I can be a pretty nice person. I do thoughtful things for others. I help people.
All too often though, I then spend the next couple minutes patting myself on the back, giving myself high-fives and self-centered-ly making it all about me. And when I make it into something about me, I’m no longer being thoughtful or kind to others, no matter how helpful I’m being.
See, it’s not supposed to be about me.
It seems like every day I’m bombarded by the message that I’m supposed to do what’s best for me. I’m supposed to do what I need to cope. I’m told that if I don’t put myself first, then I can’t help others. I’m supposed to stay true to myself, no matter what that actually looks like.
And to a certain extent, there’s truth to that message – but in a far different way than how it’s normally taken.
Mostly though, the messages that tell me how important I am as I scroll through Instagram, read articles online, or see a commercial, get it totally wrong. My worth comes from the fact that I’m made in the image of God. I was created by Him and had purpose and meaning before I was even born.
When I serve someone else, I want it to be because they, too, are made in the image of God. That each and every person I come in contact with has a soul that is going to last for all of eternity. I want to serve because we are called to be like Jesus, and He is the best example of being a servant that we could ever have.
My self-worth doesn’t come from serving others. My self-worth doesn’t come from how many people recognize me as being helpful (although I will always appreciate a thank you). My self-worth is far greater than it could ever be if it was based on who I am and what I do. Because you see, my self-worth isn’t actually contingent on self at all. Instead, it’s based on the fact that when God sees me, He sees me washed clean by the blood of Jesus.
Recently I’ve been working at having my actions sprout from love rather than guilt, pride, or condemnation. I want everything I do to spill forth with God’s love because we have the immense privilege (and responsibility) of being God’s hands and feet in the world.