Tag Archives: Worth

Thought for Friday Oct 12, 2012

It’s been a while since I last wrote a post.  I know it’s been awhile because I can’t remember the last one I wrote, so I know it’s been too long.  As for those of you who follow me, I want to say thank you for your patience, and I’m glad that you find something of value when you come here to read whatever it is I’ve published.  I know that there are a number of you who have expressed a desire to see me write more of my own things, and to publish the writings of others less, no matter how great or worthwhile their writings may be or have been in the past.

Those of you who have been with me for a long time know that I’m not that forth coming when it comes to talking or writing about myself.  There are a number of reasons for this, and while they’re all true, I don’t like any of them.  The first is because I don’t like myself very much, and find it very difficult to see much in myself that is very likable or worthwhile.  It’s not easy to write that, but to say anything less would be a lie, and as anyone who knows me knows I’m a terrible liar.  I suppose one has to like something or at least see the advantage in doing something before one can be very good at it, and since I absolutely hate being lied to, and lying in general, it stands to reason I can’t pull it off with any degree of skill.  For me lying is the equivalent to my being almost bald.  You can see it for what it is, so it’s just easier to admit and live with the fact than to try and deny it.

Some people would probably say I suffer from low self-esteem.  That’s what the world calls it, and that’s what I’ve had a number of people tell me is my problem.  To be honest, low self-esteem is a label just like “Hines Ketchup” and “Budweiser” are labels.  It’s descriptive of an attitude and a behavior, a thing, but labels  only describe what can be seen; they’re not really indicative of what’s within.  For that someone has to go further than just looking at the label.  You really want to know what “Hines Ketchup” or “Budweiser” tastes like you have to open them up and taste them to know for sure what they are.

I know what the world calls it when someone has a low opinion of oneself.  I have a hard time with seeing myself that way.  I don’t think I suffer so much from low self-esteem as I suffer from a lack of understanding of what it is to know grace.  For me, the way I feel about myself is a product of knowing who I am better than anyone else, except for God, and I can tell you from having lived with myself and having experienced the consequences of living with the things I’ve done that I have no right to feel good about myself.

In truth, all labels are misleading to a degree, and most of them are distortions, and are overly simplified explanations of things far more complicated than what they appear to be.  People are labeled all the time, if not by others, by themselves, and very, very seldom does justice, honesty, or truth enter very far into any of the labels we use to describe others or ourselves.  None of us have a truly accurate view of ourselves or others, and if there’s one great deception in this world, it’s in the fact that so many of us think that we do…

 

A Thought on Worth and Value

     It seems we give thought to everything in this country.  We get up in the morning and we begin to think about our day; what we must do; where we must go.  Our day from the minute we open our eyes zeros in on our responsibilities, our goals, our desires, and our dreams.  We begin thinking immediately.  We analyze the hours ahead, plan the course of our lives minute by minute, and thus we begin.  We start out well.  We begin with a clear vision, and a ready spirit to begin the process of living another day.  We see the beginning very clearly.

     We start off, and the path we walk, from long familiarity, is one of comfort and security, so well-worn, that scarcely do we notice where we walk.  We know the end because we’ve arrived there so many times before, so off we go to begin the life we’ve built for ourselves.  We go through the morning routine; the rush and exhilaration of getting ourselves and our families around and out the door.  The routine is comforting, satisfying, and the sense of accomplishment is the first in a long line of little highs we feel as we’ve made it through the first leg of our beginning journey.

      We travel our route.  If it’s to work, we take the same route, turning left at the corner up ahead.   We might stop for coffee, cigarettes, gas, perhaps pick up a coworker.  We see the same things along the way.  The radio is on, the music plays, our thoughts drift –  as we navigate along the path – toward the things and people who will require our attention.  We plan our future encounters, map out our strategies, pass the time of travel with our minds activated, engaged, already well along the path of our day.

     So many of our days pass this way, no change, just rhythm and motion, our lives as the ocean waves rolling in and out, ebbing and flowing.  We pass routine for thought, feeling, as if our lives are graded on a curve as a student’s paper, and we pass so easily.   We travel quite content, and the only time we pay attention is when something captures our attention – like static on the radio – and for a brief moment something in our world is out of tune. 

     We arrive at our destination, fall into our responsibilities, and the busyness of our schedules, implement the plans, and have the encounters, and – when as they so often do – pass as we expect we feel the little highs of accomplishment along the way, and thus are the days of our lives.

     We live our lives thinking (though not really) and doing (though we don’t do nearly what we can or should) passing off the mundane, and activity ridden, the worthless and inane, as living, when in fact we’re just existing.  We live our lives in pretense, fantasy, illusion, and denial.  We live along side of each other, walk among each other, bump into each other, scarcely take note of each other, and pay little attention to each other. 

     We live our lives in respect to self-worth, self-importance, self, self, self, thinking we have value by the very fact that we’re alive, and that what we do is somehow important.  We look at our money, our position, our status, our accomplishments, and use them to winnow – to separate and divide – to unite and bring together – our lives in relation to the lives of others.  We do all these things because we need – have to feel – that we are important, that we are of worth, that we matter, and that what we do matters.

     We live, vainly, attempting to place value upon ourselves, our accomplishments, and each other, and we do a poor job of it.  We live our lives in a maze of fun house mirrors reflecting wealth, power, and position as if they are the keys to contentment and happiness, and yet with all the getting, and the keeping of such things, their true worth is often revealed in the broken, mangled, ill-used lives of so many who try to possess them.

     It would be impossible for me to feel any sense of worth, to have any sense of value, if I were to look to the world – and people around me – to give it to me for all such value is short-lived and fleeting, and the value you give to yourself will not take you nearly as far as you wish to go.

     All the above is not to say that there is no value – nor people of value – for there is great value, but the worth and value of your life cannot be defined by anyone or anything in this world.  To understand your worth, your value, you must look through the lens of truth, and only by doing so will you discover that your worth, your value isn’t a product of who you are, or what you do, but through who you are connected to. . .  and by whom that connection is made possible, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Attributed to Henry Ward Beecher (Source Unknown)

     This little story has a message that’s very powerful.  The more you read it and think about it the more profound it becomes. 

Good Deeds Performed Unconsciously

A farmer goes to market to purchase grain. He puts the bags containing it into his wagon, and drives slowly home. As the wagon jolts over the stony road, one of the bags becomes untied, and the grain is scattered along the way. The birds catch some of the grain and fly off with it, and drop it in distant places. Some is blown in different directions by the winds. Thus the farmer goes on for miles, without knowing what he is doing; but the next summer finds the scattered seed. It starts and grows, and when he sees his own grain he does not know it. He did not even know that he lost it. And so it is with good deeds. Men often perform them unconsciously, and they bear fruit, and when they see that fruit they do not know that it is the result of anything they have done.

–Beecher