How do you answer this question: “Who am I?”
What about this one: “What am I worth?”
I’m talking about your identity and value. Identity is the foundation of our lives. What we believe about who we are informs our thoughts and feelings about ourselves. Our thoughts and feelings, in turn, inform our actions. Our actions communicate to the people around us. Value is determined by identity, so answering the first question also answers the second.
When my son makes one of his original Lego creations and brings it to me he also wants to tell me what he has named it, what it is for, and what it does. If he wanted to sell these works of art he would ultimately be the one who decided how much he would accept in order to part with the piece. Now imagine if he brought me a creation and I interrupted him to say, “No, son, that isn’t a mega robot blaster for defending Super Mario’s castle, worth a million-billion dollars. That is a race car for Donkey Kong, and it’s only worth fifty cents.”
Sounds pretty cruel and ridiculous, right? He created it, so only he has the right to decide its name, purpose, and value.
God, as Creator, is the only one with the right to decide our identity and value. But many times we try to take over that roll, or we allow other people to tell us what to believe. That sets us up for serious problems. If our beliefs about our identity and value are incorrect then our thoughts, feelings, and actions will produce pain for ourselves and others. If the foundation is messed up, the house won’t stand.
Here is how God answers those questions about you:
“You are my beloved child.” (1 John 3:1, Gal. 3:26, Rom. 8:16)
“You are worth my own life.” (John 3:16, John 15:13)
Now I have a new question for you: what does that mean?
It means you are free from the need to create and protect your own value.
There is nothing you can do or fail to do, nothing anyone can do to you or fail to do for you that can change who you are or how much you are worth.
Romans 5:8 MSG
– But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.
Romans 8:1, 38-39 ESV
There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 John 4:18 TLB
We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; his perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what he might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what he might do to us and shows that we are not fully convinced that he really loves us.
No more tearing someone else down to make myself look more valuable by comparison.
No more giving control of my joy to someone else’s anger because my value is tied to how happy they are with me.
No more guilt and shame and self-hatred because of the number on the scale.
No more fear of setting healthy boundaries and saying no.
No more feelings of worthlessness when I make a mistake.
No more lying and hiding to cover up my sins and weaknesses.
No more perfectionism and killing myself to do it all.
When I choose to believe the truth about my identity and value I have:
Freedom to encourage others and celebrate their wins.
Freedom to be thankful and joyful because of God’s love regardless of how happy, or unhappy, anyone else is with me.
Freedom from guilt, shame, and self-hatred and from the behaviors I use to try and numb that pain.
Freedom to say yes and no according to healthy standards.
Freedom to grow and learn through courageously trying new things and making mistakes.
Freedom to be honest about my struggles and say “I’m sorry” when I hurt others.
Freedom to engage deeply with other people and seek to understand their life experience.
Since God created every human, the same is true for every human. Every person has intrinsic value that cannot be decreased by their failures, or by our opinion of them.
From your best friend to your worst enemy, your beloved spouse to your least-favorite politician. Regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, yearly income, country of origin, citizenship status or any other factor that we humans try to use to identify ourselves and others.
When we do not believe the truth about the value of others we end up using them for our own selfish gain. We become weapons in the hands of the Enemy for destroying other people. But, when we allow our correct belief about the value of all to produce our thoughts, feelings, and actions toward others we become sources of God’s love and value in their lives.
The truth is only God gets to decide who we are and what we are worth.
I am eternally grateful that he loves us all as his children, at the value of Jesus.