Berlyn learned the shortened Psalm 139:14 bible verse today at church, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” As I watched her dance, spin, and sing as we were walking out to the car - I observed how completely oblivious and unconcerned she was towards the people around her. She has not yet learned the torture method many of us women use of making up stories about what we ‘think’ other people are thinking about us. She hasn’t mastered the art of listening for comments to edify or condemn what she is doing. She doesn’t use unnecessary energy interpreting other people’s facial expressions and making it mean something about her. Nope, she is just being Berlyn - with no filters and no inhibitions - fearfully and wonderfully made.
It got me to thinking. We don’t come into this world feeling worthless. No, we come into this world completely surrendered and dependent on the love and care of others. We had nothing to give, yet we were more than enough. Our self-worth was suppose to remain in this undefiled and innocent form for eternity - walking in communion with God completely uninhibited and knowing our identity, but we live in a fallen world. When sin entered our human story in the Garden of Eden, the truth of who we are in God became twisted with the lies of the enemy and we have been living in confusion and searching for identity ever since. I believe, this journey on earth is about finding our way back home to our first love (God) and our original identity.
Can you relate to living surrounded by confusion? It’s everywhere. We are experiencing confusion around
- what’s right and wrong.
- what we can and can’t say.
- why bad things happen
- what we are suppose to do.
- who and what to trust.
When we take what God says about us (truth) and muddle it with what the world says about us (lies and deception), it will always produce conflict and confusion. We will always struggle to feel like enough. We will always struggle to know who we are when everything is stripped away. We will always waiver between “I’m okay” and “I’m not okay” based on where we fall at any given moment based on the standards of the world.
I would like to ask you, where do you identify most with where your self-worth or identity comes from:
- I am what I do.
- Does success in your role, job, field, title, position or business represent who you are in the world? Would you suffer a loss of identity if tomorrow you lost your job, company, title, innovation or children? Do you find emotional security and success dependent on the labels that describe your role in the world? Do you believe the more you do or achieve, the more worthy you are of love, success and acceptance?
- I am what I have.
- Do you focus on the accumulation of or appearance of material or physical things? Do you spend lots of money and energy on your physical appearance (hair, make-up, clothes, botox, nails, jewelry, shoes, watches, etc.) so what people see (perfection, beauty, glamour, etc.) is what represents who you are? Do you feel a need/obsession to have your home, car, clothes, phone, gadgets, purses etc. represent a level of success? Do you believe others will value you more if you have more or look a certain way? How would losing all luxuries in life affect how you feel about yourself and your value to others?
- I am what others say and think about me.
- Are you constantly ‘doing’ and ‘being’ who you believe others want or need you to be so you get praise, friendship, attention, validation, etc.? Have you allowed other people’s words, decisions and reactions to drive how you feel about yourself at any given moment? Do you believe other people have more insight into who you are than you do? How does it affect you when someone you value and trust says something that is negative, judgemental or critical towards you? Do you have a hard time seeing past what others say to discover who you really are?
The answers to these questions reflect where we root our self-worth. It is tough to answer these questions openly and honestly without judgement and without the desire to self-protect and make up excuses. Just own it. Because only from a place of complete honesty is growth possible.
Our attitudes towards ourselves affect all other relationships in our life. The two most important relationships are 1) our relationship with God and 2) our relationship with ourselves. From these two foundational relationships, everything else flows. We cannot give to others what we don’t have. And if we are giving ourselves love and acceptance contingent on the accumulation of things, our performance/success and/or other people’s opinions/reactions to us, then we will give love to others from a place of expectation and standards. We will experience disappointment in our relationships because people (at some point) will fall short of who we want and need them to be. This cycle steals our joy and peace. We experience a deep ache within us when we love how the world loves because at the core of our humanity is a need to be loved and accepted for who we are - even when we have nothing at all.
Here’s some truths I have learned as I am on a quest to root my self-worth and identity on the rock of Christ and not on the sinking sand of the world. It is a lie that we can be whatever we want to be. It’s even more dangerous to believe we can HAVE whatever we want to have - often what we desire most is the very thing that would destroy what is amazing in our lives. The world tells us these things, but it’s not based in truth. Just hear me out. I REALLY wanted to be a professional volleyball player, but at 5’8” and a vertical that only ever maxed out at 22 inches, that did not happen. I REALLY wanted to marry Adam Levine (for a short period of time), but that wasn’t going to happen either and I am pretty sure that other women have felt the same way about a movie star and settled (just kidding) for their second choice. If every person who ever wanted to be President of the United States got that honor, we would have a different president every second. If every person who ever wanted to be an astronaut, was an astronaut...you get my point. These are silly examples, but they are representative of the daily battle between what we were created to be and the lie of the world that says “you do you boo”.
Let’s take parenting as an example, since many mommies reading this probably tie some of their self-worth to their children’s behavior, performance, intelligence, politeness, etc. I believe I am Berlyn’s ambassador. God chose Brian and I to care for and nurture HIS beautiful daughter that He created an amazing purpose and a plan for. I am commissioned to help her discover and nurture her gifts and talents and pursue her God given purpose as it is revealed. I don’t want Berlyn to be “whatever SHE wants to be”. This will most likely end up in a confusing combination of what other people will tell her she should be and what she believes she needs to be in order to be accepted, loved, secure or successful in the world. There’s an easier way.
I am crystal clear (now) that my life has taken a certain path to fulfill the destiny and purpose God has placed on my life before He even created me. Do you know how much time, energy and confusion I would have spared myself if I would have lived in this reality as a young child/adult? If I would have chosen to only listen for and to God’s voice for my purpose and lived by God’s standards of success instead of the world’s? Now as an adult, I expend a lot of energy trying to discern and separate what is God’s will versus my own desires versus what I believe I need to be to the world. It’s exhausting. Can anyone relate?
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
What I am saying is only comforting if you believe in God and that God is good...ALL THE TIME. That He is working every single trial, tribulation, decision and situation you have ever faced and will ever face for your good and His purposes. This is only comforting if you know that your life’s purpose is not to accumulate stuff, achieve accolades and impress others, but to bring glory to God and to move His purpose forward through your individual purpose. From these foundational beliefs is where true identity is found. From your true identity, you can align yourself with your purpose and enjoy the benefits of prosperity, influence, joy and peace. What a contrast of operating FROM your identity versus FOR your identity!
Okay, Amber, I thought you are suppose to be the “health guru” so what in the world does this have to do with my workouts and eating? EVERYTHING. When you eat, is it from a place of needing to lose weight so others will think more highly of you? When you workout is it from a place of expecting to look better so you can accept yourself when you look in the mirror? When you eat the tub of ice cream in your refrigerator is it because you want to numb your feelings of “I’m not enough” or “something is missing”? This is the key to everything we do in life - what is the source?
When I began to know (not in my head, but in my heart and spirit) that God has a purpose and a plan for my life that I am uniquely crafted and created for, everything changed. I didn’t need to be healthy and thin to attract a man, make another woman want to be me or look in the mirror and like myself - I needed to take care of myself because it’s part of my purpose and path. God gave me this body to attract people to Him and deliver his message through me. I had spent most of my life using it for my purposes and my desires - which all came from a desire to be “someone” to the world. I have achieved a lot by the “world’s standards” over the years and you know what? - I never EVER felt the peace, joy and acceptance I was looking for because it was from the wrong source.
I am no longer confused about whether or not to choose healthy. I am not confused about whether or not to work out. I am not confused about whether to drink diet soda or water. I am not confused about what to put in my grocery cart. I am not confused about whether or not to believe what broken people of my past have said or done to me. I have God living inside of me. I have truth inside of me. When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I was given God’s spirit to live within me. I am a temple for God. I have purpose in everyday and every day has purpose. The same is true for you, whether you believe it or not.
There is no more time to be wasted on trying to achieve a number on the scale so you are a success or a size of clothes so you are good enough. You are already enough in God’s eyes - you always have been. Now it’s time to start acting like it. Your life was bought at a high price my friend. Jesus died in a gruesome and humbling way so you and I would know our worth in God. Jesus defeated sin and overcame death so we could truly live - so there is no more need to run to food, or alcohol, or people, or a job for your value. And when there is no more need to cope or escape or numb - choices change and new habits are formed congruent with your new belief systems. The weight falls off, your energy surges and everything you always wanted (for the wrong reasons) manifests from the right reasons.
If you feel you have wasted enough time and energy searching for a weight loss solution to fix the outside of you so the inside feels better, then it’s time we have a chat. I work with women in one-on-one and group settings to uncover the real issues beneath the weight, food, self-sabotage and low self-worth. You can’t keep results if you don’t get whole and healed. I would like to extend a free coaching session to talk more about what this all could mean for your life! I don’t believe in coincidences...click here to schedule.