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The cruelty of this life occurs when it takes away what we never intended to give up.  Our happiness. Our peace. Our innocence.  The good we’ve stored away seems stolen.  The trust we’ve handed out, misused. Our value, misplaced and trampled upon.  We live with the residual scars from battles won, and the open wounds from battles lost. The way we view ourselves comes into question while the way we view the world becomes cloudy. We fail to understand that nothing has been taken, but much has been lost. So how do we determine our value when it seems as though everything around us is in competition to claim it?

We have to believe that God is stronger. He is our Maker. He understands our value. Christ loved us so much that He came and died for our sins so that we may be saved, and yet we don’t value ourselves enough to put an end to our destructive behavior. Instead, we give ownership of our value to people or things that aren’t interested in returning the favor. Let’s be clear. Your career can be lost. Your friends can disappear. Your relationships can fail. Only in God’s hands is our self-worth truly protected, improved upon, and cherished.

God’s perfect love for us knows no bounds. It is not impacted by fleeting emotions or our temperamental behavior. Unfortunately, for some of us, that’s isn’t enough. Instead of embracing His  love, we focus our energy on reclaiming what has been lost and building up what was never had. We look for anything to makes ourselves feel better so much so that our flawed desires become the driving force behind our decisions and how we define our self-worth. It’s up to us to stop fooling ourselves into thinking the next promotion or relationship will make the difference.  Lasting relief won’t come if we gain new friends or are accepted by family. God must become our everything. He cannot be taken, but He can be lost.

When we veer off the path, temporary solutions are ready to distract us from long term goals. For a moment, our senses are dulled and it seems as if the emptiness has dissipated.  Not so… it rises again with even more strength, but don’t worry. God is still stronger. Spend time getting to know your Maker. Understand your value. With God, our impossible is His possible, because there is nothing God cannot do.  He keeps our best interest in mind, even when we don’t.  Yes, His expectations for us are high, but have no fear, He’s a team player. God wants to build us up.  He has no interest in tearing us down.  He wants to see us achieve the best versions of ourselves while maintaining internal peace.  God is always rooting for us, even when no one else is… and that includes ourselves.

In the same way God finds value in us, it’s important for us to cherish the value in others. It hurts to be mistreated by the people we love. It hurts even more when we continue to allow it.  We aren’t stronger for letting others walk all over us.  Mercy and grace should never be mistaken for a reason to endure mistreatment. We also should not have a spirit of vengeance of selfishness. We don’t have the right to mistreat others. If anything, mercy and grace are what allow us to respect the value of others while being at peace regarding the outcomes.

God knows the importance of peace through the good and the bad, because peace is a cornerstone of self-worth.  Peace is what allows us to withstand the trials with grace because we are content in our current state.  It helps our self-worth/self-esteem to not be impacted by what is going on around us, for we know that it doesn’t define us. Peace takes up the space where covetousness, anger, and rash behavior normally dwell.  It’s a spiritual blocker for the many sins of which we struggle.  Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Peace is not just a feeling, it’s a defense mechanism against everything that stands to tear us down.

So how do you move forward when you’d rather stand still? Ask God. He is our provider. He is our peace giver. He knows our value. Our self-worth takes a hit every time we go along with living lives in contradiction to the character of Christ.  We are essentially saying to ourselves that we aren’t worth fighting for anymore and it’s okay to give in to life’s vices. God’s love is officially on mute. So stop. Unmute God, and get to know Him.  The more you experience His love, the more you will know your value.  No matter what happens, you’ll remember God will always be stronger. So spend time with your Maker. It will help you understand your heavenly value.

E.

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