I was sitting in church in Phoenix, Arizona in August of 2015, and I felt more out of place than ever. It was an odd feeling for me as I had grown up a pastors daughter. In my child hood I slept between the pews as often as I slept in my own bed. So it was a foreign concept that I should feel out of place in church.
I had just graduated high school and was attending my first year of college. I had been asked to help with the worship department of a new church plant in the city. I had met with the pastors and enthusiastically agreed to help but in my head I was groaning due to the suffocating obligation I felt to be a part of church ministry.
The spring before I had just confided to my parents that I had been sexually abused, raped, by a family friend of ours for almost my entire time in high school. And I had just started my journey to healing. Looking back now I had no idea how in over my head I was about to be as I worked through the pain and hardship of overcoming severe trauma.
So as I said the words “I’d love to help”, even though I didn’t mean it, I wondered what it was that made me so reluctant to be a part. And why did I find myself sitting in the church I was helping in feeling so out of place? What was causing me to recoil away from the one place I’m supposed to find solace in?
The answer to that question came loud and clear one Sunday morning.
I found no value in myself. So I therefore found no value in the ministry I was doing.
Being a victim of abuse, my sense of worth had been torn away from me. And it had been absent for so long I didn’t even realize it was missing.
That very Sunday I found myself wanting to be anywhere but church, but my pastor was giving a sermon about value. He showed a painting on the screen that honestly looked like a baboon had been given a paint brush and splattered paint all over a canvas.
When he told us the price of this painting many in the congregation audibly expressed their shock as the value of the painting was priced over $1000. He then explained that the value wasn’t found in the painting itself but who painted it.
This simple metaphor with a stupid overpriced painting changed everything for me.
My value wasn’t found in myself. It didn’t matter if I was good or bad. My value was found in my creator.
I am worth it because God is.
And if God is good and he made me then I must be worth something.
It seems an almost elementary concept but it’s so important.
Our value can’t be dependent on us because we will fall short. Our value is high because our creator is never-failing.
And there’s a sort of relief that comes with that. Trying to find your self-worth within your own actions is exhausting because you’ll never find it to the full capacity that God can show you.
Our culture today often tells us the opposite of this. Our value is based on what we do, how we act, how we dress. Which is why I think so many people are so dissatisfied with their lives.
So if you find yourself searching desperately for your self-worth remember that God thought you valuable enough to send His son to die for you. And your worth is found in Him. And He is never ever going to fail you. So that must make you a pretty treasured part of His creation.