As I’ve wrestled with understanding my own worth, I’ve heard a lot of self-positivity messages reminding me no matter my body type, job, parenting style, or social status, I’m valuable and “worth it.” In many ways, it’s refreshing. We see posts on social media or even in advertisements saying we’re valued just as we are—and that’s true. But what our culture doesn’t answer—at least sufficiently—is why.
Why are we valuable? Because unless we understand the why, those messages eventually ring hollow. Maybe Instagram tells us we’re valuable, yet that same app is a catalyst for so many of us feeling like we never measure up. A motivational speech is great at first, but like a sugar-high, it wears off. We can repeat mantras all we want, but unless those mantras are built on a strong foundation of truth, they’ll eventually fail us. We need lasting truth to sustain us and remind us we have inherent worth and value not just because we say so—but because God says so.
Created in His Image, Invited to be Children
Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1 goes on to say that God blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply, and He provided food to sustain them and for them to enjoy (Gen. 1:29). And then He calls His creation of humans not just good, but very good (Gen. 1:31).
Adam and Eve were not an afterthought when God spoke the universe into being. They weren’t a utilitarian necessity like other ancient stories depicted. Humans were—and are—creation’s centerpiece, the finishing touch, the crowning glory, the very image of God Himself.
In the same way, you are not an afterthought. You are not an accident or a mistake. You are not forgotten by God or left by Him on the bottom shelf of His creation. You do not need to prove your worth by your looks or your accomplishments or your performance or even your impeccable theology. You’re already His image bearer, intricately formed by the powerful and loving hands of a God who sees and knows every part of you.
I used to have this recurring daydream that played in my mind especially on dark, discouraging days. I pictured walking toward Jesus, seeing Him from a distance, and nervously—but excitedly—moving toward Him. I wanted to crawl in His lap, to soak up His love and grace, His mercy and compassion. But as soon as I got close to Him, my countenance changed as I looked at His face. I stopped—puzzled and saddened—a few feet short of where He sat. I didn’t crawl into His lap. Instead, I awkwardly shifted my weight and hung my head lower and lower with every passing second. He looked straight at me, then looked at the ground, shook His head, and walked away.
This image felt so real, so indicative of how I viewed myself and Jesus. I longed for Him to say, “Well done,” but I believed instead I’d be a disappointment, not even worthy of an explanation. He’d only shake His head and turn back, throwing up His hands that this worthless woman would dare to approach Him.
But that is not who Jesus is. Unlike the distant deities in ancient Near East culture, the one true God actually cares for the people He created—to the point where He sent His Son to die for us and invites us to be His children.
Oftentimes, I believe I must have used up His patience, wearing Him out with my pettiness and disobedience. But God’s love never runs dry, and He never tires of us coming to Him.
John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” When we confess our failures and our waywardness and believe that our healing comes only through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we are saved—and not just saved from peril, thrown on a lifeboat, and then forgotten. We’re children of God, saved and called to live as citizens of His kingdom. While we’ll share in suffering in this life, we also get to enjoy all the rights, privileges, and even the inheritance that comes with being His child.
We can approach God as a loving, gracious, generous, forgiving Father. We can cry out to Him, and He won’t dismiss us as if we’re a kid annoying a parent. And one day we will fully reap the benefits of being an heir in the kingdom of God—a kingdom that will never be shaken (Heb. 12:28).
He Decides Our Worth
The clichés of our culture will never be strong enough to battle an enemy intent on breaking us. But the devil cannot sway us when we’re firmly rooted in the truth. When we know we bear God’s image, when we’re fully assured of His love for us, when we stake our lives on the reality of being His child, and when we trust Him as a perfect Father, we can find rest. We can find the strength to take another step, even when life becomes impossibly hard. We can know the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” and see how that peace truly does guard our hearts and our minds (Phil. 4:7).
Our culture, our family, our friends do not decide our worth. Even we do not decide our worth. As the one who formed every bone in our body and every hair on our head, God gets to decide.
And He has declared you His image bearer, a person deeply loved by Him, and through Christ, He has even declared you His child.
SARAH J. HAUSER is a writer and speaker living in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and four kids. She shares biblical truth to nourish the soul — and the occasional recipe to nourish the body. Sarah completed her B.A. and M.A. at Wheaton College. She’s a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and has written for Coffee + Crumbs, Risen Motherhood, The Rabbit Room, The Gospel Coalition, (in)courage, and more. Find her at sarahjhauser.com, on Instagram (@sarah.j.hauser), or check out her monthly newsletter at sarahjhauser.com/subscribe.com.