I was having a conversation on the phone the other day with a precious sister in the Lord. As we were making small talk, I reminded her that she and I share the same birthday month, and we wanted to know each other’s plans. I of course, have been thinking for months on what I want to do for my birthday so, without uncertainty, I effortlessly let her know that my plans consisted of me, spending a little time away in a serene environment so that I can relax by myself. I then returned the question to find out what her plans were. She too, need not any time contemplating her answer though her response was quite different. She quickly replied, “You know what, I try to forget my birthday! I don’t celebrate my birthday, I haven’t celebrated it in years, and it doesn’t exist to me anymore… I’ve just kind of done away with it…!” I can remember hearing the shame, guilt and self-condemnation in her voice as she justified her choice to not celebrate. I believe she heard it too as she followed up with the question, “Is that a bad thing?”
Not wanting to celebrate birthdays is not abnormal. There are many cultures and religions who choose not to partake in the revel of birthdays or other occasions one might consider to be special. So, her not wanting to celebrate her birthday was not a concern for me rather it was her reasoning behind why she chose not to celebrate. She went on to explain that she chose to denounce her birthday because of the bad memories that were associated with it. As a result, her way of resolving (by that I mean suppressing) the continuous internal conflict that transpired every year when her birthday came around, was to simply refuse to acknowledge the day she was born- which is a strategy we all use when we don’t know how to resolve, cope or confront past issues in our lives. After she explained to me her reasoning, we both chuckled because I completely understood where she came from and it was tickling to admit our truths out loud to one another. Being that I received a clearer reason for her not celebrating her birthday, I felt compelled to ask her if I could celebrate her. She allowed me to make arrangements even though she did not feel deserving or worthy of God’s goodness. Since I could relate to her, I shared my testimony of how God showed me that although I did not deserve his goodness, He thought I was worthy of Him expressing his goodness towards.
We All Have Times Where We Feel Unworthy, Or Undeserving
Truth is, we all will face a time where our lives will prove that we are undeserving of God’s goodness. Because we all have fallen short and failed to meet His expectations of righteousness, we don’t deserve to experience His love, grace or mercy. This is the main reason why Christ suffered and died in our stead- because we could not pay the price ourselves. The thing that’s worse than us constantly condemning ourselves, is that the enemy will help us remember the fact that we don’t deserve anything good from God, while allotting even more time trying to convince us that we are also unworthy of any good thing from God and that we have lost our value to Him and therefore, an insignificant being. Although it’s healthy for us to know that we are not deserving of God’s goodness (so that we won’t boast in our own self-righteousness), God has proven throughout Scripture that we ARE worthy of his goodness!
We ARE Worthy Of God’s Goodness!
When I think of being undeserving yet worthy, I immediately think of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). This story is about a loving father who had two sons- one of which made wasteful and foolish decisions with his inheritance which left him destitute and seemingly worthless. He went back to his father’s house to plead for his father’s forgiveness and to come back as a slave. Instead the father overwhelmed him with hugs and kisses, called for his servants to dress him in a fine robe, a ring, sandals, and to prepare a feast. The prodigal son knew he didn’t deserve to be brought back in his father’s house as a son, so he hoped for a position as a slave. However, his father declared that he was worth more to him than a slave. This story reminds us that God found worth in us even when we don’t see it in ourselves! Scripture says,
“For our sake, he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2nd Cor. 5:21)
The word “sake” means that it was for our benefit or advantage that Christ became a sin offering for mankind. The God Almighty has a special interest in us that is so significant, he chose to sacrifice his only begotten son in order to preserve us. Are you feeling worth anything yet? In another passage it says,
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet…” (Psalms 8:4-6)
We are but earthen vessels, made lower than angels yet our Heavenly Father saw fit to crown us with glory and honor. Not only that but He made us rulers over the works of His hands and put everything under our feet! I know you’ve got to feel like you’re a little bit worth something now?!
Sometimes it takes a while to get use to the fact that we are undeserving yet worthy of God’s goodness. No matter what we’ve gone through and no matter how far we’ve fallen, He loves us and we are valuable to Him!