|Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)|
Welcome to Listen, Lift, Launch Letters!
As most of you know, we are serving on the front lines as community life coaches. This aspect of our work provides practical tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives in the midst of great devastation.
Part of that recovery process involves helping them see past five categories of lies, according to Dr. Chris Thurman who wrote a book called, The Lies We Believe. Those five categories are the self-lies, worldly-lies, marital-lies, distortion-lies, and religious-lies that have been received and believed by millions of people.
I have been sharing with you, some of the ways Chris (my husband) and I are helping people to identify these lies that have held them back. This week, as we continue in our discussion about worldly lies, I want to uncover the lie that says, “My worth is determined by my performance.”
There are many people who connect their personal worth and value to how well they perform and how much their work performance is appreciated by the people in their jobs, careers, families, schools, churches, etc. For nine years, I worked in Pennsylvania's state government and the yearly performance review was very important. A successful evaluation could mean a promotion and higher wages.
I strove to build a good work ethic by becoming an employee that was reliable and easy to work with. It made me feel good to have my work ethic appreciated by my immediate supervisor and coworkers. However, I had an internal fight to make sure that my personal self-worth was not connected to my desire to be appreciated for my work ethic. My employment value would have been in question, had I not been able to fulfill the job requirements, but not my personal worth and value.
In our culture, when a person does well in their chosen field, they are highlighted as someone to emulate in order to achieve similar success in our lives; in order to make our lives worthwhile to society. Unfortunately, success has been redefined as having worth. If you’re successful, then you are worth honor, awards, money and fame. So we go about our lives trying to earn and build success in order to build our personal worth and value.
In his book, The Lies We Believe, Dr. Chris Thurman relates a story about a pre-med student by the name of Kathy Ormsby:
Kathy Ormsby was also an honor student and track star at North Carolina State University. She was the collegiate record holder in the women’s ten thousand meter run. Something unexpected happened during the 1986 NCAA track and field championship race. Kathy fell behind and couldn’t seem to catch the front-runner. In a startling move, she ran off the track and out of the stadium to a nearby bridge, where she jumped off. The forty foot fall permanently paralyzed her from the waist down.
Without knowing Kathy personally, it can only be presumed that the pressure she put on herself to be perfect coupled with a tendency to equate her worth with performance created a level of misery she couldn’t handle. Many of us struggle with those two issues – having to be perfect and having personal worth dictated by achievement – reach a point of total despair, even suicide, when we experience failure.
Dr. Thurman asked several questions that we all need to answer:
• How can we find a stable sense of worth in a world that focuses on what we do, instead of who we are?
• Who are you apart from what you do?
• Do you have to “do” to have worth, or are you clear yet that you ”are” a person of innate worth because of whose image you bear?
We live in a world that promotes a message that is hard to ignore; that constantly communicates that our worth is found in what we do and in how well we perform.
What is it that truly gives a person worth? The TRUTH is that we all have worth and value because we have been made in the likeness and image of God. In Psalms 139:14 it states that we have been fearfully and wonderfully made by our heavenly Father who created the universe. According to Dr. Thurman, we have been formed by an eternal God and therefore, we have eternal worth and value that has nothing to do with performance, achievements and our various definitions of success.
And I’ll add a side note to address America’s ethnic and skin-color wars: Everyone’s value and worth is equal! We are all priceless! God made us diverse and unique for specific purposes. Therefore, never say that you don't see color and you don't see differences. Yes, we see them. Yes, we can acknowledge them. We just don't have to let those differences divide us.
My husband and I personally understand the history and heartache of many people in the Black Lives Matter movement. We also understand the push-back from the All Lives Matter crowd! But the key is for all to discover their true worth and value in God through Jesus Christ. Then we can all begin to work through our negative history in this country from God's perspective; from a Kingdom of God world view.
Of course, living in a world that is constantly pushing a belief and agenda that is contrary to our Creator can be difficult. We have to constantly reinforce the truth taught in the word of God by reading it, believing it, and walking it out daily. We must choose daily to receive the grace and truth that is available to us. That's where we find our eternal worth and value.
We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,
Coach Carol Green