About Worth & Value
I have acquired and developed many skills and talents throughout my life. Whether it be in the realm of athletics, academics, socially, financially or physically, I have learned not only how to survive in my environment, but to thrive. “Being the best” was about more than just winning, it was about belonging, fitting in, having a purpose, having security. Having a purpose might ensure I would have value, be included, and have security. This strategy for living worked well … until it didn’t. I devised more strategies, better processes, with greater perfection. The result of course, is it wasn’t changing the longings for worth and value that were inside. Outside approaches were not solving an internal problem, a belief that was dominating my thinking and choices, a belief of which I was completely unaware existed within me. I found myself being angry a lot, and I didn’t know why I was mad, or what exactly I was fighting against inside.
I became tired of trying to be included, to try to matter, because at the very core of my being I believed: “I don’t matter, and therefore, what I did was not significant or relevant.” I was spinning into a place of despair. I could no longer manage and control the world around me by winning and being the best. I was getting older and couldn’t quite hang as well in certain arenas. What was I to do with this mounting feeling of fear of insignificance and invisibility? I began exploring the origin of this belief of “I don’t matter.” When and where did it begin. I discovered that an unplanned pregnancy influenced a pervading perception of feeling unwanted. I tried to fix that belief in all the aforementioned ways—don’t just be athletic, win! Don’t just make good grades, be the smartest…in every subject! Don’t just fit in socially…host all the events to ensure inclusion. On and on it went.
Little by little, I kept reflecting on a few verses: What does “Christ in me, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) mean in my daily life? What does it mean to be complete in Christ? By the world’s standards, I was fitting in, making a difference, and was highly esteemed. However, it was not bringing the so-called abundant life promised in John 10:10. I kept seeing that verse every time I walked in the door of Life Ministries. I concluded that since I was not experiencing abundant life, it must be for every other Christian, just not for me. Again, “I must not matter.” Interestingly, I taught others about their identity in Christ, about their intrinsic worth and value based upon Christ’s life, yet, I could not believe it for myself. In faith, I kept asking Jesus to live His life in and through me. That was and is a scary place for a formula-driven individual. What I am beginning to experience is rest. I do not have to figure “it” out. I do not have to fix it, solve it, win, be right, be included, find a way to matter— I already do matter! I matter because the Creator of the universe lives in me, has bought me with a price—His life, and I get to watch Him express Himself in His own unique way in my life, the way He made me in Psalm 139. It is a mystery. It is a walk of faith. It is life…in abundance!
── Atlanta, Georgia
“Any activity that’s giving you your identity is an idol and is contributing only to the false self. Our false self thinks it needs external things or activities to give it life. It wants the stroking, the external affirmation, the place of authority, or the public place to make pronouncements. We are dangerous living out of the flesh, because we are using others to validate us. But when we no longer need those externals—when who we are in Christ and who He is in us has become foundational truth in our life—then we can handle the externals and don’t need them for our identity.”
—The Rest of the Gospel, Dan Stone and David Gregory