“I only feel valuable when I perform well.”
I was a vocal performance major for two years in college. Somewhere along the way, I realized that my entire identity and overall feelings of worth were wrapped up in how I performed each week–either in my lesson or in studio (in front of the rest of my classmates). If I had a great lesson, I felt great about myself all week long. But if I performed poorly in either my lesson or studio, it was a dreadful week. I mean, the whole week was ruined. And more importantly, I felt ruined. I didn’t like myself that week. I was letting my performance as a singer completely define me.
I don’t know if you identify with that. Maybe you’re an athlete and you feel the same way. Maybe you let grades define you, your looks or weight define you, how much your parents pay attention to you, how much you feel cared for by others, how in control you feel, how many guys’ attentions you can get… the list can go on and on. I think if we’re honest, we all struggle with letting other things define us, define our value and our worth.
It was at the end of my sophomore year that I realized how detrimental this way of “defining” my worth was. If my value was based upon my performance each week- I was in trouble. And for me, this goes beyond just my performance as a singer. As I started looking around I realized that I saw my worth based on how I performed in every aspect of life– grades, relationships, people pleasing, job performance, and so much more.
The psalmist in Psalm 119, says over and over how he loves God’s word. Go ahead and read it. Take 5 minutes and just sit in these verses.
Did you do it?
Ok. In verses 97-104, he talks about God’s Word eight times and the benefits that come from it. It makes him wiser, gives him insight, keeps him from evil, and gives him understanding.
I love that last verse (104). I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. And when I’m reading that passage in the context of “what defines me?”, I can’t help but think… I gain understanding ABOUT WHO I AM from your precepts [from your WORD]; therefore I hate every wrong path.
Can I say something crazy here? The only thing we should ever, ever, truly allow to define us is God’s Word. And as simple or silly as that may seem, that is great news. Because God’s Word says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made [Psalm 139:14]. It says that Your Creator knows you intimately [Psalm 139: 3] and that He rescued you because He delights in you [Psalm 18:19]. It says you are an adopted daughter of the High King, an heir to his throne [Ephesians 1: 5-14].
So the next time you find yourself defining your worth based on “X” (aka “the wrong path”), remind yourself that the only true definition of your worth and value is God’s Word. And that means you need to be in God’s Word. You need to read it, study it, know it. Like the psalmist says, treasure it.
What do you allow to define your worth or value? What are you going to do to counteract that this week?