"You are precious and honored in my sight..." (Isaiah 43:4a, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Last winter, I bought my daughter a really cute jacket at the mall. It's a hoodie that's made of a cuddly fabric with cream, lavender, and mint green horizontal stripes. The jacket zips up in the front and is well crafted, stylish, and simply adorable.
When I bought it, I felt like the price on the tag was a fair one, so I gladly pulled out my wallet and paid the retail amount. I was like a kid in a candy store on the way home. I fully anticipated a shriek of happiness from my little bag of beans when I gave it to her. Delightfully, I wasn't disappointed. Kennedy loved her new coat, and I was pleased with my purchase. Happy dances all around...until a week later, when I saw the same jacket in the same store at a greatly reduced price. Are you tensing up with me? Suddenly, I felt schnookered! Ripped off. Taken advantage of. As soon as I saw the red line on the price tag of the unsold coats, everything changed -- Kennedy's jacket wasn't worth what I paid for it.
When we speak of the worth of something, we often consider it a relative term - one that has shifting factors. For example: last week the cute jacket was thirty-nine dollars, and now it's nineteen ninety-nine. The jacket didn't change, but its perceived worth did.
Now, consider the worth of a woman. Are the factors that determine her value based upon variable, shifting factors or are they based upon fixed factors? Seems to be a silly question, doesn't it? Fixed, of course! But, if the answer is so glaringly obvious, why do we struggle so much as women with feeling worthless? Why do we walk around feeling like that red lined jacket? I think it's because we often allow variable earthly factors to define our worth.
What kind of variable factors?
There are so many reasons why women feel worthless:
Ø Because they've been abused (raped, molested, physically abused, verbally abused...)
Ø Because they've been told that they're worthless (by a parent, spouse, sibling, teenage child, or another...)
Ø Because of choices they've made (divorce, infidelity, abortion, promiscuity, eating disorders, addictions, uncontrolled anger...)
Ø Because they've been cheated on (infidelity, internet affair, pornography...)
Ø Because they're co-dependent (conclude their value based upon other people -- "If my husband isn't okay, I'm not okay.")
Ø Because they don't collect a paycheck (stay at home moms that have left the work force, laid off employees, displaced employees, those on disability...)
Ø Because they've battled an illness (unable to care for family, perform basic home duties, participate in ministry or Bible study like they once did, can't drive, cook...)
Unfortunately, the variable factors that we use to define our worth are endless. Many of us feel worthless. Why? We've felt ignored, invisible, insignificant, useless, undesired, ugly, unloved, or forgotten. We girls are emotional, broken in many ways. Great portions of our identity and of our personal value are wrapped into combustible packages of emotion...how we feel about this or that. The truth is, our worth has nothing to do with our feelings.
Trust me! I am not going to try to convince you that I know everything there is to know about feeling like a woman of worth. Or about being a woman of worth. I am in the trenches with you. I struggle with normal woman things. I don't live a fancy schmancy, rose-colored wonder-life. I hit the snooze button several times each morning. I pack lunches for my kids. I spend countless hours of my life each year sitting in the car pool line. It's a never-ending struggle for me to keep the laundry cleaned, and my kids often have to fish for a matching pair of socks in the clean-clothes basket. My husband is my soul mate, but is far from perfect. For that matter, Brad should win a lifetime achievement award for enduring the drama of me! And my kids bring me both great joy and great frustration on a daily basis.
Is this sounding at all familiar to you?
See -- I'm just like you, and I'm walking this faith journey right beside you. In fact, the more I know God, the less inclined I am to pretend to have life or faith figured out. Amen? I'm constantly tempted to define my worth with activities, emotions, and accomplishments. I've come to realize, however, that way of thinking is a spiritual dead end road. Scripture tells us that anything we do in our own strength or of our own goodness is of no value to God. "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6a, emphasis mine).
What I do know is this: because of Jesus Christ, I'm a woman of highest worth. Not because of anything else. I'm a grace girl. Not perfect by a long stretch. I've been changed by the unconditional love of God and restored to perfect beauty through the shed blood of Jesus. Because of love, we are His daughters, precious in His sight. In light of this, we need to set aside feelings that diminish our value, and embrace our proper identity: child of the King of Kings.
Hear this, friend: feelings of worthlessness are from Satan himself. It burns me up that the enemy has such a strong grip on God's daughters in this area. We need to associate the word worthless with the word lie. That's exactly what it is, a big, fat lie! I talk to women all the time who bend a knee to negative feelings and live defeated lives because they don't quite know how to overcome their sense of worthlessness. God wants every one of us to experience healing and have an appropriate sense of self-worth.
So let's go back to Kennedy's new coat for just a moment. Imagine walking into God's department store. There on the rack, you spy a coat that is just plain fabulous -- I mean, stop-you-in-your-tracks fabulous! One-size fits all, the tag reads. Yeah, right, you whisper under your breath. Then you flip over the price tag and it's crazy expensive. Way beyond what you could ever dream of paying...like, if you added up every dollar that ever passed through your hands -- then multiplied that by ten thousand -- that kind of expensive. Then imagine the storeowner walking over to you, slipping the coat off the rack and onto your shoulders.
"It's a perfect fit," He smiles.
"Sir," you manage with a whisper, "I could never afford such a coat. This is meant for royalty and I'm, well, just an ordinary girl."
"Oh precious woman, this coat is made especially for you, and the price has already been paid in full."
As the owner straightens the sleeves on your arms and adjusts the collar around your neck, you notice his hands...nail pierced hands. And suddenly you realize that this is the covering you were meant to wear all along.
You see, the Bible tells us that because of what Jesus did on the cross, we can be clothed with the "robe of righteousness." The apostle Paul tells us that when we are reconciled to God, we become His righteousness. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). There's no way we could ever afford or earn such a robe. But Jesus gave His life for us - He earned it for us. He paid the price and we receive the gift. Why? Because you're worth it. You are precious and highly valuable in the eyes of the One who sees. And you never, never, never have to worry about being on anyone's bargain rack again.
Holy Father, I'm humbled at the very thought that I could be viewed as precious in Your eyes. Thank You for taking on my sin so that I could take on your righteousness. Please help me to see myself as You see me. Help me to thrive in Your beauty!
In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
What came to your mind as you read today's devotion? Grab your journal and write about it.
Are you held captive by feelings of worthlessness? Spend a few moments in prayer and ask God to reveal truth to your heart about how He sees you.
Print or write out this verse: "I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands" (Isaiah 49:15-16, NASB). Set it to memory and allow it to serve as a reminder that you are precious to God.