I sat in a session at a conference. The speaker started with this question – Why are you important?
It’s a good question. Some people instantly have answers. Some of us think for longer on that one. Unfortunately, some people draw a complete blank.
However, I hate questions like this because too often it feels like it becomes a brag session. “Well, I’m important because …” and I frequently feel my heart shrinking inside me as the skill sets of others are listed off seemingly without end.
As is typical, there were people in the crowd who were only too happy to share their answers with all of us.
“I’m important because I’m awesome.”
“I’m important because I’m loved.”
“I’m important because I’m beautiful.”
The first words that came into my head as I pondered the question were “I’m important because I am made in the image of God and I am loved by Him.” That was truth! It’s taken a significant amount of time for that to be the reason that pops out as the automatic response. I had a moment of immense gratitude.
Immediately on the heels of that amazing thought and reality came the thought “What if I am asked to share my answer in this crowd of people most of whom don’t share my faith?” My heart shrank a little. In the vast majority of places where I live my life, my default answer would have been agreed with, affirmed and supported. But in that crowd, I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be. The truth of God’s Word and the worth He sees in us isn’t something that is readily accepted today. However, it’s the truth of how He has made us. We are uniquely made in His image. No two of us are exactly the same. We’ve all been given quirks that should remind us that God is the true Creator with a vast collection of possibilities at His disposal. We are valued and loved by a God who has made the galaxies with their vast array of stars and yet He is also the One who has blown air into our lungs and given us the gift of life. That is a God whose creativity knows no bounds. He is worth announcing from the rooftops!
No one called on me to share my answer. I was sheepishly relieved. Truth should always prevail regardless of my fears and inhibitions. I have much work to do here.
I tried the same question on my learners wondering what answers they would come up with. I was richly blessed.
“I matter because I am made in God’s image.”
“I matter because God made me.”
“I matter because God loves me.”
“I matter because Jesus loves me so much He died for me.”
“I matter because I have been given a purpose.”
“I matter because God has a plan for me.”
“I matter because I am unique.”
“I matter because God knows me.”
“I matter because God always listens to me.”
I love how quickly the answers came pouring from their lips. I can only pray that they will remember these moments of affirming their God given worth. Too many things, people, circumstances quickly prey upon moments of Truth, stealing, killing and destroying the hope that this Truth longs for us to remember. When the steal, kill and destroy phrases are louder than the voice of the King, I too easily give into the lie. However, the voice of my Good Shepherd is constantly calling to me, reminding me that He knows me well and that my worth is forever tied up in Him – the giver of life, breath and hope eternal.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalm 139: 13-16