By Joy Ballard
How well do you value yourself? By rediscovering your unique self, you can find your inestimable value in God’s eyes.
The Wrong Ideas About Self
We are inundated with the cultural messages of self-care and self-awareness, which at their best offer useful information. At their worst, they offer self-absorbed perspectives. We know more about personality types than ever before. There are more ways to personalize just about anything we want and to get exactly what we need at the touch of a screen.
“Self” is living its golden age. So why is it still so difficult to understand, let alone enjoy, who God has created us to be?
Remember that at no other time in history has there been so much information at our fingertips. While that is believed to be a benefit to humanity, it has also filled our mind with far more than we need to know.
When Our Identities Get Lost
I remember sitting in the dark of night, breastfeeding a baby and scrolling on social media on my phone to stay awake. Suddenly I was aware that a certain woman, who had a baby around the same age as mine, was baking cupcakes for her husband’s co-workers, wearing her pre-pregnancy jeans and launching a creative side-hustle.
In my own little world of newborn adjustments, changing myself from pajamas to sweatpants was a big accomplishment. Now I knew information about someone else that didn’t serve me well at all, nor was it applicable to my specific situation. Yet, there it was, lingering in my head while I struggled to figure out my own new normal.
Although it’s our own choice to have access to this information, the majority of us know way too much about other people’s styles, purchases, meals, families and lives than we need to. We might think that by gathering ideas from others we will find inspiration. But the reality is that all these details just muddle our thoughts further, making it harder to understand who we were made to be.
Whether we are mothers handing out drinks, snacks and kisses for every hurt, or career women balancing a dozen tasks and deadlines, life expects a lot from us. And in all that giving, helping, and doing, it’s not surprising that somewhere in our journey, we might feel a little lost.
The Importance of Rediscovering Your Unique Self
There have been seasons in my journey when I have allowed my identity to get wrapped up in others’ expectations of me. Other times I have allowed stronger personalities than myself to influence who I am. And sometimes I simply envied someone else’s life, so I tried to imitate it. Eventually I burned out because that wasn’t who I really am.
The great difference between self-care and self-value is that one is all about what we want or need, and the other is about who we are. And who we are has been purposefully designed by God, who has gone to great lengths to show how deeply he loves us.
Self-care has its place. The airplane analogy of putting on one’s oxygen mask first before helping someone else is valid. The Bible talks about our lives being like overflowing cups from which we can pour out to others.
But all the peaceful bubble baths in the world will not ultimately help me find purpose.
The point in understanding who we are is so that we can better allow the heart of Jesus to be expressed through our lives. If the only goal is to get our own needs and desires met so that we can be a better “us”, there is still a very important element missing: purpose. Jesus gives us purpose by showing us a way of life that goes beyond ourselves.
Rediscovering Your Unique Self
But the great news is that he made us all unique and different for a reason! Those unique differences have a purpose in your life.
You need to remember that you matter. Your preferences matter. Your perspective matters.
No one wins by you shutting yourself down. Who you are is the gift God wants you to bring to this world: your spark, your laughter, your style, your ideas. Everyone in your life benefits when you give your own touch to their lives through God’s grace.
Wife Step: How can you more freely express who God made you to the lives around you?
Joy was born and raised in Mexico, but fell in love with a Minnesota guy. More than a decade, many geographical locations, and four kids later, they are currently settled in the city of Minneapolis, MN. Together they love helping couples discover the incredible adventure marriage was intended to be. They have led many marriage small groups, ministries and retreats, but their favorite way to connect with other couples is by simply sharing life together. You can find her posting on Instagram @joy.ballard or @theriverlodgemn. Photo credit: Woodford Sisters Photography