What Is Your Self-Worth Worth?

Do you ever feel beaten down? I do too.

The following story puts our self worth in perspective. You may have heard this encouraging analogy before. It bears repeating…

A conference speaker held up a $20.00 bill.

In the auditorium filled with people, she asked, ‘Who would like this $20 bill?’

Hands started going up.

She said, ‘I am going to give it to someone, but first let me do this.’ She proceeded to crumple up the bill. She then asked, ‘Who still wants it?’

Still the hands went up in the air.

‘Well,’ she replied, ‘what if I do this?’ And she dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with her shoe. She picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.

‘Now who still wants it?’ she asked.

Again the hands went into the air.

‘My friends, ‘ she continued, ‘we have all learned a valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make, the circumstances that come our way, or hurtful words spoken to us by people we love and sometimes even strangers. We may feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what happens to you, you will never lose your value–dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to God (our Creator and the Lifter of our heads) and to those who love you.’

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” –Ephesians 2:10 NLT

The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or whom we know, but by WHO we are because of WHOSE we are.  You are worthy, friend.  You are God’s masterpiece.

Reflect:

–How can you relate to this story? Please comment.

Renew:

–“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” –Genesis 1:27 NIV

–“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” –Proverbs 31:1-2 NIV

–“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” –Matthew 10:30-31 NIV

Recharge:

–Name three people you will encourage this week and let them know how much you value and appreciate them.

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Taking Care of the Rest

Sometimes it seems difficult for me to slow down, to rest. But when I do, what a gift rest is.  My body, mind, spirit all know how much I need it.

This past weekend I had the blessing of enjoying eight of my college friends for our 21st annual girl weekend (normally we have 11 total—two weren’t able to join us this year). They are all friends from college, beautiful wives and moms, with 22 children among the 10 of them. Their wonderful husbands keep the children for the weekend while the 9 or 11 of us relax at a beach house in Charleston.

We eat, laugh, reminisce, walk on the beach, exercise, talk about our blessings and our struggles. We are mirrors to each other, encouraging each other and holding each other accountable. We strengthen each other in our faith journeys.

Usually on the Sunday evening or Monday after Girl Weekend, recipes, photos, and sweet “Reply to All” emails follow. I was surprised  several years ago to receive this certain “Reply to All” email. It read something like this:

“Good morning, ladies. This is Gina’s husband. I don’t normally look or respond to her emails, but I wanted to thank you for being such good friends to my wife. My beautiful bride came home so refreshed and happy. After three children, and 17 years of marriage, I love my wife today more than the day I married her. Thank you for refreshing her this weekend.”

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read his email–precious.  (Hint to any husband–this is a good idea to do.) Her weekend girl getaway not only refreshed herself but her husband also, her family.

It is healthy and necessary to get away and rest, relax.

Brilliant Renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation. For when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer…Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller, and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and a lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen.”

In fact, it’s one of the Ten Commandments, not a suggestion, to rest, to honor the Sabbath.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God…For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” –Exodus 20:8-10a, 11.

I am thankful to my parents for encouraging our family to honor the Sabbath and rest. It helps  fuel back up for the week. If the Lord can do it all in six days, what makes me think I can’t?

Give yourself permission to rest and relax.  Let’s make more of an effort to unwind.

As Roman poet Ovid said, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

Reflect:

–When is the last time you truly relaxed, truly rested with friends, your spouse or by yourself? Please comment.

–How do you observe the Sabbath? Please let us know.

–Are you over-programmed?

Renew:

-“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” –Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

–“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.” –-Hebrews 4:9-10 NIV.

Recharge:

–What plans will you make to intentionally set aside time for vacation, rest, relaxation? Please comment.

–How will you plan to be still, be quiet for a time?

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Refining, Shining, or Tarnishing? Post #42

On the first Tuesday of normally the warmest month of the year, it is on my heart to reflect on the warmth, the heat and process of silver refining.  I know it’s random, so please bear with me.

Each day I open my mail with a pretty silver letter opener, given to me years ago by a precious friend. It stays naturally polished, shiny from its daily use and the oil from my hands. Each day when I walk into my office building for work, I notice its naturally polished door handles, also shiny from frequent use.

Then I open my kitchen cabinet and see my ornate silver pitcher, tarnished to black from its sad lack of usage.

It seems this verse from Malachi 3:3 recently keeps surfacing in my life:

“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.”

What does refining and purifying silver mean? I heard a story once of a ladies Bible study that asked the same question after reading that verse and wondered how it related to the character and nature of God.  One lady in the class offered to find out the process of refining silver and would report back to the group during the next Bible Study.

The lady called a silversmith and asked if she could watch him work. She made an appointment, not letting him know the reason for her curiosity of learning about the process of refining silver.

She watched the silversmith hold a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained to the lady that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are the hottest as to burn away all the impurities surfacing to the top. The lady then thought about God holding us in such a hot spot.

She asked the silversmith if he had to sit with the silver the whole time it was being refined. He answered that yes, not only did he sit there holding the silver, but also he kept his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire, scraping off the impurities–the dross– that surfaced. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The lady pondered his statement, then followed up with the inevitable question.

The lady asked, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”

The silversmith smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy–when I see My image in it.”

What a sweet picture of how God takes such care of us.

I certainly am being warmed by the refiner’s fire in my life right now, having my impurities scraped away. So let’s say we eventually become “refined” this side of heaven, which I’m still not sure we do. What happens then?

I believe we have a choice. 1) We can choose to use our God-given gifts and talents daily and try to shine; or

2) We can remain shiny for a short time, displayed for the world to see, and after lack of usage we become tarnished until we are unrecognizable.

Which are you? Which do you want to be?

As we hunker down for our August warm weather, may you feel the warm glow of the Refiner’s fire.  May you see His reflection in your shiny self. If you feel tarnished today, be encouraged. Polish yourself off and use your gifts and talents to make a difference to someone. You shine!

Reflect:

–What do you relate to more? Refining, shining or tarnishing?  Please comment below by going to “View Comments.”

-How are you being refined?

Renew:

–“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” –Psalm 12:6 NIV84

–“He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” –Psalm 66:9, 10 NIV84

–“Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith; remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.” –Proverbs 25:4, 5 NIV84

Recharge:

–In what ways this week can you “polish” yourself more? Is it writing a note of encouragement to a friend?  Inviting your elderly neighbor over to your warm home for some comfort food?  Getting more involved in your Christ-centered church? Joining a Bible study? Please comment below by going to “View Comments.”

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