I've struggled with feeling unworthy for as long as I can remember...there were times I felt not good enough, not smart enough and not pretty enough. I've let failures, comparison and my past label me. I've allowed roles, my performance and others' thoughts define me. I've strived (and failed) to keep up with others and meet their expectations. All of this has played a part in feeling unworthy, but what's always been at the top is the struggle with my looks.
I grew up as a farm girl and a tomboy and my looks proved it. Numerous times I was mistaken for a boy and each time that happened the hurt went deeper and insecurity grew stronger. I no longer look like a boy, and though my looks changed my thoughts about them never did. Looking in the mirror has been a struggle and receiving compliments from my husband has been a challenge.
Over time God has been working on my heart and teaching me His Truth. Over 5 years ago, He intensified this lesson at the county fair. My brother-in-law found a pic of me from my high school days and he thought it would be fun to show my husband and kids. They all laughed, but inside I fell apart. In my mind, I heard, "Look at you." A list of doubts and old insecurities came to mind and then there was a whisper to my heart, "No Jill, look at Me."
A day later I found myself reading the story of Peter walking on water. (Matthew 14:22-33) As he kept his eyes on Jesus, he did the impossible, but when his eyes wandered to the things around him, he sunk. God taught me that day the same happens with me. When I focus on Him, I can do what He asks and trust what He says, but when I look at the stuff around me...including old pics, I start to sink. (Read the entire story HERE.)
This lesson helped and I made strides in this area as time went by, but nearly 2 months ago I was reminded I'm still not an overcomer. I had made plans to connect with a far-away friend...we'd connected via FB and email, but talking on the phone was a new thing. The idea seemed crazy and I didn't understand why God was leading me to do this, but yet I obeyed and asked my friend if she wanted to chat. She agreed and we made plans to connect.
The day I was to call, I saw a picture of her - a beautiful, Godly woman I respect and these thoughts ran through my mind - “She’s better than you. You don’t deserve to be her friend. She was a Baylor Beauty and you, well you’re a Riceville Reject.”
Thankfully, I immediately recognized them as lies from the enemy and proceeded with my plans. After enjoying a conversation with my friend, my mind returned to the thoughts that mirror ones I’ve struggled with all my life. Thoughts that say, “I’m not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, you fill in the blank…“ Ones that basically say, “I’m not worthy.”
I realized this and asked God, "Why? Why does my mind always go there? I know Truth...but yet, do I believe it? Help me Lord. I know Satan has me with this, but I trust You can free me." That cry for help was the start of a journey.
Perhaps you’ve struggled with this as well? Maybe comparison, sin, shame, other’s words and actions, looks or failure have kept you from thinking you don’t measure up or that you’re not good enough. If so, will you join me as we look at what makes us unworthy?
First of all, just a little language lesson - in Greek, worth, axious (axeeos), means - deserving, suitable and due reward. So join me in what God taught me about what worth is, where it comes from and who can label us unworthy.
W - Who is worthy. "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." (Revelation 4:11) Our worth begins with knowing the One who is worthy - Jesus!! (Additional verses - Revelation 5:12)
O - Our connection to Him. "So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them." (Genesis 1:27) Elohim, God, our creator made us in His image. Take some time and ask Him to show you what that means. Friend, the more we get to know God the better we will know ourselves.
R - Redemption’s Price Tag. "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you for your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." (1 Peter 1:18-19) The other day my daughter's friend was talking about the gift she gave her dad. She'd bought him a shirt on clearance, but left the original price tag on it. Her dad saw it and immediately said, "I'm not worth that." Immediately I thought about us doing the same with God...how that must hurt His heart. Think about the price He paid to make us His own...friend, He didn't find us on the clearance rack. He bought us with the blood and by the death of His Son. Meditate on that and take a look at 1 Corinthians 7:23 and Acts 20:28 as well.
T - The One in me. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20a) Friend, if you struggle with your worth, for whatever reason...let the Truth of this verse sink deep into your heart. Jesus and His spirit live in YOU...YOU are worthy!! (Additional verses - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Ephesians 1:13-14)
H - How our worth is measured. "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10:37-38) Friend, I've read this verse countless times and God has used it to lead me to obedience in the past, but as He led me on this journey of truly understanding my worth these words were a game changer. I've allowed numerous people and thoughts say I'm unworthy and perhaps you have as well, but get this - only Jesus has the power to say it!! Jesus doesn’t count us out based on worldly standards. Friends, He measures our worth by our love for Him and obedience to Him. Did you get that? He won’t disqualify us because we carry extra pounds, have crooked teeth or failed to earn academic honors. The world looks at the outer appearance, but God looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) Society pushes us to perform, but Christ died for us while we were still sinners . (Romans 5:8)
Friend, I pray the brief summary of what God has been teaching me is one that He uses for you as well. We must remember who He is and be who He created us to be! Thinking we are unworthy...for all the wrong reasons, can be prideful, leads to insecurity and is sin. But God is the God of grace and mercy, run to Him to today...He sees you, He knows you and He loves you. He calls you worthy!!
If you'd like to go deeper into this, here are a few verses to start with -
Words about Worth - 2 Thessalonians 1:5,11; Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139; Isaiah 43:1-4; Matthew 16:24-28; and 1 Samuel 16:7
Words about Walking Worthy - Ephesians 4:1-3, Philippians 1:27, Colossians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:12, 4:1; Romans 12:1 and 1 John 2:15
Finally friends a prayer for you and me - Heavenly Father, Lord I come to You now and approach Your throne with confidence. I ask for knowledge of Your will, spiritual understanding and wisdom. I ask this so that I may live a life worthy of You and please You in every way. I long for You to help me understand who I am and pray that You’d help me see myself the way You do. Keep me from looking to others, actions or accolades to find my worth, but help me love and obey You so that I am found worthy in Your eyes. Lord, You are worthy and I give You all the praise, glory and honor. In Jesus’ Name, Amen