In a world that wants to keep you consuming, there is a laundry list of things determined to mark your value just shy of perfection while simultaneously offering some kind of wonder product to help you reach your ultimate self worth. I bet you can hear the announcements, or even visualize the ads,
You’re one workout program away from your dreambody!
Just start using this beauty product and you’ll be a completely new person!
Invest with this bank and you will be worth so much more in the future!
We live in a society and culture that dangles their crafted idea of perfection in front of our noses all in hopes that we keep dishing out cash to them in a pursuit of more self value. It’s exhausting. But the problem is even deeper than a societal problem. It is rooted in the context of our families and friends, and even our own hearts. We want to be valued. We want to be worth something to someone, anyone. So the question becomes,
Where does your value come from, and is it a sustainable and sufficient source?
You can’t let other things determine your value. No stranger, partner, coworker, friend, or even family member should. No occupation or circumstance, good or bad, such as mental health issues, diseases/physical ailments, job titles, diplomas/certificates, or location should either. All these things are labels. You can let them sink deep and become a part of your identity, but ultimately, you must decide where your value comes from. A say this hesitantly, however, as our culture has absorbed this idea and corrupted it. I hear things like, “You, and only you, get to decide your value. It’s been twisted so that instead of you deciding where your value comes from it’s being pushed that you must cultivate your own value. This is the trap I see most people fall into nowadays, busting their butt and doing everything on their own power to create self worth. If your bar of peak self value is still the one crafted by society you will always fall short and still feel unsatisfied, and the whole thing becomes as draining as chasing external factors to determine your value. Our culture has shaped our heart to associate our “best self” with perfection, and as long as our heart views our self worth in this light we will be disappointed and weary. The truth is, you will never be able to produce enough self value and worth to fulfill that desire you feel.
But GOOD NEWS!
The way society is set up and how we find our value reminds me a lot of the overarching story of the bible but missing the main guy: Jesus. Most people outside the faith don’t realize this, but a big theme of most of the bible is that we just can’t live up to the bar of perfection that God has set. And just like our society we see this standard of perfection throughout the 10 commandments, the law, and most of the Old Testament, that God seems to be holding over us. But one of the main points of all this is to realize that we can’t do this on our own.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
And becoming conscious of our sins, really means understanding we don’t make the cut which is stated just a few verses past the previous one.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
But unlike our society, we aren’t left here. This isn’t the end of the story. Between Romans 3:20 and Romans 3:23 we read:
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
You see, God sets the bar of value high but through His grace He sent His son Jesus to bring that bar to us, so that we don’t have to run the rat race chasing perfection and wearing ourselves out. Now we can rest and finally look around us and enjoy the present. We can understand that by listening and following Jesus we don’t have the pressure of pursuing value or trying to cultivate it on our own. He helps us see that we don’t need to be perfect for God to want us. We just need to be humble enough to admit that we can’t do it on our own, and give up control. Where we fall short, Jesus makes up the difference.
So place your value in the hands of an all knowing and all loving God, who says you are His, you are loved, and that you are worth the price of His son’s life. He wouldn’t pay that price, and do all the work if He didn’t want you. When this kind of unearned value takes root in your heart it changes the way you live. Surround yourself with people who see you like God does, people who will remind you of your value when you yourself can’t see it. Pursue a passion and do work that serves as an avenue to tangibly create or express the value God has placed in you. The paradox is that in realizing you are broken, you become perfect in the eyes of the One who really counts. So continue to walk in humility and with a humble heart with Jesus, and He will lead you through a life full of potential and purpose, a life overflowing with a value we didn’t pay for, all while glorifying the One who did.