What Determines Your Worth?
by Diane Cretin
We are God's handiwork, created to do good things, not for us but for the purpose of serving God and others. I think we often forget this and look at a person and decide what their value is based on their physical beauty.
I have been thinking a lot about what determines beauty or worth. It is skin color? A cool haircut? Perfectly manicured nails? Not being overweight?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then I would have no value. I have very pale skin because I am of Irish descent; I have been cutting (hacking on) my own hair since sheltering in place began; I don't normally manicure my fingernails because I like to dig in the dirt in my garden; and I am overweight.
The last is because I am a stress eater. So while sheltering in place, I have made eating choices that are not really good for my health. I have also not been exercising unless you count gardening. Some of you may be shaking your heads now and thinking, "She really ought to know better." Others may be thinking, "That is understandable. These times are not normal."
But here's the thing - Psalm 139: 13-14 says:
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
The Bible also tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. I have not been treating my body like a temple. So what do I do if I want to be able to watch my granddaughter grow to adulthood? I am going to have to make some changes. I plan to enlist the help of my family so I have a greater chance of sticking to a healthier eating style and encourage them to join me. This won't be about looks; it will be about becoming more healthy and treating my body in a way that is honoring to God.
Ephesians 2:10 says " Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives." (CEB) You can be limited in what you can do for God when you are out of shape, although I believe all of our efforts please God. We need to be careful not to determine the value of ourselves or others based on physical looks or abilities.
As a visual learner, I enjoy seeing differences in things. I was never a Barbie fan because I don't believe the original Barbie helped create positive self-esteem in children. I did think it was good when they created three more body types and increased the number of skin tones, eye colors, and hairstyles. They also starting making dolls with the skin disease vitiligo (the condition where the skin loses its pigment cells) and without any hair as well as ones in a wheelchair and having a prosthetic leg.
My red-headed granddaughter does not care if a doll looks like her and she loves different skin tones. Last year when she wanted a new doll for Christmas, this is what her mom got her. Olivia loves it and was just playing with it again last week.
I hope you don't determine your beauty and worth based on physical beauty. You may have a somewhat plain face but a lovely smile that lights up your eyes when you smile. How do we not feel good when we see someone like this? You could be what some people feel is ugly but have the kindest heart there is, always looking for some way to help others. If you are this person, I believe God smiles as He watches you. God sees your heart and delights in you.
I think selfless acts of service to others are so much more important than physical looks. I believe that when we do acts of service we most show that we are created in God's image. We are blessed with so many people in our church family who are good at doing acts of service - and I am not saying that any of them are ugly! But I find that I don't care how any of them look; I am in love with their servant hearts.
Because I was thinking of shapes this week, I wanted to share some origami with you. Origami is something that starts out plain, as a flat piece of paper. But bend it different ways and it ends up being wonderfully made.
If you are interested in making origami, you can get a book from the library, from a local bookstore, or order one online. There are also multiple free online resources. My husband Lee shared this link:
Follow the link and scroll down to a shape you like, then click on the picture. Next click on PDF diagrams at the top to get the instructions. The jumping frog is a fun one.
This week's art was done by my husband Lee. He has been enjoying getting back into making origami. Lee makes things and gives them away, which delights our 8-year-old granddaughter Olivia. Here are some of his creations.
Lee made a box for Olivia. She always has treasures to put in a box.
Lee also made:
a cat head
a jumping frog
(push on lower back to make it jump)
and some cranes
So back to shapes. Do you stop and see yourself as God sees you, fearfully and wonderfully made in His image no matter what your physical shape is? Do you ever stop and appreciate what a wonderful person you truly are? If your answer is NO, then stop right now for a moment. Stop and breathe in and out slowly. Think to yourself as you breathe in and out: I am wonderfully made in God's image. Repeat it again - and again - until you believe it. I want you to know that I feel so very blessed by the community of people in this church. You are my extended family and I am thankful for you.