Redefining Your Worth
I live for moments when God unravels the carefully knitted, yet still messy patterns of this hand woven, yet still God breathe tapestry- my life - to reveal things, bring clarity, healing, hope and peace in my life. Today I’m not sharing about another adventure, but I’ve decided to open up and share a bit of my life, heart and faith with you.
Craig Groeschel preached a message titled "Run Your Race" with a premise on the curse of comparison that is plaguing our social media crazed generation. Nowadays, you don’t even have to try to compare, with the hundreds of social media platforms and blogs, instant messaging, check-ins and updates, it is much easier for the spirit of comparison to creep and settle in our spirt if we are not careful.
I loved the transparency in Pastor Craig's message as he opened up about areas of his life where he struggled with comparing himself to others, even in kingdom ministry work. Pastor Craig read from John chapter 20 and 22 where Peter and John were racing to the see the empty tomb. He dissected the scripture to show how John, “the one whom Jesus loved,” always wanted to be faster and better than the other disciples, especially Peter. In chapter 22, Jesus commanded Peter “feed my sheep,” but in turn Peter saw John and asked Jesus, but what about the one you love? Pastor Craig used this chapter to show that, you cannot faithfully follow Jesus if you’re comparing yourself to others.
Then he asked a question that really got me thinking: “Who or what is going to define my worth?” Simple, yet powerful question. Which requires a simple, yet powerful response. Jesus! Duh!
Well, I had to dig a little deeper on this one after the Holy Spirit nudged me to unravel some of the darkest days in my life. Not things I dwell on or talk about often.
My early days was not the easiest. My mother passed away when I was three years old. I don’t remember her. And if I’m honest with myself, till this day it bothers me that I’ll never know how a real mother’s love, care or touch would feel. So for years I’ve lived with relatives whom, let’s just say, treated me different.
At home, imagine, living with your paternal grandmother who would constantly remind you that you may not be her son’s daughter and she would tell you who could possibly be your real dad, and how I should go say hello sometime. Imagine living with your half siblings who didn’t consider you a sister, because you’re from a different mother.
I grew up with chronic ezcema, as per the doctor. It was incurable and so I was visibly scorned by many.
At age thirteen I moved from my paternal grandmother’s house to my maternal extended family. Now, imagine being given your own plate, cup and spoon and being told it’s the only ones you could use in the house. Even better, imagine being told you cannot sit on the chairs/sofas in the living room because of your skin condition so you always had to sit on the floor.
Last, but not least, imagine being in school with no friends, or maybe two because everyone else is scared to touch you. Imagine getting into one of the best high schools, but you had to transfer after one year, because the girls would tease you so bad, you just did not fit in. My eczema was so chronic, per the doctor, they couldn’t control it. It was an itch and a scab, itch and scab. And when they did control it, it was for a season, before you know it, the itch and scab would show up like clockwork, like fall into winter.
That saying about sticks and stones is a lie. I’ve had all sides – the sticks, the stones and the words too. And the words are the worst of them all.
Back to that nudge I got from the holy spirit.
Well this is what I was told, Mary, do you know that for years you’ve allowed certain words to define your worth and for years, before you really knew me, all the things you strived for and accomplished was a result of your grandmother and her chorus’ saying you would not amount to anything. Your need to prove them wrong was the biggest driver to your accomplishments, but that shouldn’t be. I’m glad you know better now.
I don’t necessarily struggle with the curse of comparison, mostly because of my humble upbringing. I know how to be content with little or nothing and I know what it means to have plenty and give thanks for that. However, I struggled, wrestled and battled with the impact of negative words that were spoken over my life, years ago. Words that I allowed, in part to define my worth.
For a long time I was running my race because of people. The ones who told me I would amount to nothing and the ones who also had high expectations of me. It was all about proving. I remember as a teenager, I would sometimes respond and say, “I will show you” and “you will see.” I was striving to prove instead of thriving in all God had for me.
Pastor Craig, in his message said, “There is no external win that will satisfy the internal spiritual longing that we have.” This could not be more true to my story. Since I really got to know Jesus and grow in my faith, I've moved from striving to thriving, my world has turned inside out. Last year, I experienced a deep peace that I cannot put into words even if I tried. I am living my best life. Sold out for Jesus. I am running a new race, the one God called has called me to. I love mentoring, traveling and just being excellent in whatever I am committed to - my job, relationships, serving at church. I am thankful that God used a message like “Run Your Race" to reveal things from my past, not so much things I dwell on, but to bring clarity and healing and peace. It has got to be the best thing ever!
If you’ve read all of the above, this means alot. Here’s one last thing, I’d like you to answer this, who or what is going to define your worth? At some point I had to run a different race to redefine my worth. I don’t know what race you’re running, but I’m here to encourage you to run YOUR race, not for your family, not for a superficial, fickle or fleeting prize, not that rat race among friends and co-workers, but fix your eyes on Jesus and run your race with purpose. Run to win.
Affirmation: I am God’s Masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he prepared in advance for me to do. I am called by God, equipped by God, empowered by God, filled with the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead, I am blessed coming in, I’m blessed going out, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I am keeping my eyes focused on Jesus the author and perfecter of my faith - Craig Groeschel