An Authentic, Sometimes Gritty, and Always Hopeful Blog for All Who Live with Severe Physical Pain

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where Does My Self Worth Come From?

Note:  Update on me at the bottom of the post for those interested.

Coffee is very important to me.  In fact, I hold a gold card from Starbuck’s--as you can see inthe photo.  Are you impressed? 

It was seven years ago this week, when coffee was the gateway through which my life was changed.

On that fateful day I was sitting down early in the morning with my first cup of coffee, reviewing my September calendar.  And, feeling pretty good about myself as I perused my busy life.  I was involved with many things that I believed mattered--president of my daughter’s school Parent-Teacher Organization, chair of our church’s youth committee, bible study teacher, writer of a teaching program I was hoping to pitch to a large Christian publishing house, yada, yada, yada…. 

I reached for my coffee, eager to take that first sip.  When I did, the bolt of lightning called trigeminal neuralgia shot through my face, changing everything I believed to be true about my life.

Many of those supposed truths were lies.In God’s grace, He has used, and continues to use
illness and pain to show me the goodness of truth.

Here’s a big one:  

Lie: My Self Worth is made up of How well I Perform  plus  Others’ Approval of me.

Before I became ill, I impressed even myself on how much I got done!  I took pride in how much I accomplished, whether it was work-related, volunteer, or other.  I looooved “To-Do” Lists., so much so that I always added something on top of the list I had already accomplished, just so I could check it off!  If I was given a role, I did it to the max--no middle ground.  Did I wait to consider if I was the right person for the job?  Rarely.  I just plunged in, sure I should and could do it.

And I lived for the approval of others.  I could turn what should be a one-day project into a five day project, not only because I wouldn't allow myself to find an appropriate middle ground,  but mostly because I got high on being liked, approved, respected, or admired.  And, it had nothing to do with needing to work hard to put food on the table as is the case with many who are doing anything they can these days to hang onto their jobs--I only needed to feed my self worth.  My crazyness got me in the habit of putting my own physical, emotional and spiritual needs at the bottom of the food chain.

When I became ill, as ridiculous as it sounds,  I couldn’t imagine giving things up.  I kidded myself by believing that people were counting on me!  Mostly I needed their approval, and needed to perform.  I also was cocky enough to think, although I would have never said it aloud, that I was more capable than others who might step in. 
Over time, however, pain and medication combined to turn my memory into mud, and caused my emotions to bounce around like ping-pong balls tossed into the air.  My ability to perform began to falter as I missed meetings, forgot to return phone calls, and overlooked important tasks. 

I also lost my “filter” for thinking through my words before I spoke them.  (Admittedly, I’ve always had trouble here--I blame my ADD.  But nothing like this!)  I said things that caused hurt feelings and lost the respect of a few people whom I cared about. 

People no longer loved me!  (Actually, a few even thought of me as a real jerk.)

A sign that God is at work in us is that he is destroying
our confidence in our natural inclinations.
Oswald Chambers

Yep, my confidence was destroyed….in a big way.

It seems that every good change in me, first requires a major humbling--in this case it was an outright humiliation.  It saddens me that I have to be driven to ground zero before I truly go to God in search of help. 

Yet, when I did go to Him for help, he revealed the truth.

God’s truth:  My Self Worth comes from what His word says about me, such as these below:

Who I Am:I am a child of God . John 1:12I am the apple of God’s eye. Ps 17:8I am a saint. Eph 1:1I am an alien to this world. 1 Peter 2:11I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.   Colossians 3:12I am made alive in Christ. Eph 2:5I am righteous and holy. Eph 4:24I am part of the true vine. John 15:

In a nugget, I am loved and worthy, simply because I am His.

Through these years, God has continued to drive the truth home.  It's been a slow and continued process to recognize that there is nothing I need to do or CAN do to be more valuable or worthy.  Nor do I need to earn anyone's approval besides His.  I am completely and unconditionally loved and worthy
 because Christ is in me.

What freedom there is now in my work;
What relaxation I find around people.
 How many more things I enjoy;
How fewer things about which I worry.  

But, let’s get back to my Starbuck’s Gold Card…  I received it in the mail a few months ago with a fancy congratulations letter.  It has zero value to it--it’s simply a “status card” sent out to customers who have purchased at least 30 cups of coffee within a year’s time.  It says “You’re Important”, “You’re Worthy.”  I made fun of the whole idea of the card when it arrived.

…But I’ve saved it in a little drawer of keepsakes.


Still Sinning--


Update on Me:  In my last post, I asked you to pray for my surgeon to give my case its due consideration, to relieve pain in the site of surgery, to bring up the droop to my lip.

Check, check and check!  My surgeon feels confident that everything he removed was from botched oral surgery in my teenage years that had slowly caused other tissue around it to die, leaving it fibrous and scarred.  All pathology reports were clear, however, I was never worried about that.   I am feeling relief in the site of surgery, and still have about four more weeks of true recovery to go!  And that droop to my smile is coming back up.  Praise God!  Thank you for your prayers! 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Judy-
    Congratulations on CHECK, CHECK & CHECK!!

    Oh my-how I related to this posting, throughout the years I too thought "All the Doors" were open to me and had tons of Vanity, too much.

    Then along came a tree, I refused to STOP~~~
    Within minutes my life was forever changed and nothing was ever going to be the SAME again.

    Its a fair statement to say I shut down and lived inside the walls of our home, just Me & Pain-as I watched every bit of Who I once was-
    slide right past me until I finally BROKE DOWN
    letting my heart open to hear HIS words,
    "See-I will not forget you... I have carved
    you on the Palm of my Hand.." Isaiah 49:15

    Now I cling to those words-sometimes with bare knuckles as my body is so worn down from constant Pain-leaving me in a helpless mess where all I can do is utter "Please Lord, Please help me get through this moment."

    I am worthy of HIS love~~~

    God bless you so much for this post. It hit home, my words probably run together as your words poured into my heart...

    Blessings and Love always for you Dear Judi.