The year was 1988. I was 16 years old. Our family car was a brown 1977 Dodge Aspen station wagon. My dad called it “baby diaper brown.” You can probably figure that out. It was an 11 year-old family car that was ugly, loud, and stubbornly kept running for almost a full minute after the key was removed (until it would finally backfire and die). You might suspect that this was not what any high school girl wanted to be driving. To say I was humiliated was an understatement. I would park as far away from school as I could, get out as fast as possible, and run into school praying that the car would die sometime before school was out…and that no one would see me. I did not want to be known as the girl that drove the old ugly station wagon. Right or wrong, a considerable amount of teen-age self-worth is closely connected to cars driven. Which didn’t work out so well for me at that time.
Of course, my close friends knew all about it. My fun, free-spirited best friend viewed the clunker through different eyes than I did. One morning she excitedly decided that we should take the Aspen to lunch. I reluctantly agreed, but only if she drove. I figured I could at least scrunch down and hide in the passenger seat. She couldn’t wait and invited as many people as could fit into the car. When we got in, she insisted that we roll down all of the windows, turned up the radio, and proceeded to drive back and forth in front of the school waving and shouting at everybody she saw. Soon, we all joined in. She had a completely different view of the station wagon. In her eyes, it was an attention-getter! Plus, it could hold lots of our friends. The thought that others would base her value on her driving that ugly car never crossed her mind. She taught me a wonderful lesson that day.
Where do you get your value or your sense of worth? Is your self-image based on material things? Or the lack of them? Do you look to designer clothes, money, the house you live in, the grades you make, your athletic ability, or the car you drive? There are so many things that make us feel “valuable” in the eyes of the world or, all too often, not very valuable. Thankfully, none of the things that the world values make you valuable to God.
You were valuable to God before you were born.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
You are so valuable to God that He sent His perfect son, Jesus, to die so that you can be saved.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
God’s view of us is different than how we see ourselves or even how others see us.
“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Basing our self-worth on material things causes us to live shallow, superficial lives. It causes us to focus on things that will not last and it keeps us from developing healthy relationships – with ourselves, with friends, and with God. Realizing that our worth comes from God and no other source frees us to realize our God-given potential, and enables to use our lives to love and serve others.
I’m thankful for a true friend, but more importantly, a loving heavenly Father who taught me that my value doesn’t come from a car- whether it’s an ugly old station wagon, or a brand new BMW. Your worth and mine comes from a Creator who made us and loves us. I am His child. I pray that you are too! You are loved!