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Good afternoon everyone! I hope everyone has been doing well :) I've been having quite the busy couple of weeks bouncing around, to and fro, and in the midst of my congested schedule, I've been struggling a lot to find time to bask and rest in the peace and quiet of the Lord. I guess this is sort of an extention of my last Wenesday in the Word. In the frustrations of dealing with medical, political, and legal things, something that has really been on my mind lately is worthy. We sing: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, worthy is the King who conquered the grave," but what is worthiness? We tell ourselves we are "worthy of more", or that we "aren't worthy", all the time. How do we place our self-worth in comparison to circumstances? How do we know we are worthier than being in an abusive relationship, yet we aren't worthy of winning a $1,000 million lottery jackpot? As I was thinking, reflecting, and meditating on the Word, I came to realize that our idea of worthiness is so skewed. There is not one person who is perfect; not one person who was worthy of everything they received -- can you imagine if all the biblical characters met face to face? I'm sure that there would be a lot of manslaughter, pointed fingers, and even butt-hurt-ness happening. Job had it pretty on point: he came naked from his mother's womb, and naked he can leave. We are so busy piling on clothes and accessories to cover ourselves up that we forget: when we die, we are once again naked. We forget to shed ourselves and come to each other and God in humility and honesty. There's nothing that can truly cover up our sins -- nothing can erase the fact that we are broken people. True, we all strive to be "good" (at least I'd like to think so, anyway), but we're imperfect people, and we arrive at imperfect conclusions, assumptions, and decisions. We hurt ourselves and each other, sometimes without realizing it. I have been hearing so much of "you deserve so much better than this" as of late, and yet my heart is unsettled and aches. Of course, there are certain things that happened that I wish hadn't. Of course, I feel hurt by certain events and I would like to be able to say that I did nothing to deserve it... but that's not true. Who doesn't always want to be right? Admitting we're wrong is admitting to so much more than just being "wrong" -- it is admitting imperfection, and sometimes a faulty moral compass. When we feel we did nothing wrong, we struggle to say "Sorry", even if we can empathize with why or how we have upset someone. I love my friends dearly, but I am coming to realize that sometimes, our friends are so busy trying to run over with a jacket to help us cover up. I, myself, am so guilty of often standing by my friends as encouragement, rather than truly analyzing a situation and giving honest, objective feedback. We would all rather be clothed in something that hides our shame, rather than reveal our flaws, so we do the same for our friends, regardless of whether or not it is beneficial to them. As the conversations about my worthiness continued on, I felt a bigger and bigger disconnect between my sense of self worth, my friends' perspective of me, reality, and what the Bible says about worth. What makes Jesus Christ different? What makes Him worthy? He is sinless -- yet he bore all of our shame and humility. He took upon our sins on the cross. He is the only one worthy of being a king, yet we clothe ourselves in riches of the world and stand on a pedestal to glorify ourselves. Yet instead of letting us die, submerged and drowned in our own demise of lies and sins, He shed his clothes and took upon a crown of thorns. He loved us with a love that we neither deserved nor will ever be worthy of. He sacrificed himself for you... for me.

Our worth was never in how much good we do, how many times we read the Bible, how many people we help, or even how many times we've shared the Gospel. Our worth is in the price that God purchased us with: the ultimate price -- the ultimate sacrifice. Our worth needs to stop being associated with how we feel and how others feel about us. To put this in perspective: We are the ridiculous dot of paint on a canvas that sold for billions of dollars; we cannot even fathom why anyone would find us worthy of such a ridiculous price, but to the one who bought us, we are worth even more than what s/he paid. We sit grandly in the living room for all to see, as though we are a masterpiece. We snootily scoff as Van Gogh's paintings are hung up around us, trying to outshine them with the price that was paid for us. We become offended when we are reminded that we are nothing but a spot of paint splattered on a canvas; we are so, so afraid of being truly seen. In the same way, we as Christians glorify ourselves as followers of Christ, yet we do not follow His lead. We justify our actions and words by shaming others and blaming others. We alienate those who are different and embrace one another, forgetting that we are no different from them; Christ did not differentiate between sinners and followers -- He simply loved, knowing that His followers are sinners, too. We need to start seeing ourselves as we are, and being comfortable enough to admit to our flaws and have humility in accepting them. We must be willing to honestly come before God, each other, and ourselves: naked, ashamed, sinful, and unworthy. We were not created to be perfect, but it doesn't change our worth; we are created perfect in the eyes of God, and we've already been paid for.

I know this post kind of seems like a Debbie Downer, but it's not. In fact, I was really relieved to be reminded that I am free to be imperfect. I don't have to hide behind clothes and masks and accessories. I don't have to feel like I was wronged. I don't have to pretend to be anything. I can just come as I am: fearfully and wonderfully made.

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