I recently gave a talk on 'self love' - it was a topic I was given to speak about but a title that I would never have chosen. Loving myself, loving oneself must be the hardest thing, almost impossible I would think for anyone who truly looks deep within.
Hard to love all that I see - because I see clearly all of the 'stuff' of my life. All of my failures and my weakness and my sin and my deliberate unkindness. All of the lack of grace and the selfishness, the cold heartedness and the pride - oh that pride that has no basis in reality but has somehow grown into a desire to prioritise myself, to live for myself and to make sure that everyone knows that 'I am worth it'.
Our culture of course adds its own subtle call - 'make some 'me time'- time to love yourself', all the while presenting me with people who are nothing like me, to whom I can never measure up and who seem to have their lives completely 'put together'.
I grew up in a loving environment and knew nothing of the abuse and the rejection and the constant voices proclaiming that I was rubbish or would never amount to anything. My parents were always encouraging and so supportive but of course they did not know the real me, the reality of my life and all of the things that I would not let them see.
Others I know do not have such blessing - their childhood is full of the negative, the voices that endlessly assail them with lies which they layer around themselves until it is hard to see clearly, almost impossible to recognise the truth.
So what is the only answer to the dilemma of finding our worth. Don't we have to worth something to someone who knows us fully and completely yet accepts us anyway? Don't we have to be known completely - warts and all - and loved just the same? Isn't it true that the only real answer to our question 'what am I worth, what is my value' is that I am worth the life of God's Son.
To believe that I am worth something I have to hear it from someone who knows everything about me, who knows the real me. Someone who knows my past and my present, who knows the pain beneath my smile and the guilt behind my eyes - someone who knows the whys and the wherefores of my life and who I can truly trust - whose opinion is worth something, worth more than mine?
That is what God offers every human being who will come to Him through Jesus - value and acceptance. Acceptance by God, the One who knows you completely and loves you with an overwhelming love. The One who has promised that out of His acceptance will come the desire and the ability to change - the wonderful life affirming fact that you do not have to pretend any longer, you can simply be you and it is ok. You can be sure that from His acceptance will come a grace that will sweep through your life and transform you into the person you long to be - the person who looks like Jesus.
Our worth, our value and our joy comes not from self acceptance but from our intense sense of the grace of God accepting us into His family. Accepted fully for who I am and loved enough to transform me into who I long to be.
Ask God what you are worth and He will answer - you are worth the life of My Son. Ask Him to accept you - to search you and know everything about you yet still to answer your cry for forgiveness and cover you in His grace. Ask Him to fill your heart and your mind with a deep sense of belonging to Him and to give you a desire to live for His glory. He will answer and you will finally, truly, completely live in the wonderful freedom of acceptance and perfect love.