So, I had a meeting this week with my pastor. This is a meeting that I put off for months, and once set, awaited nervously. I was scared. Really, I had no good reason to be scared. But somehow, the thought of this meeting filled me with fear and trepidation. Lately I have been trying to confront my fear, so finding myself so afraid of this meeting really bothered me. I was praying the night before, asking God why. Why did I have so much fear about this? It wasn't an issue of trust. It wasn't an issue of submission to authority. And then suddenly the answer hit me. I didn't think I was worth his time. My fear came from a lack of value in myself.
Worth is something that I thought I knew about. It's easy to discuss worth academically. It's like a thousand dollar bill, which is created with a value of one thousand dollars. Nothing will ever change that, because it's the nature of the bill. It can never be separated from its innate value, and it doesn't have to do or achieve anything to earn or maintain that value. It was created with great worth. Likewise, you and I were created with great worth. All of our actions, anything we do or don't do has absolutely no effect on our value, because that value was stamped onto our souls at the moment we were created.
It's easy to intellectually agree with such a comparison, but more difficult to truly believe it for our own lives. Even if I said I believed it, I wasn't living as God's priceless treasure. I was living as someone who needed to earn my value. I felt like I needed to prove myself in order to be of worth. Upon realizing this and recognizing it in myself, I saw it for the lie that it is. But still, my heart was unconvinced. The fear settled about me like a heavy blanket, and though I knew I could get past the fear by confronting it, I couldn't think of any way to address the underlying issue of self-worth.
So the next day I wrote down my Google map directions and hopped on the bus to get to my pastor's house. I'd been feeling really tired all day long, and I don't know what it was about that particular evening, but I just wasn't thinking straight. Somehow I got off the bus at the wrong stop and got lost. Really lost. Usually when I get really lost I just phone my brother and get him to look up directions for me on his computer, but he was out at a social function. I couldn't call my pastor either because I hadn't entered his phone number into my contact list. I kept walking, hoping that perhaps just after the next street, or the next one, that I'd reach my destination. I was assaulted by discouraging thoughts such as, "You should just go home. This whole meeting was a mistake. It's way too late to have a meeting now, you better just give up and catch the next bus out of here before you humiliate yourself." It would have been easy to just go home and pretend nothing had happened, but I'd come too far to turn back.
This was the point when my pastor phoned me, wondering where I was. I relayed the situation, and it was determined that I was so far away that he'd have to come get me. Now, as a young professional and a generally capable person, it is rather painful to appear incompetent. I was completely helpless, and just needed to stand still and wait to be rescued. Now instead of just taking up some of his time, I had caused him to have to drive all the way out and find me. However, it was in this moment of embarrassment and mortification that God spoke to me. Remember the parable of the lost sheep, where the shepherd leaves his flock and goes out searching for the one lost sheep? Every time I heard that parable in the past, the lost sheep was someone else, and I was always one of those secure sheep back with the flock. But that day, I was the one that was lost and my pastor left his kids at home to come out looking for me. God spoke to me, "Because you're worth it." And how much greater is my worth to God that He rescued me while I was helpless and died to save me? He didn't do it begrudgingly, but willingly because I am worth that much to Him. That's a staggering amount of value to hold, and suddenly what my mind had previously known, my heart began to understand. My worth is already given. I don't have to say or do anything to earn it. And you know what? I wasn't afraid anymore. Given a glimpse of my own value, all the fear lifted off of me, and I walked into that meeting completely at peace and unafraid.
There is an amazing amount of freedom in knowing one's own worth. It's not pretentious or self-important worth, because it derives purely from our creator and not at all from our own efforts. That's true freedom. Freedom to be who we are because we were created so amazingly and beautifully. And the more I can see that in myself, the more I can see it in other people. As I learn just how great a value God has given me, I see more and more of that measureless value displayed in the people around me. So, my synopsis of this incident is this: I'm worth it. And did you know? You're worth it too.