It’s easy to feel worthless.
It creeps up on you quietly, hitting you at your desk, when you look at your work and wonder if what you’re doing really matters.
Or it stops you as you’re folding laundry, holding a towel in your hand and not seeing how what you’re doing matters.
Feelings of worthlessness are found in the everyday tasks. This idea that our days are full but void of purpose.
And we look around us and see people who are hustling. Who have places to go and things to do that seem so much more important than the task we have at hand. Our to-do list of the mundane as they rush off to the jet-set of vigorous action.
Is there something more I should be doing?
What am I missing? What do they know/think/do that I don’t?
Yes, it’s easy to slip into the mindset that what we do, that who we are doesn’t matter.
So we try to fix it. With a burst of energy we step out and try to make purpose where there feels like none.
Maybe this trip to the gym, the store, finishing that task, having a spotless house, dashing around so that it looks like I have something to do, places to be, people to see.
Absorbing that feeling of fullness when people notice what you do. Believing that our actions will raise our value stakes in these relationships and world around us. If we can just do that one thing and do it perfectly, then this shriveled up piece inside of me will plump up, somehow.
How’s it working?
If you’re anything like me, not very well.
Trying to live up to the names that I’m given based on the things that I do is exhausting. Smart, mother, teacher, high-capacity, homemaker, job-seeker, caregiver, support person.
Or the names that I hear in my head that have echoed what others have said through my past. Ambitious, proud, overweight, opinionated, too weak, too strong, selfish.
Are these some of your words? Or maybe you have words of your own. Labels that you’ve been given by others or have accepted from your own opinion of yourself.
Maybe worthless is one of your words too.
Take a minute and think of your words, your labels, positive and negative, that other people have given you or that you’ve placed on your own emotional name tag.
How does living up to these words feel? Are you frustrated? Exhausted? Intimidated? Running on the wheel in an attempt just to keep the good labels and offset the bad?
It’s been so easy in my life to accept these labels about myself. To associate these words with identity, and yes, to even associate these words with God and how he thinks of me.
The lens through which we see God gets clouded by the word-breath of others and we can’t see him clearly.
We start to think that God has expectations of us that we can never fill.
That he punishes us to teach us when we don’t measure up or are too slow to learn.
That because of who we are, we aren’t enough or that we need to be winnowed away into something much less than who we are.
And we start to think that God’s love is conditional and something to be earned and eked out to us in bits and pieces when it seems to flow so freely to other people.
We’re looking at God through a cloudy lens.
But now, this is what the Lord says
He who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name;
you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
We are his. You are his. I am his.
He has created us, he has formed us, he has called us by name and we are his.
We are not the labels, the opinions, the tasks set before us.
We are his. Full stop.
We are created, formed, redeemed, called, His. Nothing less.
The sum of who we are is summed up in his love for us.
So we are not our to-do lists and checkmarks. We are not our fear of failure and rejection.
Our fear is covered by his redemption of us. Our loss of purpose and feelings of worthlessness are drowned out by his voice calling our name.
We are his.