It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking your worth as a person also comes from what you do instead of who you are. It is also easy to see your worth as being reflected off others instead of shining out from inside. When you allow other people or outside situations to provide your validation, you make yourself hostage to them.
When we validate ourselves, we recognize our worth. Notice I didn’t say we generate our worth, or create our worth, or cause our worth. Each of us has a worth, a value is inherent in us as people; this value is a gift from God.
God knows you and loves you, as you. Your value and worth as a person do not derive from what you do or who you’re in a relationship with. It doesn’t spring out of how much money you make, or how attractive you are, or how many times you can get an answer right. Your value is deeply rooted in your identity in God.
There are times when it seems we have to stand alone and shout out our value to a deaf world. Those around us who should have joined in a chorus with loud and enthusiastic voices are either silent or murmuring a negative undercurrent. So often this happens when we’re most vulnerable – as children. We take the silence of our parents or trusted adults as proof we are not worthy or special. We listen to their murmurs and turn up the volume until that din is all we can hear. Yet, deep in our hearts, we know this isn’t true; we know deep in our hearts this is somehow wrong and unfair.
Sometimes we are taught that it’s wrong to validate ourselves. Maybe you’ve been taught it’s boastful or prideful to love yourself. If remember sitting in Bible classes as a child and learning I was supposed to love myself last on a list that went something like God, others, self. It was as if there was only so much love to go around, and you weren’t supposed to hoard it for yourself but rather give up your supply of love for everyone else. If you had any left over for yourself it was because you hadn’t given up enough to God or others.
I believe this is faulty reasoning. After all, doesn’t God say you are to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18)? Galatians 5:14 says that the entire law of God is summed up in that single command. And didn’t Paul in Ephesians 5:28-29 say that a man was to love his wife like he loved his own body, in the same way Christ loves His church? It seems to me that loving yourself is a fundamental principle of God. Loving yourself is not supposed to be subservient to the love of others; love of self is the basis for love of others. This is why it is so important to be able to validate yourself as a person, created and loved by God, with intrinsic value and worth just for who you are. Validation isn’t something to be earned; it is something to be claimed.
Please know that God joins you in your validation. He’s the author of your worth and value, so why shouldn’t He shout it out with you? In The Message, Eugene Peterson translates Psalm 37:5-6 this way: “Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done. He’ll validate your life in the clar light of the day and stamp you with approval at high noon.”
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 38 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.