Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. – 1 Peter 3:3-4
“I am not worthy.”
These are the literal words that struck me and stuck in my head when kicking off this writing project with three other amazing sisters in Christ. Yes, as we chose the first word, “worthy”, to kick off The Good Word Project, I was marinating in the irony of how I was feeling in that very moment of choosing the word. After all, these women each have their own web sites! They’ve been writing blogs for years. Friends, they even had their own photo shoots. As they were combing through what I was imagining were dozens of beautiful head shot pictures from which to choose for this new venture, I was scrambling through my old professional shots resembling those that could be featured on a tired stock photography site under “professional woman smiling” and combing through my iPhone pictures to find something decent to use. Irony? No, I say enemy.
Even though I felt doubt, I was not going to let the enemy pull this one away from me. The truth is, I am worthy. I know this because God reminds us that we are of great worth in His sight (1 Peter 3:3-4). We are each fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). He knows every hair on our heads and holds us with great worth (Luke 12:7). He commissioned us to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). He died for your sins and for mine (Romans 5:8 among countless other verses). Repeatedly in His word we are reminded that we are indeed chosen, called, and worthy. We are all worthy! And anything that tells us otherwise is a lie from the enemy.
The enemy wants to keep us distracted. We live among a world littered with messages that tell us to keep doing more, perfecting more, being more. Our worth often feels tied to how well we are “keeping it all together”. The enemy uses distraction, doubt, discouragement, delay, and diversion to keep us off course and separated from God’s will for us (Genesis 3:14-15).
Performance + Perfectionism = Exhaustion*
Our discontentment can quickly arrive in the gap of our performance and perceived perfectionism. This often comes from our comparison among others, which for me personally, often leads straight to feelings of unworthiness.
Fortunately, God has a different measuring stick. His is of acceptance of who we are, right where we are. When I see a woman who is stronger in her faith, when I am following God, He reminds me I am accepted and loved by Him right where I am. When I see a woman who is more beautiful and more put together, God reminds me that the insecurities I mask with fashion, accessories, etc. can be replaced with confidence I find in Him. When I see a bigger nicer home, God reminds me that I too have a bigger nicer home and that is a blessing and is enough. When I see a mother getting to spend more time with her children, God tells me my children are His and it’s the quality not the quantity of time that I spend with them that matters. When I see women who are healthier and more fit, God reminds me that I am blessed with a healthy body and the ability to wake up at 5:30 and go on a run (now if it would just warm up so I could crawl out from winter hibernation and actually do that!). The list goes on and on and God remains steadfast in his promise that I don’t need to earn my worth.
I know that this “bar” of perceived “better”, or worth, is not the bar God wants me to reach. He prompts me to keep in mind Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” And 2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us to take captive every thought, and make it obedient to Christ, not my own standards (emphasis mine).
Worth is not found in comparison or a perceived bar. It is found in our Creator, who wants our heart, and not our accomplishments nor our performance.
The Gift of Worth
Last week, Erin gave us three ways to help us shift our minds and receive all that God intends for us. I encourage you to revisit “Worthy Anyway” and be reminded of the encouragement God lays before us.
How loved are we, that we don’t have to “find” our worth. We simply have to receive it. And as women, I know many of us are not too good at receiving. But this is one gift we are all called to receive. God wants this for us, more than anything. Even when you doubt like I did at the beginning of this project, and will again, know that “to be worthy does not mean to be perfect” when you are armed with the identity of Christ and when you walk in confidence knowing your worth comes from Him and Him alone. The enemy has no chance, no foothold.
My prayer for all of us is that we accept our identity in Christ, and walk in the confidence of knowing that we are special, we are chosen, and we are called by a Father who loves us more than we could ever fathom. And that, my dear friends, makes us so very worthy.
*The Field Guide to Freedom, Murphy & Sheanshang, p 93