By Paulette Hamilton, Intown Atlanta church of Christ
Many women in the Church today struggle with issues of self-worth. This is particularly true in the US where there is a variety and complexity of cultures and mores that influence how women feel about themselves. Most women with low self-worth do not feel good about themself because they have absorbed negative messages about women from their culture and from their relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Our experiences can make us think that we are useless, powerless, weak, ugly and worthless. And when we come to the church, we sometimes compare ourselves to other women in the church and feel that we are so unworthy.
Some of us think we are not as worthy as other women in the church because we are single mothers, or because we are in abusive marriages or because we are coming out of relationships where we were not married to the man we lived with. I think these are normal and expected feelings. But these feelings should be temporary ones. These feelings should go away as we become enfolded into the community of sisters in the church and realize that in Him, we are all the same.
What is surprising to me, is that some women, after years of being in the church still have low self-worth. We are told that we are of great value in God’s eyes. *Matt 26:6* puts it like this, “Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or gather into barns--and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than them?” We are told that Jesus would not have died for us if we did not have the highest of value in His eyes. “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (*Luke 12:7*). But sadly, to some women in the church these sayings seem like empty platitudes.
Why is that? I think it is because they don’t fully understand what these scriptures mean. Take the example of the sister who said, “*All I ever wanted was a family, but men just used me and left me. I knew it was because there was something wrong with me. When I got baptized, I expected to come out of the water feeling different. I expected to feel the Holy Spirit rushing through my body and then I would know that I am truly changed, and men would look at me differently, but none of that happened*.” After six months she turned her back on God.
What is the key to having high self-worth? First, we must understand that God’s words are *NOT* and will *NEVER* be platitudes. God’s words are truth that must be meditated on, studied and internalized. Whether we know it or not, Christian women, we are worthy because God says so. But sometimes it takes a while for us to realize our worth. Our high self-worth can be realized as we begin to be transformed. But transformation is not a magical thing. Transformation comes with careful study of God’s word and with putting it into practice. Instead of sitting back and waiting for something to magically change us, we must intentionally focus on doing good to others. When we practice doing good to others, we begin to realize our esteem and high self-worth. What other *people* think of us does not matter. What matters is what *God* thinks of us. When we have a strong footing with God, we look at ourselves differently. All women should know, whoever or whatever we are, that without a doubt, we are of great value.