hands hold a small round mirror reflecting a lake and mountain perfectionism

Stop trying to earn God’s unconditional love and remind yourself where your self-worth really comes from.

Escape the trap of self-worth tied to achievements

Think for a minute about what you are striving for in life. What is it that drives you to work really hard? What’s the narrative that runs through your mind when feeling this drive to accomplish things?

Many of us are trapped in a false narrative, trying desperately to earn what we can’t, despite the reality that we don’t actually have to. Why? Because – unbeknownst to us – we already have it. 

What the heck am I talking about? Let’s break this down. 

The “it” is our self-worth, and the narrative we’re stuck in is perfectionistic self-reliance

When our sense of worth is dependent on what we do, our drive to earn our value propels us to exasperation and despair. Relying on our own abilities or achievements, we think, “If I can just show how good I am, I’ll prove my adequacy. And then I might have a chance at being loved. Then I can see myself as good.” 

But who said anything about having to earn love? 

Embrace God’s Unconditional Love

Unconditional love is what you were made for, and Who you were made by! The dignity of your human personhood is intrinsically valuable. You can’t change that value, no matter how badly you blow it. (And your human frailty means you are broken by sin, so you’re definitely going to blow it, probably badly.) 

God knows all of this…and He’s crazy about you anyway! 

If we were only worth what our good performance dictates, we would all be in a lot of trouble. But if even our worst mistakes and sins are actually opportunities to deepen our trust in His divine mercy, then what do we have to fear? 

If God sees ALL of you, including your brokenness, and pours out His blood and mercy for you, who are you to not be merciful with yourself? 

a woman with dark hair with her face turned upwards toward the sky

We are not perfect. And that’s okay! Extend compassion to yourself. God does.

All of your mistakes or failures are not evidence of your worthlessness, but rather are opportunities to learn, grow, trust, and abandon yourself to God’s great love for you.

Have you ever looked at childhood pictures of someone you love? Seeing the past-version of a loved one probably fills you with delight and affection. That’s how God sees you. 

He delights in you just being yourself, simply because you are His child. 

God is outside of time and He sees you as a saint already, with Him in eternity. He loves you as the best version of yourself already, even if you aren’t yet there in time. We can learn to see ourselves in the same way. You might already feel affection towards looking at past pictures of yourself. Allow yourself to have that same sense when looking in the mirror.

The good work that you strive to do doesn’t have to be out of fear that you won’t be loved. You are loved, whether you do another good deed or not. You already have God’s unconditional love. This means every good deed you do for God is an “I love You, too” instead of a “Will You love me now?”

Written by Sean Faulkner, IDDM Training Director


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