Hi, friends! I hope you’ve had a joy and peace-filled week! As we head into another weekend jam-packed with soccer games and basketball games and swimming lessons and birthday parties and play dates and volunteer work and church activities and grocery shopping and shoe shopping and movie dates and family dinners and homework projects and house cleaning and springing forward and…whew…,I hope this Faith-Full Friday Devotional Experience gives you a jolt of Hallelujah to get you to Monday.
Towards the end of my Monday Mayhem “You’re Worth Even More Than ____ , I ask, “Did you know that even if you were the only person in the world, you would still be worth even more than _____ to the only One who actually gives you worth in the first place?”
This question reveals two important truths: 1) you are invaluable to God; and 2) God is the only one who can actually give you worth. (Romans 5:8, NIV)
So our worth comes from God, and nothing else is worthier than we are. Check. Got it. Easy peasy, right?
Reality Check: When I began the process of recovery (again with Celebrate Recovery ), and I shone a light on my past, I clearly saw that I had lived my entire life in search of someone else who could give me the worth I so desperately craved and needed.
I’m sure my worth issues began around my birth, and they are certainly tied to some of my family dysfunction, but I’m going to jump into my late teens to the very first time I fell hopelessly in love.
Oh my….He had the bluest eyes and a lightly freckled-face. He kept his brown hair shorter on the sides with a slight spike on the top. He wore faded Levi’s and worn cowboy boots and sometimes a dirt-stained baseball cap turned backwards. And he could sang, not sing, friends, sang, some of the longing-est country music songs ever written (Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl” anyone?).
And…I. Loved. Him. With a heart-sick-when-we’re-not-together-kind-of-love. He “invade[d] my soul.” [Say Anything (“You invade my soul”).].
And he adored me. He adored me so much that when I tried to break up with him, he so brutally beat his forehead with his fists that he gave himself a concussion. He could not live without me he said, and besides, no one would ever love me the way he did. So I told him I was “just kidding,” and our relationship weathered on for close to 6 years when I don’t count the frequent break-ups.
That relationship finally ended, and I felt even more worthless than when the relationship began, but that was okay, because I didn’t break up with him for good until I had another tall, dark, and handsome just waiting to fill his boots and fill me with worth. This one would be different….
These few short paragraphs pretty much sum up a good 12+ years of my life, I’m afraid. I hurdled from relationship to relationship, trying to find someone to make me feel worthy of…I don’t even know…living? I was absolutely convinced that the answer to my lack of worth lie in a man who would love me with the same intense passion Noah loved Allie in Nicholas Sparks’s The Notebook.
Really, friends, I’ve used many things throughout my life to try to fill me with worth, but I’ve focused on my relationships for this devotion because of a vivid memory.
One late night when I was in college, I crumbled to the floor in the hallway between my room and my roommate’s after having been in yet another fight with my then-boyfriend whom I had just discovered had cheated on me again. I rocked back and forth with my knees pulled to my chest, breaking. In a brief and rare moment of vulnerability, into my knees I yelled, “I just want someone to love me!”
Honestly, I often roll my eyes in impatience and annoyance with that once-me-girl. How foolish and dramatic she was! What bad choices she made!
Yet that foolishness, that young drama, those bad choices, produced wounds and scars and messes galore that I lugged with me for a couple of decades. Decades, friends.
You see, I spent years trying to make my life into Say Anything (Does anyone even have a boombox to play Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” on anymore?), or Sixteen Candles (Doesn’t Mr. Popular always end up with an I-didn’t-even-know-you-existed-underclassman?), or Titanic (Forbidden love is the most romantic love, yes?).
And although I did finally stop hopping around and marry a pretty remarkable fella, fairly recently, I still tied my worth to my husband’s love for me. My focus simply changed from finding (and keeping) a man to wanting and needing my forever man to love me in a way (my way, but that’s for another Faith-Full Friday Experience) so that I actually felt loved and worthy….
And do you know what’s crazier than all the crazy I’ve mentioned here, friends? All along, He was waiting right there. Just waiting. Patiently waiting for that foolish, wounded girl to see that He had already made her worthy because she was His and Jesus died for her: “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…” (2 Timothy 1:9).
People can make you feel worthless, friends, but they can’t make you worthy.
And maybe you’re not or have never tried to use people to feel worthy. Maybe you need to replace “people” with other things our society says gives us worth and value: our outward appearance, our intelligence, our educational degree(s), our occupation, our wealth, our possessions.
Living life like your worth comes from God and not from what movies, magazines, newspapers, television shows, even friends and family, etc. would have you believe is HARD.
Finally knowing that God gave me worth when He created me and that I have worth because He loves me and he chose me and He sent His son to die for me (Ephesians 2:10, NIV) has been life-giving, but it has not come easy. In fact, when I first started in recovery I had no idea how unworthy (undeserving) and worthless (invaluable) I felt.
Really, how could anyone, even God, love a wretched, broken sinner like me? The ungrateful girl who chose so many others over Him? The girl who forsook Him time and time again?
I have fought to believe God’s truth, friends. (See the entire Bible). I waged holy war on the lies society has told me about my worth. I waged holy war on my own thoughts and feelings that I’m too broken to be worthy and saved.
I have desperately clung to God as if a tornado rages so closely, it may take me into its funnel and tear me away to a place that’s not in Kansas anymore. I have read His word where therein lies my truth over and over again. And I use those words, His words, to blast away any of those ungodly thoughts that threaten to lead me back to the insanity of my previous life because when there is no fight left in me, there is always plenty of fight in Him; in fact, He fights for me, friends. He always has.
Will you fight for you, too, because you’re worth even more than _____?
Remember, he’ll fight for you, too. He always has.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, NIV).
Pray with me, friends.
Thank You for sending Your son Jesus to show us our worth. Thank You for fighting for us when we can’t even fight for ourselves. I pray that my friends reading this know or come to know how invaluable they are. I pray they cling to Your truth as if their lives depend on it. I pray that they will be filled with worth and “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard [their] hearts and [their] minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NIV).
In Jesus’s Name,
For more inspiration and encouragement, take a listen to a sermon by Pastor Scooter Murphy, the Student Pastor at Temple, called “Worth It.” It’s a 2-part series that is sure to get you ready for battle! (Part I and Part II)
Thank you for joining me again, friends. Jamie will continue our WORTH series on our upcoming Monday Mayhem.
Let’s worship! You are “Priceless.”
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.