As I sat and worshipped with others from my church, I struggled to hold back the tears. At first I was confused: I wasn’t sure what was affecting me so deeply. I knew they were happy tears, but I had no idea where they were coming from.
Then I realised. It all came down to one word:
I like the definition the Cambridge dictionary provides:
“deserving respect, admiration or support; deserving to be given attention, noticed etc.”
As we worshipped together, the ministry I am involved in had been mentioned, and they had prayed for it and for me. It sounds like a small thing but the impact was huge.
I won’t go into the complicated circumstances surrounding this, but over the last few years, for various reasons, I had become used to feeling overlooked and ignored, and that no-one was very interested in the work I did.
It encouraged me so much to feel that people in my church considered me worthy. They saw the value in what I did, they respected it and they wanted to support me. When you have felt lacking in that kind of encouragement for so long, you have no idea how much you need it, how it quenches a thirst deep inside you that you have become used to living with.
Eventually I gave in and let the tears flow. I felt safe in a group of people who cared, who didn’t even ask me to explain, who just let me be, and I thanked God again for leading me to this church and these people, when that had not been part of my plan at all.
Feeling worthy, feeling valued makes such a difference, but I think it is something many of us struggle with.
And while the times when people show us they value us and see us as worthy are important and can give us a much-needed boost, we can’t rely on other people to provide our sense of self-worth. We have to learn to find it in God- to believe what God says about us, no matter what others’ words or actions, or our own emotions, might tell us.
I wrote about wrestling with this as I prepared to celebrate my birthday last month, and at just the right time, God provided a book to help me reflect on this some more: Worthy: Believe Who God Says You Are by Rebecca Hastings.
I was keen to join the launch team for this book because I had enjoyed connecting with Becky through her blog, and because I believed it was an important message to share with others. It was only as I got started that I realised how much I needed to hear it for myself.
The book consists of 20 devotions, exploring the topic of where we find our worth. Becky shares stories from her own life, looking at different reasons why we might struggle to feel worthy: past experiences, negative words spoken over us, mistakes we have made, or comparing ourselves to others, and she encourages us in the truth that God sees us as worthy. Each day includes a Bible verse, a prayer and a practical step we can take to begin grasping that truth, taking hold of God’s grace and accepting the unique person he has made us to be. These steps are simple but effective: doing something you enjoy just for yourself, accepting a compliment by saying thank you rather than brushing it aside, identifying one lie you believe about yourself and fighting it with God’s truth.
Here are a few quotes from the book to whet your appetite:
“Past events do not define who we are, and someone else’s choices don’t change our value. But we have to choose to believe that.”
“God doesn’t swipe left or right when he sees our picture. He doesn’t judge us based on our appearance. He loves us fully. He sees us for exactly who we are. And He likes what He sees.”
“It’s time to stop losing yourself in an effort to please everyone else. The truest form of you is exactly what God created you for.”
As Becky says in the conclusion to her book, learning to believe in our worth is a journey. It is not instant, but a process of taking hold of the truth of how God sees us. This book provides encouragement along the way as well as tools to help you actively move forward.
linking with #LiveFreeThursday