After thinking through another mass shooting in our country, I got to thinking about value.  What is it exactly that makes me valuable?  What makes you valuable?

I could give a great Sunday school answer right now…but instead, let’s do this.

For a ridiculously long part of my life, I would say that I determined my value based upon external things.  I was obsessed during late high school, college & early adulthood with weight.  I determined in those years that I was more valuable as a thin woman than as a larger one.  And I truly believed that I would be more valuable in the eyes of others that way too.  Ridiculous.

I have spent time determining my value based on the style and color of my hair.  Stressing over roots, worrying about it being too flat {in the 80’s} or too curly and unruly {anytime but the 80’s!}.  In junior high one time I actually refused to go to school {but lost my refusal when my dad was called at work.  whoops!}  because I could not get my bangs right.  I was convinced that I would not be accepted by my peers that day  with my hair in the condition that it was.  My poor grandmother tried to reason with me & explain that it really didn’t matter and that any peer who was not going to be my friend because my bangs weren’t a certain height off my forehead, should definitely not be my friend.  I couldn’t understand that though.  I was certain it mattered & my value as a human was wrapped up in my hair.  Ridiculous.

I have also spent time thinking it was all about all the material things I had.  Specific brands, specific styles.  My clothes needed to be like the latest catalog and my home needed to look like that most popular Pinterest board.  I believed that those were the things that determined who I was and what I was worth.  Ridiculousness!

Although I could certainly go on {and on and on } let’s wrap this little confessional up with the accolades of others.  I have spent way too much of my life basing my worth on what others are thinking about me.  I handed my life to them {whether real or the mask I wore} and asked them for a valuation.  What am I worth?  Good words and praises equalled great value.  Critiques and complaints {or even worse ignoring} equalled little value.  And the biggest trouble with handing over my life for outside valuation is no matter what the answer, it’s never quite a good enough value, it can always be improved upon & the craziness of the cycle continues…lose more weight, work out more, eat right, make sure my hair and make up and clothes are spot-on, get that new car, get that new house, go on that vacation.  Exhausting.

I don’t think we’re meant to be chasing a higher value this way.  And can it even be true?  Am I more valuable at 125 pounds or 250 pounds?  What happens if I gain weight?  Is my value as a human decreasing?  It can’t be.  I’m still me.  What about my hair or clothes?  If I’m sporting the best hair style {no roots to be found} and wearing the best brands in the latest fashions, am I of more worth than if I’m all rooty on top with last year’s styles? Can’t be.  If I have a great, successful career making oodles of bucks am I more valuable than the person working three jobs to just stay afloat?  I hope not!  Because what happens when I gain a few pounds or lose my hair or lose my job?

I also don’t think I’m meant to be valuing everyone around me either.  Sizing them up and critiquing their life to make a valuation about their worth.  And then treating them in a manner that my valuation dictates.  Ugh!  That’s ugly isn’t it?  But I’m afraid it’s true.  I do it & I’m sure many, many {let’s just say all} do it too.   What a tragedy of humanity.

I guess I believe {or I’m learning to believe & trying hard to live it} that value is set.  No matter what I do or look like or own, I have value.  And the other side of that pancake, no matter what you do or look like or own, you have value.  And that value is not something that rises and falls.  It is steady.  Constant.  And it is high.  I believe that I am valuable simply because of the One who made me.  Simply because I am.  I am not valuable because of what I have, how I look or what is said about me.  I am valuable because I was made to be valuable.  And so were you.  And so was every.single.human I will ever lay eyes on or hear about or never meet on this planet.  every.single.human.  Valuable simply because they were made.  Exhale that a second.  That’s freedom.  That’s rest.  That’s stopping the shimmy-for-value game that we play.   All of us!  Our worth is set.  I will not be more valuable tomorrow because I’m already as valuable as I can be today.  I will not be less valuable in a year, because I’m already as valuable as I can be now.  And you too!  That, my friends, is freedom!  And likewise with every person on the earth.  Our value is definite, great and never lost!

Now to pass this along to my littles.  To teach them that even though everything they see on media, everything they hear in commercials and read in magazines that says ‘do this to be cool’ or ‘if you own this, you’ve made it’, is a flat out lie.  It’s a chase for worth & value that is smoke & mirrors.  I want to teach them that no matter what, they are valuable because they are.  Because the One who made them says they are.  And I want them to believe it, to know it deep down in their insides and live it out in everything they do.  To not have to chase the wind, but to love the Wind Maker and know he adores them and has placed great value on them!

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