I’ve shifted houses about nine times in this lifetime and the tenth one seems imminent! Every shift has down-sized my possessions with uncompromising lines drawn between stuff that will move with me and stuff that won’t. The ‘chosen ones’ that survive these intermittent upheavals are the ‘old faithful’s’ – these include utilitarian items; pots and pans, linen and the like as well as articles treasured for their aesthetic value. But making it to the pile of ‘movables’ are also things that don’t rightfully belong there – things neither attractive nor useful! Stuff like a faded t-shirt from high school, a crayon sketch given by the neighbour’s kid (now married with two kids of her own!) and a love note scribbled on a post-it.. These are things that wouldn’t even make it to the second-hand sale shop but they’re the very ones that enjoy an unfairly privileged position in the house. What makes them valuable is not any intrinsic worth they possess, but the simple fact that I value them!
I guess you know where I’m headed…
Jesus shared this amazing parable of a man who found treasure buried in a field and then because he longed to possess it, cheerfully sold all he had and bought the entire property! If we read the parables that precede this one, the symbolism and meaning become clearer. The field is the world. The treasure is us! And the man who sold everything to obtain his heart’s desire points to a story that unfolded shortly thereafter – the inestimable price of Jesus’ life laid down for the world.
Like the odds and ends that have secured a permanent place in my ‘movable pile’, what gives ‘this treasure’ its value is not its beauty or usefulness but just the stumping fact that God finds ‘it’ valuable. I guess we could vainly think that our ‘specialness’ is what drives Someone to pursue us so, but then we’d be missing a significant truth – that the value of anything is subjective and wholly dependent on the likes of the beholder! To a dog, a diamond may just as well be a stone that came up with the dirt while excavating a bone, but to the man who spent a year’s salary to buy his fiancée an engagement ring, it means the world!
“the value of anything is subjective
and wholly dependent on
the likes of the beholder!”
What Jesus was describing for us here was the mind-numbingly high value the Creator of this Universe lays on us. What’s particularly hard for us to grasp is that it’s got nothing whatsoever to do with the things we assume we should be valued for – our looks, our intelligence, our spirituality, our likeability, our sacrifices… It appears that God values us for just one reason – we’re His! That’s it!! Pause here and consider for a moment the ocean of peace and rest it would bring to our souls, if our entire self-worth were wrapped around this one redeeming truth -we’re valuable because we’re God’s. Period.
If this truth were to mesh with our hearts, it would birth incredible healing and freedom. We’d stop trying so hard to become that someone who we can love or do this and that just to be valued because we’d know we already are. We’d give up our tired efforts to fit in, because we’d know we already belong. And then it wouldn’t matter so very much what ‘they’ think about us or even for that matter what we think about ourselves!
“It appears that God values us
for just one reason –
Truth is, that every one of us carries within us splinters of our fractured self-esteem for like it or not, our ‘worth’ is dependent on someone finding us worthy! For something to be valuable, it has to be valued by someone, right? That’s just how it is. The problem is not that we’ve looked outside of ourselves as is generally assumed but that we’ve looked in the wrong places! And so, in our mutual imperfection, we’ve hurt and rejected and diminished each other, often in very damaging ways.
Some of us have attempted damage control by slamming shut our doors on the world. We’ve determined to stop looking for our self-worth ‘out there’ and are trying instead to work it up from within. Perhaps, we’re going through the “I like me season”, pretending that we don’t give a fig about what ‘they’ think. We’ll approve ourselves, we’ll affirm ourselves, we’ll encourage ourselves. In short, we’ll be our own applause! The problem is, it doesn’t work. For even whilst we boast of our own ‘self-sufficiency’ we’re hoping that someone will notice it! We may even claim to have given up on receiving affirmation from the ‘Someones’ and turned instead towards safer ‘Somethings’ – work, money, advancement.. but what if nobody gave a hoot about our ‘upward- progressing’ graphs, would it still matter then?
In the end, we aren’t wired to narcissistically fall in love with our own reflections but rather to see ourselves reflected in another’s loving eye. We may be “every woman” or “man” and “it may be all in us” ( as the Whitney Houston song goes) but the inescapable truth remains that we were created to be beheld! And that’s what God, our forever Father offers each one of us. His love – changeless, secure and steady is the only love that can heal our souls for it’s drawn from the magnitude of His own heart and is not in anyway dependent on us – our character, actions or motivations. He’s like the extravagant lover who squandered His entire fortune to buy the whole countryside, just so that he could pluck a rare flower for his bride. That’s how He values us! When we truly receive this divine embrace it not only heals our hearts but it makes us carriers of healing to others.
“In the end, we aren’t wired to
narcissistically fall in love with our own reflections
but rather to see ourselves reflected
in another’s loving eye”
If today you’re dealing with something that’s ruffled your self-esteem – be it a sharp comment, a personal failure or the memories of past rejection, try laying down the thousand self-defensive justifications and angry arguments that’s raging inside your head and engage instead with the only balm your soul needs – the calming truth that right now, in the midst of these messy emotions, you are valuable ..and all because Someone values you.