Stephanie Pearce: See your value — don’t live in shame
November 15, 2015
A few years back, I wrote a column called "How Much are You Worth?" I went back and read it this last week. It still speaks to me, especially in this month of November. This is the month where we really concentrate on the things we are thankful for. I'm so thankful for knowing my worth and knowing I am increasing in value as the years go by.
We've all done things we aren't proud of. They may have even consumed our lives to the point that it was hard to see us without seeing the thing we were doing. When the things we've done are all we can see, we see our value diminish. We devalue ourselves or use other's opinions of us as an excuse to devalue ourselves. We forget who we really are when we let those things determine our value.
When I was young, I struggled so much with my self-worth. I didn't think I measured up to my peers in so many ways. I lived in a trailer on a nice sized lot that my friends so lovingly named "the junk yard." I didn't have the nicest clothes or participated in the latest fads. I cut my own hair for as long as I could remember because we couldn't afford a salon visit, and I wanted layered hair like everyone else. I wasn't in sports growing up because we couldn't afford them. Like so many teenage girls, I sought out ways to feel like I belonged.
Later on, I ended up giving birth to an amazing baby boy. While I was pregnant with him, I was shamed at every turn. I was shamed at church, at home and by friends.
I tried so hard to overcome the shame that was laid on me. I went to college, worked a full time job, and did my best to provide a better future for my son. I was still young though, so I did still make some pretty stupid choices, but I was proud of where I was going. Even though I was moving in the right direction, I still had to overcome the shame I had experienced daily.
It wasn't until many, many years down the road that I learned I didn't need to wear this shame anymore. When you have children, you finally see the love of God. When my kids make mistakes, the last thing I want is for them to carry that with them forever. I don't want them to see themselves through their mistakes. I want them to see themselves how I see them. Then it hit me, this must be how my God sees me. He doesn't want me to feel the weight of my mistakes because He sees through them.
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We should not value ourselves by the worst things we have done. We should value ourselves by the best things our God has done for us. When I do that, I see that He thinks I'm very valuable and only getting more and more so.