For a chunk of years now I’ve been aware of some self-worth issues I have. The best I can describe it is having this underlying emptiness, as if I’m missing something and need to be or do something (i.e. dress right or have a girl’s attention or be doing something productive) in order to feel full again. And for years I’ve been taught that my identity, my sense of worth, comes from God and God alone. The trouble, though, is sometimes I don’t know what that means. Simply thinking the words God makes me whole doesn’t really fix anything. And to be honest it’s pretty frustrating knowing only God can make me whole while still having this emptiness day after day after day. So what now?
I’ve tried to think of some clever new idea or catchphrase that might make you think completely different about self-worth. But I can’t, heh. I just keep coming back to little and sporadic times where I am fine being me. So let’s talk about those, cause they’re making me happy thinking about them now.
I live in a dorm with these three guys who are simply the best. I’ve known one of them my whole life, the other I met in high school, and the guy who sleeps in the bottom bunk became one of my best friends freshman year of college. We do a lot of stupid stuff together that leaves me laughing hysterically – stuff like this…
And when I think back, this laughter they give me lets me forget a lot of those lies I tell myself. Even just now Brett made me laugh over some tiny thing I can’t even remember, and it may have seemed trivial then but in reality he gave me another moment to be whole again. And that means the world to me.
And then there’s Christmas. Sweet, warm, lovely Christmas. Quiet falling snow, candle-lit choir singing Silent Night, sleepily gathering around the Christmas tree. Emmanuel, God is finally with us. Peace on earth. Skating at Centennial lakes. Evenings saturated with the Minnesota Boys choir and the Christmas lights sparkling brighter yet softer as the sun goes down. Even the night is bright. There’s Jesus, in a thousand mangers, residing in a billion hearts, even here in our little home. Have yourself a merry little Christmas. So there – with my very Scandinavian family, bundled in warm boots and scarves and coats, hope and peace and Jesus quietly falling from the sky – the underlying emptiness is overwhelmed by all the fullness of God-with-us. And I’m whole again if only for a couple moments.
Lastly, there’s this alarm I have on my phone. It goes off four or five times throughout the day. The first one just says Grace and the ones following simply say Upon Grace. It’s something small and admittedly sometimes I just ignore it. But at least once a day one of these alarms will pull me out of all the distractions of my day and put me where I need to be, face to face with God my Father. And there we’ll chat about how sweet it is to just be with each other in the chaos and confusion of the day. All that I was worrying about or thought was so important quietly slips out the door and it’s just me and Him. Those little moments make me feel whole again, loved again.
For me this issue of self-worth can seem overwhelming, as if I’ll never be able to overcome it or maybe I’ll feel like this forever. And when I look at any issue as huge and lifelong and insurmountable it really gets me in a slump. But the truth is I’m only in this one moment. I don’t have to “beat this” right now. It’s ok for these things to take time as they so often do. So why don’t we pack some good memories in our backpacks and take on this day one moment at a time. As the gently profound children song goes:
Little by little in every way,
little by little in every day,
my Jesus is changing me.