We all want to be enough, so we use different measuring sticks to determine our self-worth. We yearn to be worthy, but don’t know how to get there. In this article, Theresa Boedeker reminds us that our worth comes from God. It is a free gift that will change the way we see ourselves, others, and God.
Sometimes we value the wrong things.
Especially when it comes to people and measuring their worth.
We may place more value on work than we do people. Or value rules and laws over people. Or we may bully and ignore those who we see as beneath us and over value those who attain certain successful standards.
The religious leaders were like this. They valued something different than Jesus did. Many of their complaints to Jesus were about how he was valuing the wrong people. He was not valuing who they thought he should.
But Jesus was different from them and valued people. Old and young. Rich and poor. No one was outside his circle of concern.
He valued people, not for what they could do for him, but because of what he could do for them.
He valued people not because they could further his ministry and life goals, but because they were his ministry and life goal.
He valued people because they were his special creation. He intimately knew each one and came to free them.
People were not a steppingstone to him, a number, or a project, they were the reason that years before he had separated the light from dark and the ocean from land and brought a beautiful world into existence.
Measuring our self-worth is a trap.
What God values never changes. It is the same today and tomorrow.
But from a physical viewpoint, worth changes and is a fickle thing.
What we as humans value, changes day to day. Just look at the many ways we determine our worth or the worth of others.
We humans have many measuring sticks or ways of determining our worth.
1. I said so – my declarations about me.
I can also say I am valuable, but others can argue with that statement and treat me differently then I want to be treated.
2. Performance – what I do.
If I get all A’s at school, does that make me more worthy than the person who gets D’s? And what happens when I slow down and cannot perform as long and as hard as I was able to? Or what happens if I get injured and can do nothing? Does my worth plummet to new lows? Who gets to decide how much and how high I should perform?
3. Appearance – how I look.
If my worth comes from appearance, that means at certain times of life my worth will be higher, but as I age it will dimmish. Also, who gets to determine what looks are most prized? If worth is based on appearance, then many of us will never meet the strict standards and be worthy.
4. Belongings – what I have acquired.
Does the money I obtain, the valuable art I acquire, the bigger house I live in make me more valuable? How much must I acquire?
5. Power – position and influence on others.
Is an influencer with millions of followers more important than a person with no likes? Is a doctor more valuable than a daycare worker? Does the level of power we attain within the family, church, work, clubs and government determine our worth?
6. The opinions of others – declarations of others.
If enough people say I am valuable, perhaps that makes me worthy. But then how do I get their good opinions? And with the cancel culture and my fickle opinion changing day to day, what effect does that have on my worth?
7. Perfection – being enough.
Maybe our worth comes from us being enough. Rising to a level of almost perfection. Where we are enough, do enough, never slip up and are able to keep all the balls in the air like a beautiful symphony. Few can actually reach and keep these high standards of perfection. What happens when we tire and drop a ball, or three? Are we then discarded into the “not worthy,” “has been,” or “never will be enough again” pile?
8. Keeping the rules – doing things right.
Do we believe we have to keep all the rules and do things the one right way before we are worthy? This kind of thinking permeates and develops the “them” and “us” mentality. Who makes the rules and decides which way things must be done? How do we know if it really is the best way? And if the rules happen to change, does our worth plumet to next to nothing?
Where our value is really found.
We may laugh and even cringe at some of these measuring sticks we as humans use to determine our worth and the worth of those around us. But if we are honest, we use some of these measuring sticks on ourselves and others.
Many of us live like these things determine our worth and value. We perform and then perform some more. We try to rise in power and in the esteem and opinion of others. We focus on our appearance, say we are valuable, and strive to be perfect.
We are caught on the treadmill of not enough. Of trying to measure up.
We look for our worth from others, from ourselves, from trying over and over to be and do enough, when all we need to do is look up. All the way up to God.
He created us. He calls us beloved. A treasure. He says we have worth. He has action to back up his words. Not once has he stopped loving and being concerned for us, the human race. He sees our strengths, weaknesses, good points, sins, and flaws, and still he runs to greet us when we come to him.
He offers multiple good gifts, rescues us from ourselves and removes our sin, gives us every solution to our problems, promises us an extravagant future life, and still, we doubt him. Look to others and ask them to say we are enough.
The treadmill of not being enough is exhausting, but it is hard to jump off and really believe we are valuable because God created us and says we are. It seems too simple. It seems like we are left with nothing to do, nothing to work for.
But that’s wrong. We have a part to play. We have to believe God. Trust him. And live like we are valuable, like we no longer need to measure ourselves and others.
Sometimes it is harder to believe the truth, than it is to release our hold on a lie.
We are afraid to look God’s love in the face. Afraid it will require too much of us. Afraid it is not real and will disappoint. Afraid to believe it could be true of us.
And yet everything God says is true. He keeps his promises. Pursues us. Sent his son to rescue us.
Still, we doubt. We look in the mirror and wonder if we have worth.
Quit looking at yourself. Stop looking at other people. Quit trying harder. Stop trying to gain power, follow the rules, and be perfect. Stop comparing yourself to others and judging who is most important.
Just climb into your father’s lap and let him hug you. Rest in his love. Enjoy his love. Believe the truths he says about you. Because it brings freedom from striving and trying to be enough.
It will allow you to love others, yourself, and God in ways you never have before.
He truly loves you just as you are.
Stop doubting your worth? It’s already been decided.
Until we believe this fundamental truth of God’s great love for us, we will be trying to win people’s favor, our own favor, and God’s favor. We will be trying to earn God’s grace, instead of just accepting his lavish gifts of grace, love, and sacrifice.
We have a choice. To believe God, or choose to use our own measuring stick, and submit to the measuring stick of others.
Problem is that the readings will never say we are enough. So, we will keep trying harder.
What will you choose? To jump off the treadmill of measurements or stay on?
If you jump, though, it won’t be easy. But then neither is staying on the treadmill. People will still judge you using their preferred yardsticks, and you will still judge yourself sometimes. But always, you can remember your true worth and return to freedom.
It’s not a once and done thing. It will start out daily, maybe more, of reminding yourself of God’s truth about you. Choosing not to get sucked into what others say about you. Choosing to listen to God’s opinion.
As you live like God’s free child, the idea that you are worthy because of what Jesus did for you, will grow from an idea to a truth, and develop into a belief that will allow you to walk in freedom. No longer tethered to the measuring sticks we use with one another. And you will no longer be measuring others with human yardsticks.
When we know our worth comes from God, that his opinions and truth matter more than what we believe about ourselves, what others believe or say about us or how they treat us, we become free from the measuring-our-worth game. We quit striving to please people so much. Quit trying to make ourselves look good. Quit measuring ourselves against others. Quit being so judgmental.
We become free to please God and live in the path he is creating for us and be the person he is shaping us to be.
Remember you are bought and paid for, and loved more than you can imagine,
PS. Barbara Harper has a post that discusses earning our worth and trusting God for our worth. Check it out!
If you have trouble believing God loves you, this book may help. It helped me. The God-Shaped Heart: How Correctly Understanding God’s Love Transforms Us, by Timothy R. Jennings.
Join the discussion: The two measuring sticks I have used on myself are performance and other’s opinions, but perfection was my go-to when I was growing up. What measuring sticks do you use on yourself? And what measuring sticks did I forget?
May link up at Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), Anita Ojeda (#inspirememonday), InstaEncouagements ((IE Link-Up), and Jeanne Takenaka (#tellhisstory).
These red flowers look soft, but their petals are stiff and feel like wood shavings.
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Yvonne Chase says
The word of God and what he says about me is the measuring stick I use on myself and others because the reality is, I sincerely do not care about the other measuring sticks; education, appearance, money, etc. All are subject to change. Earlier this week I had this conversation with my dear friend as we talked about all the gross ways people in California measure their worth; buying cars they can’t afford, living in neighborhoods they can’t afford, plastic surgery, working out incessantly to keep their appearance. It’s nauseating! Grateful to know whose I am and what he says about it.
Yes, Yvonne, when we begin to see the measuring sticks as they are, silly, and meaningless, and see how they trap us and those around us, we can stop using them. God wants us looking at ourselves and others through his eyes. Doing so, changes our lives. We strive less and enjoy our self, others, and life more.
Barbara Harper says
Performance, perfection, keeping the rules were all measuring sticks for years. It’s such a joy to rest in the fact of His love and value of us rather than striving to try to make ourselves valuable.
These three measuring sticks seem to be ones many women I know struggle with. I wonder if they are the ones we gravitate towards.
Yes, Barbara. It is a joy to rest in his love and stop trying to measure up. And the funny thing is, if we live in the measuring stick mentality, we never measure up in our own eyes, so how can we think we will ever measure up in God’s eyes? So glad he does the work and sees us through eyes of love and not eyes of judging and condemnation. Realizing we will never be enough on our own merit, is a freeing concept and helps us relax and accept his love.
Lisa Blair says
I’m so thankful He gives us a pathway of escape from all the tempting paths of self-value you named. I’m so glad He frees us! “When we know our worth comes from God, that his opinions and truth matter more than what we believe about ourselves, what others believe or say about us or how they treat us, we become free.”
So well said, Lisa. It is funny, but comments from others can just roll off us when we are secure in whose opinion we are seeking. When we really know our worth comes from God, what does it matter that someone disagrees with me, or thinks something I am doing is wrong according to their rules, or if they view me as not being this or that enough, I am striving to please my Creator and what he says matters more.
Beautiful post, Theresa! Such a great reminder here of where to find our true worth. So much pressure from the world, culture and others can lead us down rabbit trails of performance, when the truth is found in only one place: I am who God says I am, and that is enough.
So many things can lead us down rabbit holes. Being secure in our worth is something most of us will struggle with for ever. It will get less of a struggle, but still the temptation to accept what someone says over what God says is there and easy to do. When this happens wr treat ourselves with kindness and remind ourselves of the truth again. Readjust our eyes upward. And keep going.
Lisa notes says
You’re so right, Theresa; we have all these measuring sticks we use to measure our self-worth. And none are accurate. I’m glad I am who God says I am, even when I don’t feel it or see it myself.
Lisa you are so right. Even if we don’t feel it or believe it, or see it in our self, does not make it so.
Karen Friday says
Hi Theresa, this is such a powerful post. I like how you noted that Jesus looked at the worth of people based on what He did for us. It’s such a stark contrast to how we often find self-worth and value. So glad I’m free to be me and find my worth in Christ.
Thanks Karen. Without Jesus doing the hard work for us and looking at us through what he did, we never would measure up, would we. So much to be thankful for.
Tammy Kennington says
What a wonderful post! I love this…”We look for our worth from others, from ourselves, from trying over and over to be and do enough, when all we need to do is look up.” Why is it so hard to remember the most important truths?
Thanks for linking up and sharing.
Tammy, it does seem simple, doesn’t it? But looking up is not our natural inclination. Trying harder and looking to ourselves is our first inclination. We must train ourselves to look up. Eventually we remember to look up more and more.