Of Rocks and Diamonds- How do we view our worth?
So much of our lives require holding different truths in balance. It’s good to work hard, but we also need to rest. Our bodies need to consume fat, but it’s not healthy to eat too much. We need to share and commune with others, but we may want to give that friend some breathing room. In my few years of motherhood, I have seen another dichotomy played out so clearly, which I often found myself struggling to reconcile- my worth.
Motherhood is full of some amazing worth. We get to see these little people’s first smiles. We see unique personalities develop. We watch with wonder as they learn to master physical milestones. We see their brains explore speech and then are gifted the ability to hear the thoughts that exist in their heads. We see their curious spirit, watch them discover, create, question, and wonder. We have the honor to get to be the one to teach them, to love them unconditionally, to care for them, to shelter, and to protect them through this world. There is so much value wrapped up in motherhood. Amidst the messy and the chaos, we cannot deny our feeling of deep, deep worth.
Though at the same time, our hearts know another side- We know the doubt, the second-guessing, the mistakes, and even the failures. We know the true thoughts in our head that might emerge when we are up at 3:12 in the morning- and we know they are not the sweet lines that belong in a baby commercial. And so, weaved in with the immense value we feel as we care for our babies- there is another unshakable truth that grips and guilts our weary hearts. We feel deeply unworthy.
Our worth and our unworthiness. These two truths are actually at play in all of us, but I’ve been reminded of the way they coincide together so greatly in these little years. Sometimes we will swing to the right, and our deep value holds the focus. We think we are the sole strength of our husbands and children. Pride rears its head and we think that we are the answer to our family’s every problem. Sometimes we swing the other way, and instead of pride we drown our hearts in words like, “You don’t deserve this. You are failing these kids. Someone else is doing this better.” Our inabilities are ever before us and our mistakes as a mom are fresh on our minds.
We feel so worthy and yet deeply unworthy
How can we feel as priceless as the costliest diamond one minute while the next moment feel like we are nothing more than ugly beat up rocks? How do we reckon these two truths together? This cannot be simply tied up and pacified with simple positive thinking. We can’t ignore them, pretend they don’t exist, or tritely use a “you’re doing a great job!” to appease this kind of tension.
I’m reminded of a song, and the phrases which have stuck into my heart since hearing-
Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed, my ransom paid
At the cross
How do we hold these two together? We hold them by reminding ourselves of the cross. Yes, we are undeserving. So undeserving that there had to be a cross with a bruised and beaten Savior to make it right. But on that cross, it was there that our value was fixed. We no longer are seen as undeserving because of the Lord’s great love and mercy that sees the beautiful and valuable work of a Savior on that cross.
It’s at the cross where we hold them in balance. There, we remind ourselves when we start to see the hint of pride coming in, “as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:13). It’s there we run when our hearts are heavy with failures or when we are worn down by the comparing game. We remind ourselves again and again, that “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-“and not only that, but because of Christ he, “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:4-7)
So maybe you are like me, and you’ve noticed these polar opposites rising in your heart, and you don’t even know what to do with them. Instead of shoving them back down to hide and grow, let’s face them and show them the real truth. Let’s show them where their fire is quenched; where their bite is bandaged; where their sting is removed.
Let’s show them the cross- where any pride or guilt we have transforms into beautiful and thankful joy.