The most profound question and struggle a human being can have may lie in the question of personal worth and identity. The answer isn’t as complicated as the question. But we must be willing to accept the answer in order to live in it and walk in it.
I was raised in a very loving home. I never doubted my parents love for me or worth in my family. However, I was immersed in a culture that praised women more for the size of their chest and hip size than their character. I am Latina (I guess that’s the term we use now-a-days). I grew up with rich Latin roots on a Southwest border believing that the whole world was Mexican-American. I write that as I laugh, sigh and shake my head.
But the culture I grew up in, outside my home contradicted very much the core values of my family’s beliefs and yet those are the ones I grew to believe.
I was worth only the value men but on my beauty, which included my body’s size and measurements (every inch).
I guess times haven’t changed much. No matter which culture we are talking about or which door we walk out of or whether we are male or female; the message is the same, you’re only worth it if…
Some people grow up with their personal value equated to their intelligence, success in life, career, college acceptance, talents, knowledge, awards, rank, abilities.
Before we define worth we need the presence of an alternative to the things we put on alters, like looks, intelligence, success, careers etc. I want to present one of my favorite verses but less often dissected. It is God’s love letter to humanity and the most profound pieces of Hebrew poetry.
Read: Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV). Any other version will suffice.
“For you created my inmost being.” v.13
Created in Hebrew means to possess or to buy also redeem. Interesting, if you think about it. How you could be the creator of something and than be the redeemer also.
God’s claim is that not only did He create us he also paid our debt for sin at the cross by sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ to die in place of us.
I bet if Leonardo Di Vinci was alive today he’d pay his highest dollar to get the Mona Lisa back.
“you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” v.13b
“Knit” in Hebrew means to cover as to protect. The blood of sacrificial animals in ancient Jewish culture carried the weight of a protective barrier from sin and a covering from the harsh consequences from committing sin.
God makes the claim in the New Testament that Jesus is our covering. This verse shows that God’s plan has always been, even from the womb, to be our covering and protector. Oh! If only we’d let him. I spent many years fighting against God, living my way, diving deeper and deeper away from the protection he so wanted to give me.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;” v.14
Fearfully in Hebrew means ‘to morally revere’ and wonderfully means to ‘set apart’; ‘distinguished’
Our God, the creator of this world, of all humanity has created us to be morally revered and yet we spend most our lives degrading ourselves for the sake of elevating ourselves or wallowing in self-pity by torturing ourselves. The plan was to create people with moral value worthy of respect and reverence.
What has happened to humanity? We all demand, crave respect from others. The question is do we respect ourselves?
If we truly understood the concept of being fearfully and wonderfully made than Women’s Marches wouldn’t happen. We wouldn’t have to. We’d come to terms with the terms God set before our time began to tick on this earth, in the womb. We could actually conceive the hard truth that we have no rights in light of God’s hand in creation. We made nothing, we created nothing, we are owed nothing. We exist because He loves us and when there is life growing in a woman’s womb it is because He put it there. Regardless of the circumstances. Or as a counselor and friend once posed this question, how did Jesus come into the world? Poor. During political upheaval. By an unwed mother. Born in a dirty manger. And a death warrant on his back.
Did God stop it? Did Mary wish for an abortion if it were possible?
Time ticks at the rub of His fingers tips and the breath he breathes into us. Who are we to take it away?
God works ALL things out for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. Just stop worrying about the circumstances. If you aren’t feelin’ the good you might not be lovin or just haven’t waited long enough.
“My frame was not hidden from you” v. 15
Frame means “bones, power, might.”
Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and self control.
God didn’t make a blue print for weaklings, or wimps. He created us to be strong bodied and strong minded. He gave us a strong body and a strong spirit to boot.
It is easier to be overcome with fear in fearful situations and yet he gave us a spirit to withstand the storms of life. He gave us bones powerful enough to take the bumps and bruises in the journey of life. He also had our spirit in mind. Love is one of the hardest things to give when the situation calls for hate or indifference and yet he has equipped humanity to love through it. He gave us the capacity to control ourselves when everything inside us calls to indulge in the matter at hand. Indulge in the identity that beckons us that calls us away at the true worth that God has already given us. What power He has bestowed on us! If we would only use it what a different world, neighborhood we would live in.
“when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. “v. 15b
The term woven is also written “skillfully wrought” (NKJV) and means to ‘variegate’ or ‘mix colors’.
If we pay attention to that word in Hebrew we can see a skilled artesian at work mixing colors on fabric, a masterpiece of genius. What truth for such a time like this!
In America we see black, white, and brown and some variations in between, nothing more. Yet when the creator went to work He mixed beautiful colors. Color is not our idea it was God’s. When we see ‘white’ He sees color, when we see ‘brown’, He sees color, when we see ‘black’ He sees color. We judge acts based on color. We don’t see past a man’s color to arrive at character. We let acts and color go hand and hand. We equate color with character. And on the flip side we let color define us.
Let them stand separate.
Let character speak for character, and color be what it is: God’s mark on humanity.
“Your eyes saw my unformed body (literally ‘embryo’; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” v.16
Ordained means ‘predetermined’. I know this freaks people out but the truth is our days are numbered. If you are written in His book that’s a good thing and if you’re not well ,that could be a bad thing. Just remember the title of this blog: Simple Truths. Sometimes we could exchange the word simple for hard. Nonetheless they are the same for everyone even those that turn there eyes and hearts away and those that embrace it.
Here’s an illustration to help you understand how He ordains our days and how that mixes with our identity.
When I was seventeen I had a drama teacher who also read tarot cards for fun. Not quite sure you can call that fun if you’re reading someone’s “lifeline”. I was a Christian but I wanted to see what the big deal was and to prove to my friends that she wouldn’t be able to “see” anything on my life because I was a “Christian”. I called myself even though I wasn’t a Christ-follower, which is much different. The word Christian is a title, being a Christ-follower is an action. It is something you live out. A lifestyle.
So, nonetheless I had my cards and palms read. And boy was I in for a shocker. She not only saw people in my life that she had never met nor had any of my friends met but she revealed that my lifeline was short. By short she meant I would die in my early 20’s. I brushed that in back of my mind for a good long while until I could escape that idea and pretend as though it had no power.
As life went out I distanced myself further from God. By the time I was 22 I had been married, divorced, miscarried twins, moved 5 different times to escape the reality of being divorced.
When I was finally tired of running I gave my life back to the Lord. On the night I gave my life back to Him it was New Year’s Eve night. Two close friends had invited me out that night. They were cousins. I chose not to go that night I had business with God that night. I received a tearful call the next morning from my friend who told me how thankful she was glad that I hadn’t gone out with them. They had been drinking and the car had plummeted 60 feet off a Texas free way. The car broke completely in half with back seat severed. The police was in shock. He told them that if there had been anyone in the back seat they wouldn’t have died. They always rode in the front together everyone else in the back. They were family. It was a given that night would have been no different. I was 23.
When I heard that news I knew that the cards that were read about me were true. The thing is they can’t see what happens after you accept Jesus Christ in your life. They can see the darkness in your life but they can’t see light. Jesus said that He came to this world so that anyone who believed in Him would not remain in darkness John 12:46. I am now 36 and I survived death’s hunt on my life.
The night I accepted Jesus into my life my name was written in His book. I defied death that night because my Savior covered me. My days were ordained my Him.
My worth is no longer in what I could’ve been, who I was or even what I do. My worth and identity are now in that:
1. He knew me before I was placed in my mother’s womb and He knows me still.
2. He created me. He made me and morally reveres me and set me apart therefore
I am His.
3. He gave me a plan and a purpose and time to accomplish it. v.16
4. He died for me. He didn’t give me what I deserve He took it instead.
How does Psalm 139 speak to you? What parts speak loudly to you at this time?