The Price Isn't Right

Recently, I had a friend ask me how many boys I had dated.  It wasn't the question itself that got to me, it was the context of how it was asked-- as though my answer would reveal something of how successful I was.  My gut-reaction was a feeling of unworthiness, and an inflammation of insecurities I often refuse to acknowledge even exist.

But the more I thought about the question, the more annoyed I became.  My value should not be determined by my dating history.  My refusal to accept this led me to ask some further, deeper questions over the course of the next few days.  How do I define my value?  Am I successful?

I could define myself by a number.  The paycheck I get every few weeks, the number on the scale, my percentage on a test, social media "followers" or "friends"... it's easy to get hung up on these things.  I often find myself measuring the success of my blog by the number of viewers or the number of successive posts.  Numbers are a quick and easy way to compare things, but do they accurately measure a persons success?

After all, how much is enough?  At what salary do you reach the title "successful?"  At what weight do you stop trying to shed a few pounds?  How many likes does it take to be a worthy person?

Or, should I avoid numbers all together?  I am often tempted to find my worth in others opinions of me.  If she thinks I'm nice or he thinks I'm pretty, doesn't that make it true?  But once again I find myself in a place of endless striving.  If you find your worth in people there will always be one more judge to impress or one more smile to earn.

And then, in the midst of all my insecurities and self-doubt, I remembered a verse that I found in middle school.  I used to read it again and again, but over time it had faded from my mind and other things had pressed forth.   Now it silenced those questions of value and worth with an answer of it's own: 

"Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give nations in exchange for you and peoples in exchange for your life." -Isaiah 43:4

I had found my answer.  I had been declared worthy long ago by the God who gave up His Son in exchange for my life.   Just as no action of mine could earn that worth, I also could not diminish it.  It was a fixed point, not a number or a changing opinion, but a love far beyond my greatest imagination.  

There are days when I don't feel like I am enough, but those are the days when I chose to take my self-worth and invest it elsewhere.  Those are the days that I find myself striving and pushing and fighting with everything, and still never measuring up.  But I can chose to invest myself in something greater, placing my worth in something infinite and eternal.  I am not a number.  I am not a list of achievements or a total of past choices.  I am part of the bride of Christ.  I am a child of God.  I have been declared worthy and any fear that tells me otherwise is simply a lie.

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'Only in returning to me, and resting in me will you be saved.  In quietness and confidence is your strength.  But you would have none of it." -Isaiah 30:15


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