Let’s be honest, most of us at one time or another have struggled with image and value. We measure our image by what magazines portray and we find our value in what we do and how much we’ve accomplished. When I was in college, I strugged with image. Since graduation, I’ve struggled more with value.
Being in the field that I’m in, there is tremendous pressure in knowing solutions and having answers (all the while executing in grace). But the truth of the matter is, I still need solutions and answers and a whole lot of grace. And when I feel I miss the mark all accounts, my worth goes right out the window (because I give it permission too)!
My value graph lately has been anything but consistent, which drives me completely crazy (insert sigh). These days I’ve felt like a messy being. Like a being who doesn’t know her right foot from her left. A woman with nothing to say and nothing to offer. Some of those factors have to do with age, job, relationship status, and family scenarios. Some of those factors simply have to do with my soul being focused on all the wrong things (you know what the factors are for you). And with that being said, I feel the need to share this: the scale we so often place our value on is complete comparison nonsense. There is no realness to it. No foundation. No depth. No truth. Because value isn’t defined by looks, objects or status, it’s defined by the God who breathed us into existence.
While seeking the Lord in this wrestling through value, I stumbled across Acts 17 and it hits home for me (maybe it will for you too). Paul is in the city of Athens and while he’s there he was deeply distressed over the amount of idols he found. He says to the people,
“22 …’People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring’.”
Maybe you should read that again because I’ve needed too. In Him we live and move and have our being. In God. Yahweh. Jehovah. Our Father. In Him. Not in things. Not in graphs. Not in comparisons. Not in other relationships. Not in ourselves. In Him.
That’s vital to living and I know that. But sometimes I struggle to really KNOW that. I fight it because it’s easier to place value in the quick fixes. It’s something entirely different to be still and seek the Lord in ALL things. In seeking His timing and boundaries for our lives. In seeking His wisdom and His words of who we are and who we are to be in Him. And that…that takes intentionality and intentionality takes time and we all know, ‘time is money.’ So instead we let our scales be measured by how busy we are, how much weight we’ve lost, who notices us and how successful our business is etc. When we get tired we say we need a cup of coffee. When we don’t want to deal with a problem we turn on the television. When relationships get messy, we find new ones with people who won’t challenge us because we’d rather stay comfortable.
Let’s face it. We have our own Athens idols inscribed with ‘unknown god’ all around us and they distract us from our real value in Christ. And when we depend more on coffee than we do Jesus, something isn’t right. Our scales are imbalanced. Our souls suffer and so do our relationships.
I’ll be the first to admit, I spend too much time measuring my own scale and not enough time giving who I am to the Lord, trusting His time and His ways. Which is ridiculous! I mean, if He could make all nations from one man, how much more could He do through both me and you?
Today I was handed a gift. It was a white frame with a mint green picture that simply said, “You are so loved.” And when it was handed to me, the gifter said, “I just wanted you to know you are seen.”
That was the Lord saying, “I’ve seen where you’ve been walking this month, and I love you. But I’m God and you’re not. Place your value in Me. For in Me, you move and live and be.”
Friends, let’s not just be a religious people, but rather a people who know the God they worship, a people who seek Him and a people who turn to Him before pouring a cup of coffee.