Do you ever feel ignored? Undoubtedly we have all felt at one time or another that someone refused to take notice of us. A store clerk processing our purchase with little more than a glance can leave us irritated. A request for product information that goes unheeded can leave us annoyed. A friend not acknowledging our feelings concerning a critical issue can leave us raw. When we are bypassed, disregarded, slighted, or overlooked repeatedly, anger can set in.
I am exploring this issue with you out of recent personal experiences. I have been waiting for some paperwork that should have been in my possession nine months ago. I have been diligent in contacting the party every month or so, reminding them that they promised me last month that I should receive it in a week or two. I have gone through the irritated, frustrated, and raw stages and am now at the point of anger. But there is another stage that has begun to sneak up on me. That stage is questioning my self-worth. Why have they not responded to my requests? Am I not worthy of their consideration in this matter? Are my feelings, and therefore my sense of justice, not warranted?
But then I also think if my self-worth can be so easily challenged by others’ actions, what is my self-worth based on? Psychology tells us that having a sense of self–worth means that you value yourself, and having a sense of self-value means that you are worthy. Yes, I agree that self-esteem is essential to our overall mental health and a sense of well-being. But whether we are talking self-worth, self-value, or self-esteem, there seems to be too much self! Ultimately, I need to find my worth not in myself but outside my self, feelings, and human frailty, and my need for human affirmation.
In Deuteronomy 31:6-8, in Moses’ last counsel to the nation of Israel, we find the heart of God for his people. In speaking of their future conquest of Cannan, Moses says,
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Our ultimate self-worth must be grounded in the fact that we serve a God who will be with us. He will not fail us or forsake us. We need not fear or be dismayed. Does this mean we will not suffer because others ignore us? Does this mean we will not feel frustrated, annoyed, raw, or even angry when we are bypassed, disregarded, slighted, or overlooked? I doubt it. But it does mean our self-worth is safe with the One who finds us worthy of His love.