“I hope I didn’t catch you at work,” he says a breath after I say hello.
“Oh no, you didn’t,” my spoken words vying against the stream of consciousness going through my brain.
You didn’t catch me at work because I have no work. As of yesterday, I’m done. No more work. Just school. All.day.long.
I have no purpose.
No financial contribution to my family.
How will I even keep up my skills?
What will people think when I say I don’t work?
I guess I’m technically “working” at school — but does it really count?
Why does it matter so much to me?
My thoughts reeled, culminating into a pulsation behind my eyes that made me reach for Advil and water.
Later, sitting in the sunshine, a rare moment of quiet, of silence — the questions surfaced again — Yes, I have no paying job for this season, but why do I feel so emotionally devastated?
And it came — His still small voice I so often stifle with my busyness, my to-do lists, my podcasts, and my music —
Your work is not your worth, my daughter.
My work is not my worth. My work is not my worth.
He had not misspoke, He was right — of course — as my sadness and questioning were tied to deep lies I believed.
- I must being doing some type of “big” work to be worthwhile, to earn favor and admiration from God and others.
- This “big” work had to be recognized by others as “big” and “important.”
- The work must include some type of monetary compensation because, hey, I’m not lazy! I can contribute!
- Others are in school and still work at jobs (or have kids, have busy lives, do more, or “balance” more than me).
- Certain “work” is better than other “work.”
Pride and self-righteousness seeped from every argument I placed before Him — the lies had wiggled their destructive tentacles throughout my mind, way down into my soul.
Where does your worth come from?
As I started to dismantle the lies one by one, this question remained.
For many years I’ve heard it comes from my Savior, my Jesus, the One who created me in His image with inherent God-given worth — yet I never believed it. I chose instead to believe the lie I had to earn His love, earn my place in His kingdom. This bitter untruth was ingrained in my brain, almost indistinguishable from what made me uniquely me.
But this is no way to live. The striving. The proving. The working harder. Yet the feelings persist of never measuring up, never being quite enough.
And it’s the exact opposite of how He wants it to be!
Jesus came to give us life — abundant, joyful, grace filled life! (John 10:10)
Not days spent trying to earn His love.
Not days spent miserable because nothing you do seems to ever be enough.
Not days filled with thoughts of worthlessness because a job ended.
Jesus loved us before we even came to be
He loves us through all the heartache we cause Him when we turn away
He adores His children no matter their life work
He loves me and He loves you — full stop. No if’s, and’s, or but’s.
It’s an unconditional love.
Given, hands open wide, to you and to me.
He asks us to love Him in return, but He gives us the choice to say no.
He asks us to serve Him, but His love is not based on a pyramid scheme where you move closer to the pinnacle of His love depending on what you do.
That’s not the way grace works.
Our God asks us to find our worth in Him — not our doings, our degrees, our platforms, our relationships — not in anything that our culture would call success.
Job or no job
Marketing expert or ministry worker
Working outside the home or inside the home
Married or single
Kids or no kids
Money or no money
Large house or no house
Extrovert or introvert
Large platform or no platform
No matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you’re doing, or what your current struggle is —
His love remains. His grace meets you there.
And He longs for you, for me to place our worth in that eternal truth and breath in the life-giving freedom that awaits us there.
“My work/productivity/status is not my worth” is a truth I consciously try to embrace and live out daily, but I still struggle, as many may, on fully believing it. I share the above with you in hopes that it will encourage you, wherever you might be, that He loves you unconditionally, poured out and running over, right now, in whatever season you may find yourself. He always has.