Looking for Self-Worth on a Wall?

Two walls stand in my home.

One wall is a reflection of who I am.

A sage-green wall covered with framed photographs of my family, frozen in time. Scattered among the living are snapshots of deceased ancestors from whence I came. They stare back at me with stern, sepia-colored faces. Next to these are plaques commending military service, certificates of appreciation, contests won.

Commonly known as an “I love Me Wall,” is it a showcase of my life? Or a subliminal need to affirm self-worth? No different than hanging children’s elementary artwork on the refrigerator.

See what I’ve done!

The other wall is a reminder of whose I am.

Where hangs unframed reproductions of two paintings: The Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, and Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet by Ford Madox Brown.

Bible passages captured on canvas ages ago with brushstrokes of oil paint. These art works were gifts, reminders of God’s love and mercy towards me.

See what GOD has done! And doing still…..

Why look for my worth in “things” represented on the “love me” wall?

When the ONE in whom I find my worth is revealed in the scripture behind these paintings.

A ragged, wretched son kneels in repentance at His father’s feet after squandering his inheritance. In his father’s welcoming arms, he receives forgiveness while the older brother watches in contempt.

 “I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son…’

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:19, 20)

Head bowed, Jesus is on his knees washing the dusty, calloused feet of Simon Peter while the apostles watch in disbelief.

“Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel…And so He came to Simon Peter who said to Him, ‘Lord, do You wash my feet?’… Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’” (John 13:5-8)

Do likewise, He challenges the apostles. “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Two walls stand in my home.

One wall focuses on me.

The other wall points to the Lord.

The only ONE who is worthy to be praised.

Vertical Gaze

My teenage son’s calf and thigh muscles bulged under the strain of running the one-mile race. Beads of sweat lined his tan brow. His eyes were fixed ahead, oblivious to the people in the stadium. With lips partially open, he inhaled deeply and led the other runners during the first two laps.

Then a swift runner passed my son, and left him lagging behind. My pulse quickened as I watched from the bleachers. I shouted as he ran by, “Keep going. Finish strong!”

On the final stretch of the fourth lap, my son’s face grimaced as a spurt of energy catapulted him pass the runner ahead of him, and over the finish line. Throwing his head back, he gasped for breath and let his body relax. Victory was attained, but not without endurance.

I am not a runner like my son, but I’ve been on this marathon journey called life for fifty plus years. Some days I’m in my running groove, able to persevere and finish strong.

Other days, it seems I’m on a treadmill. I’m worn out, going nowhere, and….

  •  Sick of the rat race: the pressures to make a buck, perform, and compete with the Jones.
  •      Tired of the mundane business of daily life: what do you want for dinner?
  •      Overwhelmed by the tyranny of the urgent.

BUT when I adjust my eyesight. When I shift my gaze from horizontal to vertical, I’m able to endure the race because ….

Horizontal eyes are dilated from fear and anxiety over what if’s, and situations outside of my control.

       Vertical eyes trust in a sovereign God who will lead me and not forsake me.

Horizontal eyes are envious of other people’s success, and concerned with their approval.

       Vertical eyes choose to live before God and not man.

Horizontal eyes allow the world to set the benchmark, and assess my performance and worth.

       Vertical eyes “run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith….” (Heb.12:1, 2)

 Which direction are you gazing?