Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Where Our Worth Is Really Found

Who would imagine that our view of ourselves could impact even how we communicate and connect in marriage but it does. We must figure out that it's impossible for a couple to ever deeply explore one another's souls - their feelings, thinking, etc. - if either person feels like his or her worth is on the line to do so.

Let me explain. If you're a Christ follower, part of God's family through faith in Christ, then five things are always true: You're loved, you matter, you have purpose, you are a child of God, and you're forgiven. And it's those truths that are the foundation of our identity, who we really are on any given day.

However, most of us drift little by little towards thinking again that our value is in something or someone else. We start to think that who we are is based on what we're currently experiencing, things we're presently struggling with, the tasks we cannot do, or the circumstances that we now encounter. We may think for example, "I'm unemployed so therefore I'm a lousy provider, I'm a terrible spouse, and I'm letting down my family," and the like. And sadly, that often becomes who we believe we now are.

But what if we were to think this way? "No, I don't have a job right now and I need to deal with that, but I'm still loved, I matter, I have purpose nonetheless and I'll always be God's child. I just happen to be unemployed." That's a huge difference in perspective that can be lifechanging.

When our circumstances or what others think of us determine who we are then we must fight to the finish for our worth wherever we can. And unfortunately that's why many couples battle furiously about things that really aren't that important. What starts as a solvable disagreement turns into put downs, name-calling and lots of yelling. Why? Because the fighters are trying to save their value and worth. They must stand for themselves and believe they cannot lose the battle to be ok.

But when we finally grasp that our worth is never really at risk we become healthier and can respond, even to criticism, more positively. Though it's still not always easy to go to that other person and talk, we don't become paralyzed by what's going on or being said to us. We will be more willing to listen when we don't have to win. We can hear criticism, right or wrong, and process it with the other person rather than lash out at them for being so "unfair."

Yes, it's important and helpful to learn communication strategies and guidelines to make our interactions more effective. I gave some of those guidelines in my last post and they are worth reviewing or seeing for the first time. But if we don't understand that our ultimate worth only comes from God and not from our spouse, "winning" or having others change, then we will die on the sword of our opinions.

Where do you find your worth? In your job, degrees, accomplishments? In what your spouse thinks of you, how your kids turn out or how much money you make? Any source of worth apart from God will potentially let you down. And if your value is tied up in your spouse then you won't approach them anytime you think their response to you may be negative.

I often suggest people struggling with this principle carry around a card that has the five truths above about worth written on it: I'm love, I matter, I'm forgiven, I'm a child of God and I have purpose. Say them to yourself everyday. Remind yourself often of how God sees you. It will not only change your marriage communication. It will change your life!
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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