April 24, 2019
We live in a time where we are constantly bombarded with this message: Your worth is found in the world. Who you are is not based on who you were made to be, this world whispers.
The world tells us that our worth is dependent on the school we go to, the number and kind of friends we have, the kind of house we live in, the stamps on our passports, the color of our skin, the clothes we wear, the grades in our report cards, or the amount in our bank account.
The problem is when we focus on what everyone else has to say about us, we will find that we are never enough. So much of how this broken world runs and thrives is based on making you feel like something is constantly missing.
That’s why some of today’s most widely-received messages move around these truths: You are worthy. You are loved. You are more than enough. For all of us who carry wounds of the unseen variety—be it from a struggle with insecurity, bitterness, trauma, fear, or depression—these words soothe like a healing balm to a seared spirit.
But shifting from finding your worth in the world to finding it within yourself is not the solution. Because just like everyone else, the hard truth is that you, too, are broken in your own unique way. And looking to yourself to fix your own brokenness is like flimsily putting a bandage on your arm, when the damage is actually deep inside your heart. So while appreciating and loving yourself is a good step toward healing, it will not fully heal you. You will always find something unworthy, unloving, and lacking. This is why pursuing God and His perfect truth need to be the first and most important part of this picture. Outside God, genuinely embracing who you are and who you were made to be, is not just difficult to do—it is impossible.
You are worthy, because that is your identity in God. He has given you the greatest title—His child (1 John 3:1).
You are loved, because God, who is love Himself, loves you first and paid the ultimate price to demonstrate the extent of His love (1 John 4:9,10).
You are more than enough, because God, in spite of what you have done and have been through, says so. His Word carries far more weight than what you have to say about yourself (1 John 3:19,20).
Self-love may begin with a genuine desire to find out who you are, but it can only be nourished and fulfilled by looking to God. And His revolutionary approach to self-love runs counter-culture to how we may understand it to be.
Self-love that says, “This is who I am, and I cannot change,” is not truly love, but self-deception. Love does not insist on its own way (1 Corinthians 13:4), even when it comes to dealing with yourself. An honest awareness of your weaknesses, paired with an understanding of your God-given strengths, paves a powerful path for God to show you who you truly are in Him. There is no ounce of truth in the idea that you are unable to change. The Bible says in Romans 2:4 that the kindness of God is meant to lead us to repentance, and repentance in itself, is a change of heart.
You love yourself, so you travel. You love yourself, so you take time to relax. You love yourself, so you invest in working out and eating right. These things are good! Taking care of yourself is a way of faithfully stewarding the body God has given you. However, we miss out on a deeper level of self-love when focus only on what feels good.
In John 15:2, Jesus said that God prunes that which bears fruit so that they can continue to grow. To prune something means to cut or to take something away from it. Naturally, this process of being shaped is more often than not uncomfortable and painful. But God doesn’t desire to hurt us; He wants us to thrive and flourish.
God is always in the business of making things new. A favorite verse of mine to declare for this is 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” This verse doesn’t only apply on the day we receive Jesus in our hearts or when we get baptized; discovering who we are in God and walking with Him are part of a lifelong journey of always being made new. Isaiah 64:8 says, “We are the clay, and You are our Potter.” Self-love as directed by God means constantly surrendering yourself to be molded by Him, trusting that only the work of His hand can allow you to see and be the best version of who you are.