Identity in Christ = Worthlessness

comments 2
the godless side

Finding your identity in Christ…

This was a message spoken to me day-to-day, week-to-week for decades.  It was about my self-worth, and my need to find it in another entity.  What does that mean when that entity disappears from your psyche by disbelief in his existence?  It means your worth disappears along with it.

My worth, as a human, inherently and intrinsically, was always nothing.  I was only valuable through the eyes of god, who was willing to look past all the filth and redeem me.  This means that without god, I was worthless.  Without his eyes, I was worthless.  And without his love to wash away all my nastiness, there was nothing his eyes could even see to give me worth.

So, not only was my worth only ever found in god, my potential worth through his redemption was also only found in him.

This echoes my mother and her messages of my worthlessness outside of perfect performance.

But I’m now 31 years old.  I’m an adult, without god and without my mother within 1500 miles of me.  So what makes me feel so worthless now?

Myself.

These messages given to me in my earliest of brain formation are extremely hard to rewire.  I’ve learned to be my worst critic, my worst judge.  I’ve learned how to be the eyes of god (because it was always me anyway), but I’ve lost the blood of Christ to redeem me.  The judgment remains without the grace.  Learning to give myself grace, compassion, and unconditional love outside of perfection is my only hope for regaining a sense of self-worth.

I never loved myself.  I only loved god, but hated myself.  Self-love was indulgent and sinful.  Self-love was selfish and worldly.  But now…. self-love is all that can save me.

I must find my own worth in myself.  I must find the love within myself.  I must be my greatest friend instead of my worst enemy.

 

Kristin Neff and her research on self-compassion have been a great resource for me.  I hope I can grow in its practice, because I think that that may be a threshold for me in finally regaining a sense of worth.

 

 

The Author

I'm a closet atheist christian missionary. Paradigm shifts happen frequently for those who allow themselves to think critically about currently held beliefs and openly about new ones. I’ve developed the skill, or perhaps addiction, for change but the community around me is slow to catch up -- and would damn me if they knew where I stood.

2 Comments

  1. Violet says

    “The judgment remains without the grace.”

    I’ve never thought of it that way before, but that is *exactly* what it is. And it’s had one hell of an impact on me since my deconversion.

    I recently bought a book by Marlene Winell, the american psychologist who put Religious Trauma Syndrome on the map. Her book called Leaving the Fold has been very insightful and discusses at length the damage indoctrination does to us as children. Much of the book focuses on how deconverts can heal our inner child…there is a free workbook on her website that goes with the book which is helpful. I’ve found so much useful knowledge in this book, but alas, even as one heals, the scars never go away.

    Many hugs, Teal. ❤

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  2. I find that, when I surround myself with people who don’t care how they look, who don’t care about their accomplishments, their level of education, or social status, I’m much happier – because, then I forget to care about those things too. I also have to take care to not use those traits to “short-cut” respect out of people. Otherwise, I just perpetuate that culture that values people for for the success/appearance, etc, rather than inherently valuing people. Anything that makes you feel “better” than other people. I shun any instinct in myself to indulge that feeling. Because when you define yourself or your self-worth by your accomplishments, your appearance, etc., you’re setting yourself up for insecurity.

    When I first attended college, I dated a guy who was really into his looks. He liked to go shopping for clothes and go to tanning salons. We broke up, and I met my husband and his roommates. I was fascinated. There was no pretense about these guys. They didn’t pretty themselves up (and they didn’t look pretty) – it was such a contrast to the other culture I had been immersed in, I was fascinated.

    Of course, there’s a healthy balance, and I’m sure it varies by the person, but I think the root of the difference is that the first group thought about themselves a lot. The second group never thought about themselves – didn’t know, didn’t care what they looked like.

    Of course, when your family (or friends) are so focused on their/your appearance, accomplishments, etc., I can understand how it can be a bothersome reoccurring theme in your life. I have family members who place a lot of value in intelligence or accomplishments. It can be toxic at times. Sometimes, it takes me a few days to shake it off. Thank goodness for the people who simply love me for who I am, for trying my imperfect best – particularly my husband and children. I’m very fortunate!

    As far as me loving myself – I don’t know. I don’t think about it much. 😉

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