understanding value.

This past week, I’ve had to come to grips with a very difficult truth. one that honestly, has only come out of many times of tears and loneliness.

I had forgotten that value isn’t dependent on what others do for me, or how much i have in my bank account, and certainly not on my own personal grading curve; but rather, each and every person has value because they were made in the image of Christ.

For me, finding value in nature and beauty comes naturally. I can see the hand of a very complex and caring Creator as I marvel at the detail on a butterfly’s wings or in the complexity of a flower’s colors and design. I understand awe of a truly awesome God as I stand in the shadows of mountains or see for what seems forever as I stand on top of the highest peak. Yet, I seemed to have forgotten this very core concept of creation itself: none of these – not the ocean, not the sky, not the snow-capped mountains or the God-carved gorges – bear the image of the Creator Himself. Indeed, the Bible tells us “the heavens declare the glory of God”, and that the rocks will cry out to praise Him if we will not (Luke 19:40),  but that’s the thing: we get first dibs. When God created the world, He saved the best for last. (#shereadstruth)

This past week, I have been reminded that it’s a calling to see worth, value and dignity in every human, no matter how sinful or distorted or far from God (even if that person is you). To devalue any human being is to deny their intrinsic worth as a fellow image-bearer of the Creator.

It’s been a tad obvious that God has been waiting to flood my heart and mind with this reminder, as everything I have seen, read, heard and listened to this week has been somehow spot on with this concept, especially the scripture in the sermon on Sunday. A reminder found in Matthew 6: 19-21 –“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

For me, “value” has been replaced with “demand,” and “worldly worth,” and quite honestly with “what can you do for me?” I’ve been so busy storing up my worth, my possessions, and my people here on earth that i haven’t even realized they are already already rusting and wasting away. Like the farmer who tried to store up his barns so he could just relax and party, only to find them all destroyed and him as well; I too have been so wrapped in trying to hold onto people and things as if they are mine, and not the Lord’s gifts to me. As I try to hold on tighter, the more things and people seem to be slipping through my fingers. My earthly treasures, rotten and ending, have been stealthily replacing the treasures that will never fade.

Here, in this desperate time of fighting for control, I realized that “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” That, in the midst of me trying to wrap everything into a neat little package, God has been offering this whole time His perfect acceptance, made perfect through the blood of Jesus Christ. That I don’t have it together, and quite honestly, don’t have control like I would like or think I have. Instead, each day of giving control to God has brought a little more peace, an unexpected joy, and quite honestly, a hope that I haven’t had in a long time.

It hasn’t been easy. Rather, I think I’ve used more tissues this week than I have in the past year. Also, I’ve spent more time in the Word than I have in years. I think it’s a good trade Tissues for time with God. Done. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been refreshing. Necessary. Eye-opening. Humbling. And so, so powerful.

When it comes down to it, I’ve realized that even I have value. An unfathomable, jaw-dropping kind of concept. Somehow, that hasn’t sunk in before like it has recently, with a reminder that there is always a better version being written of me the more I let go, and let God.

“O the blood of Jesus washes me
O the blood of Jesus shed for me
What a sacrifice, that saved my life
Yes the blood, it is my victory.”

Jesus paid it all, for me. He thinks I’m worth it.

So to those who I have treated unfairly, forgotten whose you are, or simply didn’t show you the kindness or the respect you deserve, I humbly apologize, and promise to reconcile with you. To the culture who deems my worth by how much stuff I owe or by how much money I make, I choose to step back and find my worth in the laughter shared, the memories made, and in the joy I have discovered in loving others, and in turn, being loved by them. And to the thoughts inside my head, demeaning and devaluing me, I renounce you in the name of Jesus, because He thinks I’m worth it, and I choose to believe that, one day at a time.

(special thanks to #shereadstruth this week, as so much of their writings have resonated with my heart this week)

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