When we base our self-worth on the right things, our worth will not fluctuate up and down throughout the day, based upon our feelings, what others think or say, and what we do or do not do.
When my day is unfolding like a well creased map, chugging away accordingly as planned, I feel on top of the world and am pretty confident.
I guess you could say I would value my worth as towards the higher range. I’d even give myself a pay raise.
But then I have a day, or even a portion of a day, where potholes and detours are more prevalent than the minutes on a clock. Where I make mistakes, come face to face with my sins, am surrounded by disappointment and disapproval, and no one seems to have a good word or opinion of me.
My worth often takes a nosedive. Plummeting to fire sale lows where I would even be inclined to fire myself.
But is this how it should be?
Should our sense of worth be fluctuating up and down like a stock market commodity?
And what can we do about it?
Why our worth fluctuates so vastly.
Plain and simple. Our worth fluctuates because we are human.
It’s something we all experience. No one is immune.
If you don’t believe me, do this experiment. For a week, or better yet a month, ask yourself at 3:21 pm each day to rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 regarding your estimation of yourself.
This rating could be based upon the moment or even the whole day. Whether 1 is good or bad, it doesn’t matter, because our numbers will fluctuate. Sure, they may stay near a comfortable one-third area of the scale, but the point is, they will fluctuate. Take it long enough and there will be an outlier.
Why? Because we are human, and our natural inclination is to base our worth on physical, measurable things. (As if they are goals.) And why wouldn’t we? Others base our worth on these things, and we base the worth of others on these physical, measurable things.
Some of the things we base our worth on (and thereby also judge the worth of others):
- Feelings and emotions.
- Health, emotional and physical.
- Opinions and words of others. (Their view of us, real or perceived.)
- Opinions of our self. (How we view our self, real and perceived.)
- Stories we tell our self and our self-talk.
- Beliefs about our self, and beliefs others have about us.
- Past actions and deeds.
- Our perceived future.
- Accomplishments and performance.
- Our surroundings and place in society.
This is only a partial list, and already I am tired. Because this is a long list of things to try and control and get right on a regular basis.
No wonder our worth is swinging high and low like a stock market commodity in troubled times.
Multiple things influence our sense of worth.
We let others influence and dictate parts of our worth, and we influence and dictate parts. And these changes in our worth depends on the day and circumstance.
When our boss criticizes our report, we stayed up late working overtime on, our worth slides lower. Same with when our children are picketing in their bedroom for their rights. Our mate is frowning at us and shaking his head. Or our dog is glaring at us because his dinner is late, and he has had to tinkle for the last 42 minutes.
We take in their disapproval, disappointment, and critical words and feel ourselves get smaller. Our worth evaporates.
When our mate compliments us, our worth regains a high level. Same with when we receive praise for our outfit and smart new hairstyle. Our kids are hugging us and telling us we should be cloned. The cat comes and sits on our lap for no ulterior reason. And our boss unexpectedly praises us at a meeting.
We absorb their positive words and actions and feel good. Our worth expands. (At least for a while.)
Not only do we let others and our self dictate our worth, we look at our worth through the wrong lens. How many of us are striving for perfection? Something totally unattainable.
We are trying to orchestrate the perfect day. Be the perfect family. Be the perfect employee, neighbor, Christian, and friend. More striving after something we will never achieve or maintain.
What happens when we let others dictate our worth?
When we let others dictate our worth, we get stuck on a treadmill that goes faster and faster. We can’t relax. Because they determine the measure of our worth.
One critical word. One sideways look. One biting comment, and we work harder to please them. Harder and harder, turning our self into something we think they want. Erasing our true self in the process.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
We can stop trying to earn our worth. Yes, earn our worth based upon what others think, say, want, and how they evaluate us. And upon what we think, say, want, and how we evaluate our self.
Some of us are people pleasers, tying our worth more into what others think of us, and some of us are self- pleasers, binding our worth more into what we think of our self.
But both bring us unhappiness and cause our worth to swing up and down. Because it is based on conditional acceptance and love.
We don’t want our worth to fluctuate like a stock market commodity.
Up and down, depending on the day, the news, world events, natural disasters, or supply and demand.
Even if we think it should.
Or it feels normal.
There is a better way.
In God’s economy, we don’t determine our worth. Nor do other people. He determines it. (Which seems fair as he created us.)
This is opposite of how we function.
In the human economy we earn social likes, good grades, pursue a career, chase after our dreams, accomplish goals, and control as much as we can. It seems normal that we can also control our worth. That we can strive and accomplish our way to perfection and a high esteem of our self.
But it doesn’t work that way.
Partly, because we live in God’s upside-down world. Where he determines our worth and hands it to us as a fee gift to unwrap and just receive.
His worth for us is based upon unconditional acceptance and love. (It is not performance based like our human economy.)
With God, our worth is not based upon perfection and how close we got to it today. It is not based upon what we accomplish and how we perform. And he doesn’t take his frustration or anger out on us for our performance (like humans do to one another).
He doesn’t judge and evaluate our worth on what we as humans do and don’t do. On what he sees, our past, our circumstances, or any of the other silly things we as humans do.
He operates in love. Unconditional love.
He tells us we are beloved. Chosen. His daughters. Delightful. Redeemed. Renewed. Saved. Unconditionally loved. Not because of anything we have done (our performance), but because of what Jesus has done.
We don’t have to earn our worth, it is freely given to each and every one of us by our creator.
Think about a baby. It is valuable even though it cannot perform and give back.
But I am not a baby, you say. I can perform, accomplish, give back.
Yes, you can. Perform, accomplish, and give back to the glory of God. Perform, accomplish and give back in love to God and others.
But don’t perform, accomplish and give back to earn your worth. It is not how we earn our worth.
Our worth is not something we need to earn. It is a free gift. Something to receive.
God wants you to freely accept the gift of your worth and then give back by passing his love on the those around you. By freely loving him in return. Not to earn anything, or because you feel like you should, but freely love him out of gratitude and freedom.
The problem with free gifts and the lies they promote.
Free gifts can feel unfair. Icky. To over the top. Undeserved.
This is why we try and earn our worth. We don’t want to receive it as a free gift. That feels too cheap. To needy. To Lazy. So instead of accepting our worth as what God says it is, we try and earn it. In effect buying our worth.
When things don’t make sense, like our worth is a free gift, we start believing lies. (Lies that our enemy happily promotes and supports.)
- We adopt the lie that we need to earn our worth.
- The lie that our circumstances, day, accomplishments, and other’s opinions determine our worth.
- The lie, that our worth cannot be a free gift, because we don’t deserve something like that.
- The lie that we need the approval of others to feel worth and value.
- The lie that the words of others take precedence over God’s words.
- The lie that if someone criticizes us or tells us we have no worth, than it must be true.
And so, our worth continues to fluctuate as we try to earn it. And try we do. But our worth is not something we earn. Something we bestow upon our self. Something we talk our self into. Something that others can give to us.
Our worth will continue to fluctuate with highs and lows, refusing to stay more constant, unless we believe the truth. God’s truth.
Because truth sets us free. It smashes lies. It restores the balance.
The truth is we are beloved children of God, unconditionally loved, accepted, and redeemed by our creator. Our worth comes from Him, not how we feel, our circumstances, from others, or from our self.
The truth is that if someone says we are unworthy and not enough, they are lying. They don’t get to determine our worth. And them saying something does not make it true.
The truth is that our worth is NOT based upon what we do, but who we are. (What we do is much different from who we are.)
Can we accept God at his word and freely receive the gift of worth he is trying to give us?
Can we believe the truth that God loves us unconditionally and that our actions, day, circumstances, our opinions and other’s opinions, our mistakes, sins, and attitude have nothing to do with our worth? (Yes, they will affect our emotions, thoughts, and our behavior – all things we have control over. But they don’t affect our worth.)
Our worth never fluctuates with God. He never thinks more highly of us one day and less so the next.
Let him decide your worth.
Your worth has already been decided.
The good news is that God has already deemed us worthy. And is waiting for us to receive our free gift of worth he has waiting for us.
He doesn’t want us to earn it. Feel bad about the gift. Or be too bashful to accept it.
Unconditional love gives expecting and demanding nothing in return. It gives out of love and pure joy. It gives to help and heal.
When the giver is like that, there is nothing to fear. Nothing to pay back. Because it is given in freedom.
This is how we stop having our worth fluctuate like a stock market commodity.
We accept the gift and stop believing the lies.
On those days I feel unworthy and lower than a tire tread in squishy mud. Times where I feel small, unworthy, and doubt myself and my place. When I fall back into believing the lie of earning my worth and feel like today’s top stock loser, there is something to do.
When that happens, I remind myself of the truth.
And you can to.
The truth: I am a beloved child of God, unconditionally loved, accepted, and redeemed by my creator. My worth comes from Him, not how I feel, my circumstances, from others, or from myself.
Say it again. And again. And again.
The truth will again set you free.
Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.
Join the discussion: What is influencing your worth?
May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faith), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), Anita Ojeda (#inspirememonday), InstaEncouagements ((IE Link-Up), and Mary Geison (#tellhisstory).
Every time I look at this picture, I think the flower is sticking it’s tongue out at me. What do you think?