Do those words make you cringe? I still have to correct the beginnings of the cringe when I hear or see those words.
I question my value and worthiness almost daily and I bet you do too.
We question our worthiness when we feel we failed.
We question our worthiness when we feel we don’t measure up.
We question our worthiness when we feel rejected.
If you think about it, there is most likely a track running on repeat in your head, or that is cued up to begin at any given moment. That track might sound something like this:
Who do you think you are? Did you really think you could do that? No wonder they gave you the cold shoulder. Not only do people not have time for you, they really don’t want to make time for you. Why even dream? Why even try
Harsh? Yes. Accurate? Pretty close.
The reality is most of us chatter to ourselves all day long about our degree of worthiness in a way we would never allow our friends or loved ones to talk to themselves, yet the track runs unchecked day after day in the privacy of our minds.
What if we recorded a new track? What if the new track went something like this:
I am worthy of love and belonging no matter how others respond to me. I came to this earth with a gift to contribute. My contribution matters. I am human therefore I am valuable. I am worthy simply because I exist.
How does that feel? Uncomfortable? Exciting? Hopeful? Scary?
My own personal understanding of worthiness was intertwined with a toxic view of God. Your understanding of worthiness may have been shaped in a similar way or in a very different way. However it was shaped, if you struggle with feeling worthy of belonging, understanding how your definition of worthiness came to be is crucial.
I grew up believing the more I downplayed my value and declared my unworthiness, the more holy and righteous I must be. Only God deserved to be called worthy and valued. The more I made myself small, the more God would love me even though I had no business thinking God could love a horrible, evil-hearted human being like me
Some of you might be resisting that mightily, and I am guessing quite a few of you are resonating with my experience. It is unfortunate that almost every major religion has a sect or group within it that demands we deny our worthiness in exchange for a higher power’s worthiness. And, it’s not just religion that can create this cycle of doubt. Advertising, culture, brokenness in general, abuse, trauma, what we consume through screens…all of it contributes to how we see and value ourselves.
Imagine my shock when I began studying the Bible for myself in seminary to discover the God I found created me worthy. This God made me in the same God-image, bearing that same worthiness. This God desires relationship with humans, to be among us. This God is love and those who do not love miss the point.
My hunch from my youngest memories was correct. Love is the only answer. And, if love is the only answer then I am gloriously worthy of love, peace, hope, choice, belonging, purpose, respect, and all good things. ALL good things. I don’t have to question my value or purpose or whether it is selfish to intentionally care for myself so I am filled up and ready to care for others.
Love means loving myself and loving myself means embracing my own worthiness.
I challenge you to take one step towards your worthiness over the next week and add another each week until that track sounds different in your head. My rewiring and re-recording process began with the spiritual beliefs I was raised with, but that was just the beginning. I choose different movies and television now that I seek to honor my worthiness. I choose to put self-care as first as I can, some days I am better at this than others. I choose to meditate because it clears negative messages out of my brain. I eat in a way that fuels my body and emotions for positive output. The list is endless for how we can embrace our worthiness. The simplest of mantras will get you on the right track, “I was born worthy. My worthiness is non-negotiable.”