When I was growing up, I rarely cried. I could stay dry-eyed through a sad story, a funeral, or a dog movie, which earned me my family nickname, “The Rock,” years before Duane Johnson made that moniker famous. There was one thing that made me cry, though. Math. I remember tears dripping down on the pages of my algebra book, even as my accountant father tried to encourage me that I was smart and could do it.
As I reflect on the power my math homework had to make me cry when few other things could, I believe the root emotion I felt in those moments was unworthiness. My sense of value was linked to my competence. And when I felt incompetent, well, I cried.
Searching for worth
These days I’m far removed from mathematical woes, but other things can make me feel unworthy. A number on the scale. Not being invited or included by others. Social media posts celebrating the successes of others (successes I will likely never experience). While I’m competent in many things, it’s amazing how feelings of “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough” can so easily sneak in and take control.
I think it’s important to remember that human standards of worthiness mean nothing to God. He values us and cares for us apart from anything we can do. He cares for the sparrows who do nothing but exist as part of His creation (Luke 12:6-7). I have gotten a taste of God’s parent heart through my son Josiah. Though my son has special needs, my husband and I love him not a bit less for the things he can’t do. In fact, we find great joy in seeing his unique contributions to the world in just being himself. That’s how God feels about you and me. He loves us fully and values us simply as His treasured creations.
I was recently watching the movie “Encanto” and found myself relating to Mirabel’s older sister Luisa. Her gift is strength, and in her song, “Surface Pressure,” she talks about finding her worth in her special abilities. She contemplates what might happen if she makes mistakes or breaks under the pressure, finally asking, “Who am I if I don’t have what it takes?” That’s a question I ask myself too, sometimes subconsciously. Do I have what it takes? If not, what happens?
Putting down the burden
When I was a senior in college, I developed a debilitating autoimmune condition. Poor health forced me to drop out of all but the most basic things of life. I dragged myself to a few classes, but that was about it. In that season, I was stripped of many abilities that defined me. I had to just be. And do you know what I discovered? That was enough. Like those sparrows, I was still valuable to God. He cared for me deeply when I could do nothing for Him. I was worthy as His creation and made worthy for eternity through the blood of His Son.
I eventually healed and returned to my previous levels of productivity, but the question of my value had been settled in my heart. I was important not because of what I could do but because of the One who created me. The One who is truly worthy.
Revelation 4:11 reveals the true source of our value: “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” He is worthy and our worth comes from Him. When the world makes us feel less than or like we’re not cutting it, God’s Word tells us we are infinitely worthy because of Him. I am treasured not for what I can do but simply for who I am — the person God created me to be. I want to walk in that truth today, and I hope you will too.
Copyright 2022 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin. All Rights Reserved.