Achieving Self Worth

 In Blog, Guest Blogger, Michelle Cavanaugh

I have many thoughts running through my head this morning, in no particular order, as I sit in my sunny kitchen soaking up the warmth of the rays on my face. You know the saying, “The first year of marriage…” then they give you that look which says everything they didn’t say about how hard it will be and what you should expect. I knew there would be a lot of adjustments after marriage, but I did not want our first year of marriage to be one we look back on and say, “Phew! Glad we don’t have to do that first year again!” I want it to be one we look back on with joy and great memories of what we learned, not only about each other, but about ourselves. I want to keep those life lessons tucked away in an easily accessible place, to be pulled out and reminded often as we grow in Christ and life together.

Since being married, I’ve learned even more about communication… and my lack in that area. Shocking, I know! Trying to open myself up and express my thoughts, hurts, frustrations, and struggles is harder than I expected. Why is that? I don’t have a problem communicating anything else… just ask Daniel! And I think I’m slowly gathering my answer.

I’ve had days of homesickness, days of great fun, days of laughter and times with family, days of meeting new friends, and days of fatigue and frustration: more days of fatigue and frustration than I would like to admit. I kept asking myself “why is it so frustrating? Why do you feel this pressure to get X,Y, and Z done today?” Now granted, MOST people would find it frustrating if you are limited by physical conditions and restrained from doing what you WANT to do, especially us type-A personalities! But I kept asking myself why it was SUCH a big deal to be able to say at the end of the day, “I got this done and dealt with that. Ran here and ran there. It was a very productive day!” Is there anything wrong with wanting to be productive? Absolutely not!! It’s a good thing! And is it wrong to slow down on days you need more rest? Nope! So why this pressure on myself to force this on days when I shouldn’t; or be frustrated and carry this feeling of guilt and laziness around on days that I rested because my body could not go on? Why could I not communicate and express this? What was I missing?

Yesterday, it hit me, as if I walked into a block wall. It was right there in front of me the whole time. I was reading a (recently married) friend’s blog in which she was sharing a story of how marriage was exposing her battle for independence and self-worth in Christ. I realized then where my struggle lay. Why did I not see it before?!

I know my worth is in Christ. I know that what I do or don’t do should not affect my feeling of worth. I knew that, but did I fully believe it? I have been placing my value and worth on what I can do, accomplish, and bring to my marriage. I have not been placing my value and worth IN CHRIST. I’ve let those little lies take hold. If I have a day of fatigue that leaves me at the point of accomplishing little to nothing that day, I’m worthless. I’m a failure. Our “women can-do” culture has seeped into the church in such a way that I, as a Christian woman, struggle with the message that my worth is found in my independence, my job, my money that I earn, and what I do and accomplish. What lies we so easily believe!

By accepting that, I’ve robbed Daniel of the joy and blessings he receives by caring and providing for me. I’ve robbed myself of the work God could have done in my heart. Instead, I pressure myself to achieve much, so I can appear worthy; feel like I bring value and am worthwhile.

I’m asking myself these questions: Where is my heart? Where is my worth being found and in WHOM is it being found? Why am I doing what I’m doing? What is the motivation of my heart, because everything is a matter of the heart! Ephesians 2:8-10 reminds us that we are not worthy in anything but through Christ. I’m not worthy to be where I am today, but for the gift of salvation through His grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Our “works” should be to bring HIM glory, not worth to ourselves. And praise The Lord I am in the process of His molding… that He is not finished with me yet!

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ!”

Michelle Cavanaugh

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Showing 5 comments
  • Juliet

    Wow! This is Just what I needed to hear! I have been married for 2.5 years just about and am struggling with feeling caught up to other people. I’ve been trying to find my worth in so many other things other than on what God says is true and with what He places value on. I was so blessed to read an honest blog from a young wife. Thank you Michelle!

  • Christina Dizon

    True Words 😉

  • Mardi Shortridge

    Very well said Michelle. Reading your story blessed me and gave me wonderful things to consider in my own journey with the same issues. Thanks!

  • Pat Macdonald

    As one in the 50th year of marriage, I thought I might comment from a different but surprisingly similar perspective. Following my retirement after twenty-eight years of teaching, with all my children long on their own, I struggled with my sense of self-worth.
    I felt I needed to be doing more to deserve the comfortable life with which I had been blessed, and I felt undeserving of the time and freedom I was enjoying. Almost 12 years into retirement, I still find myself slipping back into that kind of thinking. Three months into retirement (exactly the amount time I had to wait before returning to the public school classroom as a sub without invalidating my state retirement), I broke my wrist in a soft fall while working in the garden. Not a big deal, but it brought me to a standstill for a while. One night while I wakefully fretted with the discomfort of the cast and second guessed the choices I had made, God brought to my mind the image of the Upper Room devotional guide that was on the dresser in the downstairs bathroom. We had received that guide regularly at church for years, but I had never included it in my daily routine. I participated in Bible studies and taught Sunday. School, and while working listened to Christian music and speakers during my drive time, but had not developed the habit of a consistent daily quiet time with God. I went downstairs, and sat down at the kitchen table with my Bible and the devotional. Ii did not begin with the current date, but just started where I opened it. To my astonishment, every scripture to which I was directed spoke directly to issues with which I had been struggling. God was teaching me that I needed to depend on and wait for Him. To do this I needed to intentionally be still and spend time with Him and in His Word. I could go on and on about the difference this has made in my life. Whenever I find myself slipping back into negative thoughts about my worth, I invariably realize I have been letting this part of my spiritual life be eclipsed by other things, sometimes even things that seem like priorities.

  • Amy Vest

    This is so good! I love this, Michelle! ♡ Thank you for sharing.

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