This week I’m focusing on my self worth. For a long time I’ve struggled with this without realizing.
I thought it was humble to think I was unworthy of spoiling myself with nice things. After all, there are children starving in Africa, right? It could be worse.
It wasn’t until recent years that I noticed I was depriving myself of the joys of life. I had confined myself to a box, seeing everything as black and white. I judged myself harshly, and found excuses as to why I shouldn’t need more.
It became harder after my missions trip to Africa. After seeing the living conditions of people who grew to be my friends, I realized I should be more than grateful for things I already possessed. However, I took it to the extreme.
Anytime I saw something beautiful in a store, I would tell myself, “You don’t need it. Be happy with what you already have. There are people living worse off than you. You should be grateful.” I would tell myself to walk away and forget about new beautiful things.
This wasn’t necessarily wrong, but it created a feeling of guilt and condemnation. I was condemning myself for having the opportunity to buy beautiful things when there were so many people who were less fortunate. Ridiculous, right?
I would walk through life like there was a dark cloud over my head. I didn’t realize I could be more free with myself – that God wanted me to live freely. There was no reason for me to feel guilty, but I compared myself.
When I received gifts – cash – from family, I would stash it and store it. If it was ever spent, it was usually on needs like gas or food. I had the opportunity to enjoy myself a little, but didn’t take advantage of it. I felt confined and restricted. What right did I have to find joy in buying something when so many people were happy just receiving food for the day?
Later I began sponsoring a child Compassion International. I felt like I was becoming part of the solution. It made me feel better about living in a world where I didn’t have to struggle for food.
This struggle with condemnation continued until I realized, I’m not supposed to feel guilty. In the Bible, a woman approached Jesus with an expensive bottle of perfume. She poured it over him as his disciples watched. They were amazed at the amount of money she had spent on that single bottle only to give it away.
One of the men exclaimed that the money could have been used to feed the poor instead. Jesus’ response was that the poor will always be around to be helped.
This isn’t exactly the same situation, but it helped me. I was able to realize that if I blamed myself for being blessed, I would always feel guilty. God doesn’t want me living a life like that – a life feeling guilty for things out of my control.
I’m not saying it’s okay to ignore the less fortunate. I’m not saying I’m splurging on my money now. What I am saying is I’m doing what I can to help. I’m doing what I can to bless others. And I’m accepting the fact that I am blessed.
If someone else were in my position, I would want them to be free with their life and enjoy it to the fullest. It’s okay to splurge every now and again. It’s okay to reward yourself. I’m doing what I can for others, and still happily sponsoring a little boy on the other side of the world. I walk through life so thankful for every little thing I have – because somewhere in the world, there is someone wishing they were in my shoes.