What are you worth? A few years ago, I was reading this article about a man in Australia who had sold his entire life on eBay for slightly less than half a million dollars. He was tired of his life, the way he was living it, and so decided to sell everything and start over. Reading this story, it really made me think about how one decides what one is worth. Just for fun, I did a web search to see what others were saying about how you determine your worth as a human being. Sadly, I found a website called www.humanforsale.com I went through the process because I wanted to see what questions they would ask and to get a sense of what they would tell me I am worth. I never finished it, because they required information I was not willing to share (my name, address, email, phone, etc). In the process, I did learn that I have an IQ of 142 (www.free-iqtest.net) and that I am smarter than 61.5% of people (www.am-i-dumb.com ). While I found that information interesting, I don’t think it makes me worth more or less in this world then anyone else.
Some of us might not feel like we are worth much, but that is about the extent to which we have internalized the negatives messages of others in our society. No one group in society is worth more or less than others. If as you read that there was this little voice in the back of your head yelling @#$!@#$ then remember the Infinite does not value one group of people over another. People have constructed artificial differences that say that one group is of more value than others are, however, God loves each of us just as we are.
We tend to determine our worth in society based on many things, but for now, I just want to reflect on a few things:
- Do you know that God loves you just as you are? Perhaps more importantly do you love yourself? See if you don’t like yourself, then it is hard to think that anybody else can think you are worth being friends with never mind loving. So what do you need to do in your life for you to know that you are worthy of being loved? When somebody criticizes you, blames you, insults you, or otherwise tries to lower your self-esteem is the volume turned up and do you accept it unconditionally or do you reject it, hit the internal mute button, and question why they would speak in a way that was not of love? When somebody comes at you with words of affirmation or praise, do you hit the internal mute button and ask yourself why they are lying or do you allow yourself to receive this affirmation and experience their words of love?
- Do you see life circumstances as confining and defining you or do you know that you can fly? Are you one of those people who look at a challenge and say I know I cant, or are you more like the little engine that looked at the challenge and said “I think I can, I think I can.” The last few years my body has undergone some changes and I have lost some abilities that I once had (i.e. driving and walking any real distance). When I began using a wheelchair there were those who asked me how I was going to do ministry all “crippled up”. The person who asked me this might have thought that my conditions might confine and define me; they don’t. Yes, I have had to make changes in the way I do some things, but how I physically move from point A to point B in my life does not define who I am as a human or spiritual being. You are not what happens to you, you are how you handle it. It is not what you are going through, it is about how you go through it. We need to let go of those messages in our minds, hearts and spirits that tell us we can’t do x because we can. As the saying goes, if God brought you to it, then God will bring you through it.
- Do you remember to spring-clean your emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical lives or do you stay in the dumpster? I was watching What Not To Wear one day and it really hit me how so many of the people who appear on this show talk about how they stopped thinking they were worthy of taking care of themselves, of buying new clothes, of taking time to pamper themselves. I think reality shows have become popular in some respects because we tend to see ourselves in them. On one episode, Stacey and Clinton told a woman to buy a nice button down shirt, so she bought one of every color of this shirt. In some respects, it was a step forward because she was doing something new. At the same time, it was the old behavior in a new form because it was just the easier thing to do. I had to laugh because I used to have 14 pairs of the same black pants and 7 of the same shirt (1 in each color). Why, because it was easier and I had not yet told myself that I was worth taking the time to find a wide diversity of items to wear. We all have items, relationships, and messages we need to purge from our lives as we remind ourselves not to block our blessings.
- Are you trying to prove you are worthy or do you already know it? Do you already know that you are invaluable to the world, to this nation, to this state, to this city, to your family and friends or are you working round the clock to prove that you are worthy? When you are stuck in trying to prove it mode, you tend to focus on those things that you did not achieve and not see what you have. You are always focused on your failures and not your successes. It is never about what you have done, but about what you did not do. It is hard to feel good about one’s self, to appreciate one’s self worth when you are always beating yourself up for what you did not do or could have done better. When you believe in yourself, it is not that you are saying that you are all that and a bag of chips, but that you know that you can achieve. You know that you have the potential to become more than you currently are. You know that you are worth more then anyone around you may realize or ever took the time to tell you.
So today, take the time and remind yourself that you are worthy, that you can fly, and that you are like the little engine that could and did. Amen.