I’ve always thought it was the most wonderful thing, to be able to win the affection of others. There’s something magical in the feeling of knowing that I’ve won someone over, something in my own people-pleasing nature.
To be honest, I love the satisfying moment of knowing that I’ve made it, that the twinkle in my eye has caught them; my charm has triumphed again. In this I’ve found worth, but often at the expense of myself.
After drawing them in I methodically let the dangerous question slip out – “who do you say I am?” Even when I receive the answers I was sure I wanted to hear, the affirmation only stays for a moment before I crave more.
It’s a sick game I’ve only recently been able to admit I play – a catch-22 of worthiness that will never satisfy the insatiable thirst of value.
Uprooting many poorly planted seeds of worth this season has been painful. I’ve realized that even when we grow our roots deep we often put them in the wrong places to begin with.
I’ve realized that I’ve often let who I am hinge on who others perceive me to be – thriving off of praise and questioning the core of my character at disapproval. I’ve been looking for freedom in a system that will only bind me tighter; I’ve planted good seeds in shallow soil.
“Who do you say I am?” is not for me to ask of others. When I allow those around me to answer the question of who I am I always come up with a glass half empty and a heart half broken. Asking everyone around me to tell me who I am does not in any way change the character of my heart; it just leaves me with a flighty identity too fragile to carry me and roots planted in wrong places. I realize I’ve let my worth be dictated by everyone but myself.
Our hearts are not designed to be this way, to let our worth be dictated by the lightly penciled words of another.
Our hearts are not meant to be trampled by those we hand our vulnerability to, but often we let them be.
And at the end of it all, we are left with words haunting us yet with no one there to say them.
This is not to say we cannot accept affirmation or hear the careful criticism of another, but we must have discernment. When I let my vulnerability turn to a need to be needed I am no longer free. “Who do you say I am?” cannot be answered by those around us, and vulnerability cannot be a game of worth.
I must remind myself that I was designed lovely and free.
There are weights lifted when we are able to find true worth and grow healthy roots.
There is freedom in seeing my value outside of words spoken in an instant.
When I let the comparisons of others ring through my head I am anything but free. We must be bold enough to ask ourselves the frightening question of, “who do you say I am?” We must be even bolder to answering candidly, to see ourselves and let the truth wash over us:
I am so lovely, so free.
There is beauty in the pain of accepting this truth. In the truth of answering for myself who I am. And though there is fear, I have found grace – grace upon grace. There is Someone greater than I who speaks words of life over me, who offers me a place to set down roots. I have found the true love of the Savior, and since the Savior has set me free, and I am free indeed.
So lovely, so free.