Self Worth for the Christian: The ups and downs of it can make you sick -- unless you know the truth By Debra Torres
It was a perfect night for baseball, but you wouldn’t have known it by the look on the pitcher’s face.
The team they were facing was undefeated, and that only added to his list of troubles.
“These guys know all my pitches,” he told his coach, “I walked too many the last time we played them.”
Knowing all the correct motivational words, his coach sized up the situation and decided to approach it from a different angle – a spiritual one.
And their conversation went something like this:
“You know, whether you do well or poorly out there doesn’t determine your worth or value as a person, right?” he said.
Starting his “pep talk” this way, the coach knew he was taking a risk. He was supposed to stick with the program, after all. He knew that, but he also knew one more thing -- when God opens a door, you’d better walk on through it.
“All that matters,” he told the pitcher, "is who God says you are.”
Something happened to the pitcher then. Something that even surprised the coach. Because with that truth in mind, the pitcher’s countenance had a complete overhaul.
His eyes lit up.
And … he even giggled.
The coach later described the pitcher as giddy as he went out and pitched a great game.
Funny how life works isn’t it? It’s all a matter of perspective.
Too many times we, just like that pitcher, look at what other people think about our performance to determine our self worth.
My pastor warned about this in church last Sunday, saying: When someone gives us a compliment we’re sky-high. Then, he hung his head and scrunched down, and said that just as easily, when someone criticizes us -- we’re brought low.
I know I’ve allowed my thoughts about myself to go on that same roller coaster.
Haven’t you? It’s a crazy ride of ups and downs that leaves us exhausted and defeated, just like our pitcher.
Good thing we serve a God who is constant in his love for us. And he doesn’t love us more when we do well or less when we do poorly.
In his book, “The Search For Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes,” Robert S. McGee writes about how we tend to look to others for our self worth.
McGee sites Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ,” and says this:
“According to this passage, we can ultimately seek either the approval of men or the approval of God as the basis of our self-worth.
"We cannot seek both. God wants to be the Lord of our lives, and He is unwilling to share that rightful lordship with anyone else. Therefore, the only way we can overcome the fear of rejection is to value the constant approval of God over the conditional approval of people.”
Should we then ignore what others think of us?
I don’t think so. Striving to be the best at what we do is important – it just shouldn’t be the driving force of why we do what we do.
McGee says this, “So then, our worth lies in the fact that Christ’s blood has paid for our sins; therefore, we are reconciled to God. We are accepted on that basis alone, but does this great truth indicate that we don’t need other people in our lives? On the contrary.
"God very often uses other believers to demonstrate His love and acceptance of us. The strength, comfort, encouragement, and love of Christians toward one another are visible expressions of God’s love. However, our acceptance and worth are not dependent on others’ acceptance of us, even if they are fellow believers!
"Whether they accept us or not, we are still deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and complete in Christ. He alone is the final authority on our worth and acceptance.”
That’s a pretty freeing thought isn’t it?
Last night I caught a clip for a new cooking show on The Food Network. The show, “Food Court Wars” involved some kind of competition and, as I was walking out of the room, I heard a woman say this: “Owning a restaurant would definitely give me back my self worth.”
There it is again, isn’t it? If I can just be so and so, I’ll know I am somebody.
You and me, we’re already somebody in God’s eyes.
And that’s the biggest and best somebody we can ever be.
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 New Living Translation
4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
Romans 2:29 The Voice
29 But the true Jew is Jewish on the inside—in secret places no one but God can see—and true circumcision involves the heart; it comes from the Spirit, not from some written code. The praise and reputation of that kind of Jew come from God, not from man.