True or False? My identity & worth are defined by how others feel about me.
You may immediately say “false” out loud, but how are you answering this question in your heart? If you are anything like me, you might say, I want to believe this statement is false, but I at times I am tempted to live as though this statement were true.
Have you noticed that our society pressures us to always be trying to prove we are worthy of someone else’s attention? We need affirmation that the vacation we went on impresses people or that the event we attended was significant enough for people to give us their attention for a few fleeting moments. We begin to look for anything and everything we have done to throw at people hoping someone will notice us and give us a pat on the back. And we feel like a failure when we are unnoticed because that means what we did wasn’t significant enough to wow someone. We determine our worth by other people’s response to our lives.
Let’s look at facebook for example. The entire premise is that you tell the world what you are up to and hope that someone responds. What would be even better than acknowledgement from one person in cyberspace, would be to state what you are up to in such a clever way, that it causes multiple responses from other fb users. That’s what we believe, right? Now, I am not saying that facebook is a bad thing, but let’s be honest, who hasn’t felt some sort of pressure to say something clever or to come up with a creative way of telling the world that we’re really not doing anything interesting today.
But we continue to update out status hoping to impress the world with something that we have done. We are searching for acceptance through our current “status update.” We are defining ourselves and our lives by the one liners we can write on a cyberspace wall.
But this is just one example of how we try to define our lives by what we have done or are currently doing. And let me tell you I am right there with you feeling pressured to be clever or hoping someone responds to a post. So today is a day to remind myself that my worth and my identity are not based on what I can accomplish or by how others feel about my contributions in this life.
Rather, it is in Christ that my identity and worth are determined. In Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Ephesians 1:11-12 we find this:
11-12It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
Today I need to be reminded that my identity and worth are not set by anyone on this earth. It truly is in Christ that I find out who I am and what I’m living for.
Maybe you need to be reminded of this same truth today. Cut yourself a little slack to be less that perfect, to say something that no one else thinks is clever or to tell a story that no one is interested in. Look to Christ for your affirmation, not to man.
Man will always disappoint us because God did not create him to make us feel good about ourselves, so today let’s stop giving people that authority. Let’s surrender our worth and our identity to what God says about us and not man’s response to us.
I’ll be praying for you. Will you pray for me?