Fear of Worthlessness (Part 4)
So far in this series we’ve explored
- how the fear of being worthless drives us into all kinds of ineffective and ultimately harmful attempts to create value for ourselves
- how radically accepting our inability to make ourselves valuable opens the door to accepting value from an outside source
- and how God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are the safe and consistent outside source of value we need and desperately crave
God’s perfect love for us is good news in and of itself,
his love for us, and our acceptance of his love and value for us, have implications which are just as exciting.
First, since we are no longer responsible for creating our own value we are also free from the responsibility to maintain and defend our 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 the value God assigns to you.
You are not a car, you do not start depreciating as soon as you leave the lot. You do not lose value. Your actions and the actions of others against you cannot reduce your value.
Likewise, your actions and the actions of others in favor of you cannot increase your value.
Because the only one in control of your value is your Creator.
I could list as many different situations as I could come up with and say each one has no affect on your value, but let’s do this instead –
Think about a time you felt very proud of yourself and knew other people whose opinions mattered to you were also proud of you.
Excellent. That feeling of accomplishment and recognition is a gift worth enjoying! And, you weren’t any more valuable in that moment than at any other moment of your life.
Now, think of a time when you felt ashamed, and you knew other people whose opinions mattered to you were disappointed, or maybe outright disgusted, with you.
I know this sucks. Thank you for participating. It’ll be worth it, I promise.
That pain is real and horrible. And you don’t have to hide it or spend the rest of your life trying to make up for it because you weren’t any less valuable in that moment than you were in the moment you felt so proud of.
You are free to celebrate success without pressure to keep it up, and you are free to grieve deep suffering without the fear of being abandoned.
“There is now, therefore, 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.”Romans 8:1, 38-39 ESV
Finally!! The rest my soul has been longing for!
You are free to be the first to apologize because your mistakes don’t threaten your value. You are free to take the scary next step because even if you fail you’ll never loose worth. You are free to say no because even if the other person is angry or annoyed their opinion of you won’t ever make God regret the price he paid for you.
I could go on and on, but let’s move on to implication number 2.
Second, if this great, unassailable value God created you with and Jesus defends is real for you,
then it is real for all humans.
From your best friend to your least favorite politician (oh no, she just went there…).
From your spouse and kids to your boss and coworkers.
People who look like you, speak like you, believe like you,
People who don’t look like you, speak like you, or believe like you.
Treating another human according to their usefulness to you instead of the value God gives them is wrong. Such attitudes and actions are driven by the fear of being worthless; that somehow the differences between myself and another could reduce my value and expose me to harm. We end up doing violence to those we devalue.
I’m going to get real specific here.
A person’s value cannot be changed by their age, color, criminal record, disability, employment status, ethnicity, family status, gender identity, generation, genetic characteristics, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic class.
Remember, God is the only one with the right to name his creation, determine our purpose, decide the limits of our function, and set our value because he created us.
It’s absurd and blatantly harmful for us to try and assume that right.
We don’t get to decide how valuable other humans are. God already has. Real compassion, empathy, justice, love, connection, peace, and healing can only come from recognizing real value.
During his time on Earth Jesus was asked which of the Old Testament commandments was the most important.
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”Matthew 22:37-40
We love God because of how he has loved us. He created us with value, then we rejected his value and sold ourselves out to try and create our own, so Jesus came to buy us back. When we radically accept his love and value our perspective is changed. We love who he loves: ourselves and other people with the equal measure of value he pours out to us all.
Reminding ourselves of this, as often as necessary, and choosing actions in line with it is how we deal with our greatest fear.
Well, that’s the end of this series. Thank you for reading! As always, feel free to contact me with comments or questions.
You can also subscribe so you don’t miss next week’s post!