Where does our self worth come from? Is it other people? The clothes we wear? The things we say? The food we eat? The number of followers we have on social media? God?
It’s so easy to say my self worth comes from God alone but that’s not true. Well, it’s true I suppose but being human, we can’t ignore the fact that part of that self worth comes from other people and all the other silly things. I know for me, I depend far too much on other people to feel good about myself. If I don’t think they like me, my world shatters and my ego gets a huge kick in the butt. My life has a been pattern of butt kicking. I meet someone who I think is great, things are wonderful, I feel on top of the world then something goes wrong and my ego gets kicked. Before I have a chance to fully heal, I find someone else to fill that gap inside me because God didn’t fill it fast enough. My ego is slapped with a band aid and I move on. Then I get kicked again. My tower of band aids are high and they aren’t sticky anymore. I can slap on another band aid but the wound underneath isn’t getting healed. I haven’t seen or touched it in years, it’s probably infected by now.
I just had my ego kicked big time. Sometimes, you fall for people more than you expect. You think you have your wall up high enough to prevent your heart from shattering all the way but it isn’t true. They leave and suddenly you find your heart has crumbled into a million pieces that you can’t quite clean up. It’s like dropping a clear glass on the kitchen floor and watching the explosion spread across the wood. The big pieces are biggest to pick up but there are dozens of tiny slivers of glass you can’t quite see. Try as you might, you’re bound to step in one or two shards throughout the next couples days. Sweep and sweep over and over but there’s still one or two that’ll get by your broom. Your foot may bleed a bit but it heals quickly because it’s a small wound. For me, I guess I left all my pieces from every dropped glass on the kitchen floor and I try to walk around it but I step on a piece occasionally. I think there’s finally so much glass everywhere that I can’t take a step without having a bloody foot. If I had just cleaned up the glass from the first drop, this pile wouldn’t have turned into a mountain. Now, in order to leave the kitchen and clean myself up, I have to walk through a trail of glass.
I thought I was strong but my feet are more fragile than I realize. I see Jesus standing at the entrance beckoning me to His arms but I can’t move. I’m angry that He doesn’t come pick me up and protect me from bloody feet. Why can’t He use His Jesus powers and sweep the glass away? Or pull a Moses and part the glass so I can walk through a clear trail? Why do I have to go through all that suffering before I can be embraced? That seems stupid. I’d rather build my camp in the middle of the glass covered kitchen than cut my feet up. I know He wants to heal me but how long will it take? I want instant recovery and freedom from pain but life doesn’t work that way. That’s why I’ve never been truly healed. I grow impatient with God and jump into someone else that makes me feel worth something.
Now, as I navigate the waters with yet another kicked ego, I’m lost. I can see each wave labeled with a name of someone that has let me down or made me feel unwanted. The girl I thought was my friend until we had a class together and she hasn’t even said hello. The guy I used to be friends with living below me acting like I don’t exist. Every person I thought was my friend and proved otherwise when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Every guy that broke my heart. Everybody that has ever lied to me. I can see all their names on the waves crashing towards me. I’m without a life jacket in these waters and I can feel myself being sucked down. Swimming seems pointless and I’m so tired. Why not let myself sink and buy into the fact that maybe I’m not worth anything? Maybe they were all right to treat me like that. Maybe it is all my fault. Maybe I don’t deserve anything better than this.
Then I see it. The bloody feet approaching me. A man walking above the waves towards a drowning woman who forgot to keep her eyes above. I stop kicking and just stare. Shards of glass that I dropped stick out and the blood beads on His feet. The slashes of loose glass bits are evident yet He doesn’t wince when He takes a step. He continues walking towards me with those feet and I look away. It’s my fault that He’s hurt. It’s my fault. It’s all my fault. I close my eyes and let the waves take me. Down, down into the dark waters of the ocean of worthlessness where I belong. Drowning is peaceful they say, after the initial burning of the lungs. It’s like taking a nap somewhere dark and quiet. You can’t hear anything with the water in your ears and you can’t see underwater. It’s almost safe and comforting. When you’re under water, you can’t feel the tsunami going on above.
Then the waves stop and a gentle quietness, a true quiet, rushes over the water top. Each wave smoothed out and forgotten. The water appears as if it’s a sheet of glass. I feel a hand on my arm pulling me towards the surface but I don’t want to go. I deserve to be down here. The hand stops pulling and instead holds my hand. My own tears swirl with the water around me. I sob silently underwater holding this hand close to me. I slowly break the surface of the water, still sobbing into the arms of the man who walked across the waters for me, the man who braved the broken glass when I didn’t want to and the man who let me cry. The man who showed me my worth by dying for me. The man who prayed for me before I was even made. The man who says I am priceless because I am His masterpiece. The man with the bloody feet.
Now as I stand up on the waves with Him, I see we are back in the kitchen surrounded by glass. The trail doesn’t look so scary and I’m tired of feeling worthless. The only thing left to do now is to walk across the glass and trust that my feet won’t get cut. The pictures of people who told me I was worthless mock me on each side with everything I’ve done wrong but suddenly I don’t believe them. I hold the hand of the man with the bloody feet who took the first step for me and suddenly I can see me, in the mirror ahead, right where I should be.
I see an empty frame missing its painting and wonder where it’s gone. How silly of a masterpiece to leave it’s frame and wander off on its own. I see the title and read my own name, created the year I was born by the God who loves me. This is where I belong, in the frame made by my creator being all He made me to be. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and He says I’m priceless.