worth

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I just think women in our culture have a really hard time establishing or maintaining a healthy self-esteem. We either swing from the extreme of self-absorbed and constantly finding ways to maintain an exterior image to cover an interior sense of insecurity to being completely selfless and throwing all our energy into lifting others up while pushing ourselves further down. It’s no wonder though. With pornography, sexual abuse, anorexic models on magazine covers and a slew of other cultural assaults, it’s hard to stay clear about what our value and worth comes from.

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So what are you worth? My pastor says, “You were so bad that Jesus had to die for you, and you were so loved that he wanted to do it.” In our capitalistic society, we say an item is worth what people are willing to pay. Supply and demand and all that. How do we know an Ipad is worth $399? Because people keep buying them. Guess what? Our worth was settled by the price that was paid for us as well. 1 Cor. 6 says “You were bought with a price” and 1 Peter 1:18 says “It was not with silver and gold that you were redeemed from your empty way of life, but with the precious blood of Christ” If you’ve ever felt unloved, unworthy, undesirable- these verses eliminate those feelings as possible truths.

So how do we flesh that out? How do we internalize a sense of healthy self-esteem? First, we accept God’s love. It’s an act of faith to simply believe that He loves you. The Bible says He does, but you have to choose to receive it. Then you need to practice loving yourself and others. Jesus says to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In other words, you are not more or less valuable than anyone else. We are all equally valuable in God’s eyes and it is important to validate that truth in the way you treat yourself and those around you. Pride is an inflated view of self that says I am more important than others, or I was/am good enough to earn God’s love. Selflessness says I am worth less than others and God could never really love me. Self esteem/humility says I am loved by God because He chooses to do so, and I am as important as those around me.

On a practical note, things like how you speak to and about yourself matter. Proverbs says, the tongue has the power of life and death. You can tear yourself down with your words. Also, being busy doing the things God has gifted you to do will build your self esteem. God created each of us to do good works and we feel best when we are doing them.

For me a very common struggle is comparing myself to others to find my sense of “ok-ness”. I find that when I do this my self esteem fluctuates. If I’m around someone who I feel less together than, I begin to see myself negatively. If I feel more together than whomever I’m with, I feel better. This is essentially what happens in our supply and demand. Products lose value when compared to something newer, shinier, more advanced. Comparing always effects value. Resist the temptation to base your value on anyone else. Always return to the price that was paid and the One who paid it.

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