Hand in hand with knowing God’s unconditional love and acceptance is believing you have worth or value. This means we have merit, significance, attraction, importance and meaning. We all have value. The difference is who and how it is defined or determined.
Value is determined by something or someone
This old fashion balance scale is a good illustration of how our “value” is determined. Its parts include a fulcrum, a beam that balances on it, two pans at the ends of the beam to hold the materials to be weighed, and counter-balancing weights. When the two pans were level then the weight of material was determined. The scales would tip up or down based upon weighed material, either more or less.
Society, culture, family or personal expectations place a predetermined “weight” on one side of our value scale. It could be based upon education, career, achievements, success, fame, fortune, skill, contributions, accomplishments, athleticism or intellect.
Our value is constantly measured against predetermined weights. It’s great when the scales tip in our favor and we’ve exceeded the predetermined weight. But how long will that last? Careers can change. Achievements, success, fame and are diminished when the bigger, better, faster thing appears.
Fortune and money can disappear in a matter of weeks as seen in the Great Depression. It was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The depression originated in the U.S., after the fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929, and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday). The Great Depression had devastating effects in countries rich and poor. Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, while international trade plunged by more than 50%. Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25%, and in some countries rose as high as 33%. Many determined they were “worthless” and took their own lives.
Roller coaster ride
I understand the roller coaster ride of having my value determined by an external measure. My family based a lot of value upon education, success, achievement, intellect, where we lived and the car we drove. Coupled with my need for approval, this roller coaster was one of performance, fear of failure and striving for approval.
We are so quick to measure value when we compare ourselves other people. Do I have more value because I’m a Masters degree then the homeless man on the street? Is my value less because I drive a Honda and not a Mercedes-Benz? Am I worth more on payday when there is money in the bank? Has my value lessened because I am in between paychecks? Am I more valuable because I live here United States than those who live in Third World countries?
Before our life coaching session, Elisa was very insecure about her value. She thought that producers, directors actors, and actresses all had more value because they are important or famous. This translated into being “starstruck” in the presence. What I mean by that is when she was in the presence of these people, she was afraid of rejection, felt that she needed to esteem and idolize them and put them on a pedestal. The comparison between her and them was heightened because of her insecurity. The more famous they were the less value she had. This comparison of values was not just the people in Hollywood, with anyone who she perceived to be bigger, greater, stronger, or better.
In our sessions, as we addressed the fears of rejection and failure, I pointed out to her that she had just as much right to be in the same room as a producer, or director because of the value that God has assigned to her because of Jesus. Now, when she walks into a room of Hollywood “bigwigs”, She feels a sense of equality in value and worth. I told her if the president United States was in this room we would honor him but before the Lord, we all have the same value. His title and position merits honor and respect but will never determine his value.
Because of the incredible sacrifice and preciousness of Jesus’ death and resurrection, God now looks at born again believers through Jesus. He doesn’t see or judge our external value. The eternal value we have is determined by who lives in us, not our residents, car, education or achievements.
What defines your worth? (Circle the ones that apply)
- Designer clothes
- Expensive vacations
Who defines your worth? (Circle the ones that apply)