If there’s one monumental travesty about society, it’s that it does everything it can to make the worth of human beings conditional. The basis for any great marketing scheme is to convince people they need something more to become acceptable. All too often, the dark nature of our personal problems takes a toll on our self-esteem and the stinging words of others render us feeling less than human. True value cannot lie in wealth amassed or physical perfection as the media would have us believe. Why place our value in transitory things? Intelligence and capability—while being advantageous—can fade and do not define us at our core. Why do we artificially limit ourselves by these measurements? Even those of us who say we know better still frequently derive some degree of worth from them in the corners of our minds whether we realize it or not.
I think it is instead more beneficial for us to believe in the innate value of human life from the very first moment of existence. We shouldn’t have to reach a certain level to become loveable or deserving of basic human rights. Furthermore, we ought to consider value as an inherent aspect of ourselves and others. At no point does it become separable from who we are. No unfortunate change in circumstance or mistake we commit can strip it from us. That means regardless of what you are going through, you are precious. Nothing can take that from you.
I found more security in these ideas than I ever did from the endless amount of self-help books that instructed me to lift my spirits by repeating positive affirmations to myself in the mirror. My depression would keep me from putting any stock in them; somehow, the idea that I was either beautiful if I just said it more loudly or would succeed at whatever I put my mind to could never take hold. Oddly enough, my boost in self-esteem came from a previous source of shame—God. When I first started self-injuring and having panic attacks, I thought He was disappointed or even angry with me. It took the wisdom and generous patience of a friend to help me understand that all those years I’d heard “God’s heart breaks for you” really meant that it didn’t break because of me but on my behalf. He was not harshly condemning me from a throne somewhere in the clouds. He was on His knees next to mine sobbing with me and mourning the world’s brokenness.
God is not the heartless judge we’ve mistaken Him for. If He’s up in the clouds being distant, it’s because we put Him there in our own minds. We can yell at that god all we want about how he doesn’t hear us and why he doesn’t care about our suffering. The real God is camping out by our hearts saying, “I hear you. I want to walk through your journey with you.” The last thing He wants is the last thing we want—for us to face our problems alone. That’s why He begs us not to and loves us enough to give us Himself as a constant companion.