What do you think God wants out of you? He made you. Seems strange to go through all that effort unless you had a reason to do it, right?
But the world has billions of people, so it can be easy to feel anonymous and valueless.
As a result, humanity has created scorecards, so that we can determine who has more worth than others.
Some of the scorecards we use are looks, athletic ability, popularity, etc.
Another one of the biggest scorecards which we use is money.
The person with the nicest and newest possessions or car or house scores well in this area.
Failure to move up these scorecards points to some deficit within you. You are less valuable as a human being when you do poorly on these scorecards.
At least, that's the way we tend to think. Commercials blare about how incomplete your life is if you can't purchase their product. Books instruct us how to Win Friends and Influence People. Social media lets us compare our numbers of friends and followers against others, not mention the opportunity to judge others.
The different scorecards are necessary, for they allow us to compete against others. If you're not rich, but you're fairly popular, you'll derive your value from your popularity.
Your life runs on these scorecards, because without scorecards, how would we understand our value? A society where everyone had equal value would rob us of the satisfaction of being better off than others.
So let's compare this against what God is saying to us in the scriptures:
“The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.” Romans 12:1-3 MSG
God asks us to use the same scorecard, one that doesn't derive our value from any of our own attributes other than the fact we are utterly and unconditionally loved by him.
My favorite thing about this scorecard is that not only does it give everyone equal value, but God guarantees that it will never change or diminish for anyone.
God specifically says, “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.”
God's value in you is that you are is son or daughter. You are unable to change that value, and therefore, you can never be more or less valuable than you are at this moment.
He doesn't say these things so we can make our score higher. He says these things because he loves us completely and wants to help us avoid pain.
I say this all the time: God isn't a jerk boss. He's a loving father.
Mother Teresa said this, "God does not demand that I be successful. God demands that I be faithful."
God wants relationship with you. Not because of what he can get out of you, or what he can get you to do. God wants that relationship because he loves you. Your value never fluctuates to him.
Whether you accept that God feels this way is up to you. Nobody can force you to do so.
But man, I hope you'll toss away those other scorecards so you don't have to feel worthless with somebody else finds some success.
When we all have equally high value to God, we can celebrate the success of others instead of feeling threatened by it.
Next time you're feeling worthless, try to open yourself up to the idea that God's love is not affected by any of our scorecards, and see if that helps you grow closer to the Father we all need.
Make a list
Write down all of the places where you are getting your personal value. Money, popularity, talent, etc.
Realize where these things come from
In prayer, ask God to help you see all that you have as a gift. Something you haven't earned for yourself, but rather as something that God has allowed you to have.
The scriptures are pretty clear that what we have is God's gift to us.
Use these attributes
Ask for guidance on how to use your time, money, talent, influence, etc in a way that adds to other people's self worth rather than robs from it.
Since the only place to have maximum self worth is in seeing yourself from God's perspective, this means your focus should be on helping them to realize this truth: that they are completely and totally valuable to God.
Now, when you start feeling like you're not getting enough results, or other people are doing more than you, return to step two.
This is not a competition. God does not have a favorite son or daughter. Do you realize how crazy that is? God loves you as much as he loves Jesus.
If that doesn't blow your mind, then I don't know what to tell you, other than this: you have tremendous worth to God no matter what you've done.
My choice is to respond to God's unconditional love not by trying to earn it or deserve it, but by reflecting my gratitude through my life and actions.
I'm not earning points with God, I'm simply seeking to share with others what I have been given.
Others will do a better job and connect with more people. I'm going to do my best not to worry about that. I'm going to do the best I can with what I've got, knowing that my value isn't going up and down like the stock market. It's already pegged at the top.
(A version of this article originally appeared on I Am Second)