Your value is not achievement based.
You are a created being of the only wise king.
Your value comes from the simple unalterable fact that your very life is generated from God himself.
What you accomplish, what you look like, your status in this old world neither adds nor detracts from your actual value. Humans are vile, selfish creatures and we are beautiful and kind. There is the Devil and God in us all. It is the image of God in us that gives us our value.
I am a productive person. Hard work and accomplishment fuel me. Because of that, I tend to place my value in what I can achieve. If I haven’t achieved near perfection in all aspects of my life then I suddenly see a void of value in myself. It’s my natural bend. My dad taught me to work hard, think smart and be exemplary. I have twisted his teaching time and again to mean that I must work better, be smarter and achieve everything or I am nothing.
Now here I sit nursing a newborn. We just moved into our house and there are unpacked boxes and messes everywhere I look. Being stuck on the couch, constantly nursing makes me feel impotent against the things that “simply must me done”. This is a time I desperately want to go into hyper productive mode but because I am still healing from labor and because I have to care for the needs of my baby I have to sit back and wait. I know in my head that things will come together but I feel so useless in the mean time. I feel incompetent and lacking in value.
This is where I remember that God hasn’t said that I need to do or be something for him to love me. This is a time when I am obliged to be unproductive and rest in the knowledge that He delights in me just because I am me.
When my kids feel upset with who they are or what they look like I tell them they they were purposefully made by God and that he never makes mistakes. You are valuable because you are you. If you weren’t then He never would have asked his only son to dedicate his earthly life to his own rejection, destruction and resurrection.
Which brings me to another point. Life is valued in this world if that life has something to offer. We love children because they are cute and a part of ourselves but if that child is still in the womb and is inconvenient we eradicate him or her. Because that life doesn’t contribute to what we want we destroy it.
The elderly are the people in this world who wear a crown of silver and should be honored for the lives they lived and the wisdom they have amassed and yet they are put away from family into nursing homes. They no longer contribute, they are no longer beautiful; they are rejected.
Our world loves beautiful, strong, intelligent people. They are valued. But what about the woman with chronic migraines who can do nothing but lay in a darkened room until her next appointment with the neurologist? She gives nothing to society and lives in constant pain, is her life no longer valuable? What of the people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, and myriads of other debilitating conditions; they can do little to contribute. Why does our world feel that they lack value?
These thoughts first became real to me when Jack was placed on hospice. The hospital didn’t want to do any more interventions on him because they felt it was only reducing his “quality of life” and delaying the inevitable. He is now very alive because we challenged the notion that it is better to die on morphine then to try everything we could to fight for his life.
Life is life, we cannot put it on a scale and measure the value of one life over the other. God builds his church on the backs of the broken and useless. He sees only life and not the accomplishments or failures of that life.
“… then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”