Weeks ago I was laying flat on my back with a headache. As Rick, my husband, walked past I said "I feel worthless; I'm just laying here doing nothing." That was before I got the test results that told me that I have a CSF leak. You would probably think that finding out that I have the leak made me feel like it was ok to lie around. But I really don't like lying around. I like to be up and doing things. I like to be the one serving others. I like to be active and involved. And there's really nothing wrong with that. But in this period of time, many of the things that fed my worth have been stripped away and it's a struggle for me emotionally.
Our society equates worth with what we contribute. I can remember as a young stay-at-home wife and mother attending business parties with my husband. Other women would ask me, "What do you do?" My answer that I was home full-time was usually met with a polite dismissing comment and they would excuse themselves to talk to someone who seemed more interesting to them. I was happy to be home with my kids, but these encounters still stung. Part of the way I dealt with it was to remember that my contributions weren't financial but they were still important. And that way of thinking has carried me for a lot of years. Again, I don't think that it's a bad way to think.
But like God so often does when we're on the edge of the truth, he finds a way to bring me into his center because God doesn't want me to stay on the edge. All these years I've been justifying my lack of outside employment and how that ties to my worth by looking at all of the ways I contribute through my life. I could count up hours instead of dollars and I felt good about how much I was pouring myself out to serve others even if I wasn't making any money doing so. I still felt like I was contributing--to my home, to society, to God's kingdom.
God says my worth comes from who I am and whose I am, not my tasks. I've said I believed that for years. But if I truly believe that, when my tasks have to slow down or stop, I wouldn't feel worthless. Scripture over and over talks about worthless idols and often when people are described as worthless it is because of their idol worship. Am I an idol worshipper? Maybe, if the idol is being healthy or being the one who jumps to help others. (Remember an idol is anything that takes the place of honor that should only be reserved for God. If these things are more important than doing what God asks, they've become idols)
So when I first had to start staying home more and laying around more I thought, "Ok, I'll just be the prayer warrior. I can't go in and serve but I can be useful by praying like crazy while I'm home." Again, this isn't a bad thing. It's awesome to pray for others but my ability to spend time praying for others doesn't give me my worth anymore than a job or volunteering or any task does. Philippians 3 says, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9and become one with him." (NLT) Christ is the one who gives me my worth. Not because of anything in me or anything I do, but because of HIM! Psalm 139:13-15 reminds me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and again the thing that tells me is that my worth comes from being made by God. It says "wonderful are your works." Not because we're special on our own but because God is special and he made us.
So if my worth comes from being created by God and the gift of Christ's righteousness, I can rest in that when I can't do anything else. When I can't do anything else, I can still love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. (Mark 12:28-34) So when I go back to the basic questions; "What gives me my worth? What makes my life worthwhile?" I can fall back on the truth of scripture and remember that there's nothing I can do that will add to what Christ has already done. I just need to live my life worshiping the one who gave me life and has allowed my present circumstances. That's a lesson worth learning.