I’m taking this class in my counseling program right now, Foundations of Counseling, and it is supposed to be the first class you take in the program but, here I am 25% of the way through before I’m taking it. Dean Buchanan always accused me of taking things the wrong way and out of order. He was right. Anyway, the class covers things like the beginning of the client-therapist relationship, attending skills and other basic skills needed to be competent counselor.
Last week in class we spoke briefly on the subject of co-dependency. Briefly, co-dependency is the act of finding your value, self-worth and meaning from things or people outside of yourself. Like finding meaning. purpose and value in your job, friends, car, house, toys, significant other, how people view you, clothes and anything else that is outside of you. Anything that can influence you from the outside of yourself. My professor stated that the only legitimate place to gain that self-worth is from within ourselves. Value can’t be derived from what other people say or think about you.
As I began to think about this, I think that it needs to be taken one step further… to our value, worth and meaning coming from what God thinks about us and the value that God places on us. I think there is an amount of co-dependency there, but a healthy level. God has created us, and it is only him that can give us any value, any worth. I like this better. Because if I leave it up to myself I am susceptible to allowing the messages that I hear from outside to cloud the way that I value and consider myself. Take this song for example, Celldweller one of my fav bands has a song entitled Symbiont and the tag for the song is:
Eraseable – Expendable
Words like this tap into my already shaky sense of worth and value. And if I rely on myself I’m not sure if I am able to overcome these thoughts and persuasions. So looking to myself, isn’t enough. There has to be another measure for me. What can I use to determine my worth that isn’t from other people who can’t be trusted to bring me my true value and isn’t from myself that also can’t be trusted to bring my true value. I believe as humans we have a basic need for community, to belong, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And the other side of this need, is one of greatest fears: that we don’t have community, that we don’t belong, that we aren’t a part of something bigger. I also believe that this fear is stronger than our ability to overcome it and see our true value and worth. Maybe not stronger, but it easily over powers us. Kind of like the Darkside of the Force in Star Wars. The Darkside isn’t stronger but, it seems stronger because it builds on things like anger, hate, fear, and malcontent. Our fears are just like this… they seem stronger because they are easily able to over power us because in the deepest recesses of our minds we are scared that our fears are true. That fear gives our fears their greatest strength.
The way to fill the need that we have to belong doesn’t come from other people totally. Just like the need to feel value doesn’t come from us completely. We have to look inside ourselves and beyond ourselves. We have to tap into something else. God is the only answer. He is able to fill all the holes and complete all the voids that we have in our lives. God has placed a value on us that we can’t match anywhere else. God values us enough to have created us in the first place. God values us enough to chase after us to have a relationship with us. God values us enough to fix our screw ups in order to maintain the relationship with him. Ultimately, God values us enough to die for us. We have created a rift between God and us and the only way to fix it is for someone to pay the price to fix it. The rift is created by sin, God being completely holy is unable to surround himself with anything that is unholy. Because of this intrinsic and fundamental foundation our sin-scarred, tattered-rags of excuses for lives are unable to approach him. Hence the need for a Savior. Grace is defined as not getting what we deserve while simultaneously getting what we don’t deserve. God in his glory has decided to overcome the laws of physics: become a human, be fully human (yet fully divine) and struggle like the rest of us, yet remain untainted and unscarred by sin. After being fully human he dies in our place, takes our punishment in order for the rift to be crossed. God does the unimaginable and extends grace so that we can once again know him.
Why does this matter to our conversation about value? God values us enough to turn the whole universe upside-down to bring us back to him. The only place we are going to find someone to value us that much is through God. Looking within us isn’t enough. We have to allow God to bring our value and worth to us. Now the hard part of life is putting that value into action and to begin to see ourselves the way God does. There are good days and bad days. Our feelings of our inability to measure up don’t affect the way God measures us. God loves us the same no matter what. There may be days that are more disappointing to him than others, but his love never changes. Christ said he was the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His love remains constant.
Now, I just need to value myself the way God does.