“You’re worth it.”
The statement came at the end of a commercial for make-up. Make-up. I rolled my eyes. The intensity of the statement didn’t seem to match the triviality of the product. (It actually turns out there’s a whole story behind how L’Oreal came up with the slogan in 1973 and its connections to feminism and the human psyche.)
In recent years, the message of “you’re worth it” has become prevalent in advocating all kinds of experiences and products — posh vacations, luxury cars and weight-loss programs, just to name a few. The message is appealing. Similar messages like, “You’re not getting what you deserve,” can get us fired up (and ready to buy) in half a second.
I’ve certainly fallen prey to the “I’m worth it” message, usually in the area of overindulgence. I buy the pair of shoes I can’t afford, thinking, I’ve worked hard. I deserve them. Or I treat myself to the indulgent, unhealthy dessert, reasoning, I’ve had a hard day, and I earned this.
Defending my worth can be a compelling justification to do or buy just about anything.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, I’m sure we’ll be hearing more “you’re worth it” messages than usual. Which begs the question: Why is our own value so dear to us? In one sense, the phrase “I’m worth it” is good. It denotes self-esteem and recognition of my inherent value as a human being — something that is affirmed many times in Scripture:
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. — Psalm 139:13-14
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? — Matthew 6:25-26
For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. — 1 Corinthians 6:20
I think where the “I’m worth it” message becomes a problem is when it’s the lie I believe instead of God’s truth. Consider Eve in the Garden of Eden. Essentially, Satan convinces her that she’s worth more — she deserves more than God has given her. Instead of recognizing her true value as a human created and loved by God, she reaches out to take what she wants, because she believes she’s worth it.
Taken farther, this mentality morphs into rationalizations like, I’ve waited long enough for sex, I deserve to have sex with my boyfriend. Or, I’m a good person, it doesn’t hurt anybody if I’m dishonest on my taxes. When “I’m worth it” contradicts what God desires for His beloved creation, the message becomes destructive instead of life-giving.
Never confuse your true value with the lie that you deserve more than God has given. You are worth it. You were worth Jesus dying on the cross and rising again to bring you to God and offer you a life beyond what you can imagine — and that’s more than enough to satisfy every longing in your heart.