Some days are easier than others. There are days when joy and a zest for life and inspiration seam to radiate from my soul like the sun, and then, there are days where I wonder where that energy for purpose has escaped to, and perhaps maybe I could elope with it. In my life, being worthy has been an inner battle of the mind, a crusade to establish order, to find the balance of a fully lived and valuable life.
Worthy is defined as having or showing the qualities or abilities that merit recognition in a specified way and having value, being desirable or of importance.
Our society has ravaged our souls, on a quest to gain power, knowledge, wealth and status, and has left hurting and struggling souls in its wake. We have traded a cup of tea with a lonely friend for a hundred clicks on facebook calling it a friendship. We have replaced a restorative hike in the woods picking wildflowers, for a quick check-off-the-list-don’t-forget-the-selfie gym workout. We have swapped an afternoon of reading a good book lying in the grass for a sitcom rerun sitting on the couch, because we are just too tired to make our brains process the words. I think we’ve all become guilty of this depreciated way of living, calling it the societal norm.
Most of us have sacrificed the things that bring us true rest, honest fulfillment, for the sake of fitting in, keeping up, and staying current with the times. But is this what worth has come to? I should say it’s quite the opposite. Most of the time, it’s in the still moments of life that being worthy radiates through.
I think of my neighbor Grace, she was in her 70’s when I was three. She taught me to love tea at a young age, as I would go to her pretty little quaint house next door, and pick out my favorite spoon from her spoon collection. She had bought me my very own cup to use when I was at her house. We would sit and talk about flowers, or animals, or school, or all the dreams I had for the future. And she would tell me stories. If her husband Ernie wasn’t working on the garden, he would join us watching the news quietly in the background. Ernie would have sweet peas every spring for me, and tell me to make sure I brought them home to share with my family. There were some days that Grace didn’t feel like having tea; I got to know those days when the blinds were drawn and the house went dark. I didn’t know until years later, that sweet Grace, one of my best friends in the whole world, struggled with worth like many do, and some days staying in bed seemed to be the only way to get through that day.
Grace and Ernie taught me so much about value, God and life. Grace shared that when she was in her 20’s, she came to know God in a personal way, and she changed her name to Grace legally to honor Him. Although to our world, Grace may have just seemed like a sweet old woman and that’s about it; to me, Grace changed my entire world. She showed me love, grace, honor, and respect even when our friendship started when I was only three years old. I feel blessed to have had her in my life- and to recognize the worth that she placed on our friendship. And Grace was not the only one that helped form value in those young years- There was Ruth and Erik, Duane and Marie, all lovely couples that loved and adored the little person I was then and who was becoming.
Our society cheapens our value so quickly at times. I found myself defending a friend the few weeks ago, because of the journey she has lived through. A woman whom I had just met had thoughtlessly said about our mutual friend, “I pray for her, how many times will she go through divorce before she finds Mr. Right?” I happen to have walked a similar journey to this mutual friend, and was scheduled to speak at a church retreat that night, to share my story of brokenness to wholeness.
So I responded, “Well, for me it took three marriages, and I’m 31. I had to deal with the brokenness I carried into relationships, and much of what I journeyed through were not only my choices, but my spouses’ brokenness as well. Only when we face our deepest hurts and walk through the storm is Jesus able to calm it.”
That night, my voice shook as I shared my story, for I knew that opening up my life could result in people writing me off, thinking less of me, lumping me in the “cast aside” category. But I knew that my story was meant for a select few who were there at the retreat. They were the women who had walked the journey that I had. Those who had been married, and watched their “forever love” fall apart. They were the women who too had struggled to get out of bed, to face the day before them. They were the women who had wondered why they were still here, what their purpose was and what God was going to do with their lives. My story was NOT for the women who prayed for “those kind of women”, my story was for the women who journeyed and had been truly redeemed, and they knew what they had been saved from.
“Jesus is like soap.” I thought to myself a few days ago. The world is filled with soap and most of us have access to it. The trick is, if we want to get clean we have to actually hold on to the soap and scrub away the dirt. It is not by our work, but the soaps work that gets us clean. If we accept the soap, but just stare at it for days, we don’t get any cleaner. If we have the soap somewhere in our house, but don’t ever take it out to use it, I’m sure we would start to stink. It’s only when we engage with the soap, can it do it’s job to purify, to make fresh, make us renewed. So, I similarly have found that when I struggle with my worth, with value in life, it simply means I need time with Jesus. He makes me new. No matter what I’ve journeyed through, Jesus is the answer to our heart change, our new mindset. It’s not more antidepressants or therapy to talk about ourselves, our problems or what we wish our lives were. Nope, Jesus is our soap. We are washed clean by spending time with Him, training our minds to focus and rest in Him. We are all broken people. If we only focus on ourselves, what a dirty mess of looking for value in the dirt and grime! Why not wash the dirt away, and find the value underneath it all? When our focus can be on Him, that is when who we are in Him radiates crystal clear. I am worthy because of Him.