Jen’s Gem: Know the Source of your worth and value.
In ten days, I will bring my daughter to college. College. Days of pigtails and cartoon-character lunchboxes are long gone as she approaches this next chapter of her life. There is so much to look forward to and I’m beyond thrilled for her to have this new experience.
The past few weeks have been filled with dorm-room shopping, getting finances in order, and finalizing the requisite paperwork that will solidify her as a member of the class of 2023. While I’m not sure how I will react as I drive away from her new home, I have a feeling I’d better stock up on Kleenex or perhaps assign a designated driver.
Of my two children, my daughter is clearly the “school kid.” She took to it like melted butter to lobster. Well-organized, detail-oriented, and creative, she used her innate talents to “read” her teachers and deliver above and beyond with each passing year. She has great time management skills and knows how to prepare for exams. She also has a bubbly personality that has endeared her to teachers, coaches, and administrators.
I vividly recall my own college days centuries ago. In seconds, I can conjure up memories that fill me with laughter, but also a bit of regret as poor decisions from lack of experience and maturity abounded. As a small town girl away from home and my parent’s watchful eyes, I was determined to finally “live.” I suspect my daughter may be thinking the same way as she becomes more and more antsy to get out of Dodge.
I pray that the past eighteen years with me have given her more than a roof over her head, clothes on her back, and food in her belly. I pray that I have provided her with tools that will help her cope when trials come her way. I pray she remembers how much she is loved and valued by me, her family, but most of all, God. If she only remembers this one fact – she will be wildly successful.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
She will be surrounded by many of classmates who won’t know this truth. In fact, there is likely to be more that don’t than do. I’m convinced that this is why our world is so cray cray and our news feeds are filled with tragedy after tragedy to the point that they have become a part of everyday life.
Many people, especially our youth, don’t know how much they are loved and valued by their Creator. They don’t know the blessings that He has in store for them. They don’t know who they are in His eyes or the plans He has for them to have a good life. Their worth and value are tied up in GPAs, sports championships, or good looks.
But what happens when those accomplishments begin to dwindle? Where do our children go to find their value? Many will make poor choices on their search and jeopardize, or at least stall, the wonderful plan God had in store for them. I pray each night that my daughter is not one of them.
While my parents were avid church goers and made it clear that this was a non-negotiable, I was not taught about God’s love for me. The various nuns throughout my school career followed suit. My only exposure to God was ensuring I followed the stringent rules and regulations of an organized religion that placed more importance on performance than on a establishing a relationship with my Father in heaven and His Son, Jesus.
Hence I spent much, if not most, of my life looking to external factors for my worth and value. So when
things like lost promotions, a failed marriage, and two layoffs hit me, I was left scratching my head struggling to figure out who I was.
“So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31
It has taken me years to unlearn the falsities of my youth and I’ve only scratched the surface. My biggest regret is that I wish I’d known earlier that my worth and value are not based in external accolades, titles, or college degrees. It’s my fervent desire that as my daughter takes this important step forward, that she knows this as well.
My days of reminding her are growing short. My little sparrow is ready to fly but I can rest easy knowing that God has His eye on her.
This week, I’d like to encourage you to contemplate the source of your worth and value. Does it come from the world or does it come from God? If it is the former, I pray that God will reveal His everlasting, unconditional love to you and that as you take your own step forward, you know exactly who you are.