Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message:
I may look confident and put together on the outside (when I’m not in my yoga pants and a ponytail) but on the inside I often wander back to that little girl who questions her value and wants to make a difference.
There are lots of ways this inner struggle presents itself in me …
I tether my value to how I look.
I tether my value to how my jeans fit.
I tether my value to how I perform.
I want my husband and kids to love me perfectly, even though they can’t.
I want to love others perfectly, but I don’t, so I juggle guilt like a hot potato.
I get distracted and waste time, so I feel unproductive.
I want to make a difference, but I try to do too much.
The Bible showcases a perfection that I implement pathetically. Like that love chapter in 1 Corinthians that most of us had read at our weddings. Verses like “love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way” (13:4–5 ESV). Wait, what? Geez! The way I love doesn’t even come close to this list! And then the big left hook smacks me hard: “Love never fails” (v. 8).
The magnitude of God’s perfect love is epic. The magnitude of my love is minuscule.
I try to be patient. I try to be kind. I try not to envy or boast. All of it. But my efforts are less than. I stub my toe on my ego all the time. I get edgy and loud. I insist on my own way. And then I beat myself up!
If I were a better mom, I would’ve ____.
If I were a better friend, I would _____.
If I were in better shape, then maybe _____.
If I were more talented, I would be able to _____.
And because I’m not content with my own body, my own behaviors, and my own abilities, I struggle to see how a perfect God can look past my brokenness. I know in my heart that He loves me, but I sometimes struggle to accept that He likes me, because sometimes I don’t even like myself.
These doubts and insecurities cause me to question my value and my ability to make a difference. They cause me to feel insignificant. Invisible and ineffective.
Yet I know that the Bible says the opposite. And because of this, I’m reminded to, instead, tether my value to truths like these:
I was created in the image of God.
I am sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus loved me so much that He endured a horrific death so I could be saved.
These truths matter. And because they matter, they confirm to me that I matter. And they confirm that you matter too.
Don’t think for one little minute that I don’t sense you bristling up. It’s what we girls do when the spotlight of attention is shined on our significance. We shy away. Throw our hands up to shield the light. Contest with our best excuses …
Some of us contend, “I’m really nothing special. That word valuable makes me nervous. My life is less than. Average at best. Mac and cheese is my jam. I drive a minivan, wear ponytails, use off-brand detergent, and live paycheck to paycheck. Where is the value in that?”
Others of us contend, “I cannot believe you’re going to go there! Did you not read my bumper sticker and T-shirt? I am nothing. Jesus is everything. Hide me in the cross and stop trying to make me feel special. Slap! Slap! Slap! Shame on you for even bringing up such a topic of the flesh!”
Some of us acquiesce: “Okay. Let’s talk. I know in my mind that I’m precious to Jesus, but that often gets lost in translation on its way to my heart. Yes. Let’s have this conversation. I want everything God has for me, and I’m ready to move forward as a woman of greater impact.”
Wherever you find yourself in these responses, my prayer is that you will join our last friend with an expectant and curious heart. With a heart that is ready to move forward in the truth of your significance so that you can live out the purpose for which you were created.