I find it alarming how much we blow in the wind like leaves dangling from branches. We bask in the sunshine of praise and clamor for more, and the next person who doesn’t appreciate our praise worthy characteristics deflates us instantly and we droop dejectedly.
I have just spent ten months jumping through ever escalating hoops, twisting in the wind at the whims of a self admitted petulant egotist. Having risen to her every occasion I actually enabled her.
The co-dependence hinged on my ability to retrieve or create whatever bit of minutia she demanded within minutes, and her barest acknowledgment of appreciation. Those rare nods at approval, dispensed by the eye dropper full, were the only sustenance I received. I mastered spread sheets and deadlines, for 5 intertwined entities. The calisthenics of the mind that I performed were gold medal deserving.
All the while I doubted my abilities, I doubted my constitution, I doubted my very faculties. Why?
Because I wasn’t bathed in appreciation? Because I was taken advantage of? Toted along on a current of implausible demands? Each more innocuous than the last?
What I failed to recognize is that I rose to the challenge and surpassed it. I engaged in each task as if it were a duel set forth by my mental Sensei and I vanquished it. All the while steeped in prayer, imploring the Holy Spirit to actually do my work! Haha! Which He did! Many a time.
But the question begs, Who do I say that I am? And why? By whose esteem do I set my tenuous own? Why is the value that others place upon us the gradient that we in turn measure ourselves?
Who cares what they think?
We should ultimately regard the one true judge of our work, of our play of our faith. Our almighty God.
Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6
The exhaustion and mental gymnastics aside, I was quite capable of doing all of the work. So why was it for nine months my confidence and esteem were shaken and stirred like a rock tumbler? Because though I prayed, I forgot that my first and foremost title was Child of the One True God.
I was weighing my worth by the automatic response of a person steeped in a career so daunting as to have lost all touch with reality. Her every waking and breathing was swinging precariously atop the merit her bosses placed upon her. Like the silly clown balanced on the tee in that child’s game Tip-it.
The trickle down effect put a damper on all she touched, including three husbands, dozens of workers, friends, neighbors. The only adjective I think of to describe her with is -impossible. The drama that goes along with “impossible”, is staggering. Her needs could never ever be fully met.
When she returned from a much needed vacation I saw in her the sparkle and sweetness of her true nature. I took the opportunity to engage in a true conversation to extol the virtues of balance, harmony, and living with intention. She was enraptured with these concepts, and I became her confidante. She soon recognized the Holy Spirit not whispering in her ear, but using “a megaphone” to get her attention as she put it, on those very topics.
Her short lived joy drained away replaced by tension and angst in the post-vacation return to reality. Curt snappish replies quickly returned. My work complete I moved on to a new project, in an alternate universe. The complete opposite atmosphere and pace of work. With a resounding appreciation of my abilities apparent from day one. Of course the horror I just escaped an all too necessary proving ground for this new project. (As I always say God is no waster of things.)
So in doing the same exact work, with the same exact challenges, requiring the same exact skill set and accuracy, how did I go from barely being able to look in the mirror to confident achiever? Gone were the constant cutting judgments and concerns, replaced with respect and appreciation of work being done to the best of my ability.
I am the same person, doing the same work. So where does my self-worth come from?
Once again the devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young surprised me with this passage:
“My Children make a pastime of judging one another–and themselves. But I am the only capable Judge, and I have acquitted you through My own blood. Your acquittal came at the price of My unparalleled sacrifice. That is why I am highly offended when I hear My children judge one another or indulge in self-hatred.
If you live close to Me and absorb My Word, the Holy Spirit will guide and correct you as needed…..”
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
I was so self absorbed in pleasing someone who was herself twisting in the capricious wind for others, that I was lost my self worth. My self worth comes from the Lord. He is my compass. He is my judge, He is my redeemer. He fills the voids, He lights the way. He is the one I need to please.
I don’t need to look to another to approve of me. God is the great decider and judge. He will prove me and refine me.
Help me to remember that you come first in all I do and say. Help me to work to the very best of my abilities always aware of the depth of your love. And in that love I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Let me be conscious of the fact that I am your child first so that all the other titles I bear will be with joy and confidence.