is that we must confront our old harmful choices that we have made.  This is the consequences of sin, we have to face it.  Sometimes in facing it we find ourselves so wrecked by it that we begin to doubt if Christ could truly love us because we have done so much wrong.  This remnant of the old baggage clings to us and tries to convince us of the lie that we are not worth His time and that, perhaps, we were never salvageable through His gift of salvation.  Don’t buy the life.  This isn’t about pride, but it’s about truth.  You matter to God!  He loves YOU!  He wants to remind you that you are His precious child and that you are a son or daughter of the Most High!  Don’t cling to this old baggage, which is a lie.  Let go of it, and embrace this truth of His saving grace – You are His and He would do it all over again if you had been the only human alive!  When you let go of this old baggage and recognize how much it has weighed you down you will begin to see how free you will feel.  

Let go, and find this burden lifted from you!  

Prayer – Dear Lord, remind me again of how much you love me.  Remind me when I struggle with my identity in You that I am worthy because of Your love.  Help to me see myself as You see me, and as I do help me to let go of my grip on this baggage of self-worth. Thank you for your love and for your hand upon my life, lift me up out of this pit of self-degradation and give me a passion to serve and love you with ever fiber of my being.  -Amen.

Get On With It!

 Letting go of the baggage that hinder us is only the first step, now we have to press on.  Jesus is our living example, and this world still needs His example lived out in Holy Christ-following people.  Shine so that others might see Him.  Live as the Holy Spirit leads you to live.  Get up and get on with this new creation…oh and leave your baggage behind!  

 

Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?

Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?

God specializes in things thought impossible

And He can do what no other power can do.

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