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Discovering True Worth and Living a Purposeful Life in Christ

From an early age, men are taught to be tough, diligent, and self-reliant, especially as providers. Society places high value on career success, financial stability, and the ability to take charge. These expectations often overshadow the importance of humility and reliance on Christ.

Despite achieving significant milestones, such as earning advanced degrees, publishing books, serving in ministry for over 20 years, and having a loving family, I struggled with feelings of inadequacy and a lack of self-worth. The missing piece was accepting God’s unconditional love and allowing Him to guide my path.

In this article, I share how I came to understand and embrace God’s love and how it is transforming my life — a work in progress.

Understanding the Root of Inadequacy

Inadequacy is the feeling of not being enough or not measuring up to the standards and expectations set by oneself or society. It is a pervasive sense of insufficiency and self-doubt that can hinder personal growth and fulfillment. As men, we are conditioned to measure our worth by our accomplishments. The societal pressure to be the perfect provider and protector can create an unrealistic and relentless pursuit of success. This often leads to an internal struggle where no amount of achievement seems to suffice.

Spiritually, the enemy exploits these feelings of inadequacy, constantly reminding us of our shortcomings and distancing us from God’s love.

Personally, I found myself caught in this cycle. My doctorate, master’s degrees, numerous publications, even my beautiful family, and over 20 years of serving in ministry as an ordained pastor felt insufficient in quelling my feelings of inadequacy. Despite knowing better, I constantly told myself to pull myself up and push through these feelings. I was striving to meet expectations that were misaligned with God’s vision for my life, which created a spiritual void.

Spiritually, the enemy exploits these feelings of inadequacy, constantly reminding us of our shortcomings and distancing us from God’s love. Recognizing this spiritual battle was the first step in my journey toward healing and self-acceptance. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

As Brene Brown wisely said, “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” Recognizing and addressing feelings of inadequacy is a crucial part of this journey.

Recognizing Accomplishments and Blessings

In moments of reflection, I began to see my accomplishments not as the results of my effort alone but as blessings from God. Each achievement, from my academic successes to my family life and ministry work, was a testament to God’s grace and favor.

Practicing gratitude became a powerful tool in shifting my perspective. By regularly reflecting on my blessings, I started to view my life through the lens of God’s grace. Keeping a gratitude journal helped me acknowledge and appreciate these gifts, reinforcing the belief that my worth is derived from God’s love and not my achievements.

Practical Step: Keeping a Gratitude Journal

  • Each day, write down three things you are grateful for.
  • Reflect on how these blessings are manifestations of God’s grace in your life.
  • Review your entries regularly to reinforce a positive and grateful mindset.

Understanding God’s Love and Redemption

A pivotal moment in my journey was the realization of God’s unconditional love and redemption. The Bible teaches us in John 3:16 that God’s love is profound and unwavering: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This profound love is the cornerstone of our identity and worth.

Romans 8:38-39 further assures us that nothing can separate us from God’s love. This truth liberated me from the need to earn His love through accomplishments. Internalizing these biblical truths transformed my self-perception, allowing me to see myself as God sees me: valued, loved, and redeemed.

To deeply internalize God’s love, I immersed myself in daily meditation on Scripture and prayer and surrounded myself with a supportive faith-based community. These practices reinforced the reality of God’s grace and love in my life.

I remember a particularly tough season when everything seemed to be falling apart. I was overwhelmed with responsibilities at work and home. One evening, I broke down in prayer, asking God for guidance. The peace that followed was indescribable. It was at that moment that I truly felt God’s presence and realized that I was not alone in my struggles.

Embracing God’s Plan for My Life

Aligning my life with God’s plan required a significant shift in focus. Jeremiah 29:11 promises, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Trusting this promise required faith and patience.

Setting spiritual goals that aligned with biblical principles helped me stay on track. These goals included regular prayer, Bible study, and service to others. By prioritizing spiritual growth, I found greater alignment with God’s will for my life.

Understanding that my worth is based on being a child of God rather than my achievements was transformative.

Trusting God’s timing and process was also crucial. Life’s challenges and delays often serve a greater purpose in God’s plan. Embracing this truth cultivated patience and resilience, helping me remain steadfast in my faith.

Practical Step: Setting Spiritual Goals

  • Establish a daily routine for prayer and Bible study.
  • Identify ways to serve others in your community.
  • Regularly review and adjust your spiritual goals to ensure they align with God’s plan.

Cultivating Self-Love and Acceptance

A significant part of my journey involved learning to love and accept myself. Mark 12:31 teaches us to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” implying that self-love is essential for loving others.

Practicing self-love included positive affirmations, self-care routines, and seeking professional counseling when needed. Building a support network of friends and mentors who affirmed my worth in Christ was also beneficial.

Understanding that my worth is based on being a child of God rather than my achievements was transformative. This realization helped me cultivate a healthy self-image and a sense of peace. When the enemy tells you that you are not enough, or you tell yourself that you are not enough, remind yourself that you are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image and that everything God created is good.

Interactive Element: Self-Love Affirmations

  • Write down and repeat daily affirmations such as “I am loved by God,” “I am valuable,” and “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
  • Reflect on these affirmations in prayer and meditation to internalize their truth.

Conclusion

Embracing God’s love and purpose has been the foundation for a fulfilling life. By shifting my focus from worldly achievements to God’s grace, I discovered my true worth and contentment. Living purposefully involves aligning my life with His will and trusting in His plan. Through gratitude, understanding God’s love, and cultivating self-acceptance, I’ve overcome feelings of inadequacy and now live a life that reflects my true potential in Christ. My journey is a testament to the transformative power of God’s love and the fulfillment that comes from living a purposeful life in Him.

By rendering our humility unto Him and allowing Him to guide, direct, and facilitate our path, we can break free from the chains of societal expectations and live a life of true purpose and fulfillment. In doing so, we become the mirror reflection of the One who created us, fully aligned with His will. This transformation is a continuous process—a work in progress—and the chapter of my life is still being written.

Questions for Reflection:

  • How have societal expectations impacted your sense of self-worth?
  • What steps can you take to align your life more closely with God’s plan?
  • In what ways can you practice gratitude and self-love in your daily routine?

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Derrick Love
Derrick Love
Dr. Derrick Love is a published author who enjoys writing for both an academic and spiritual perspective. He is an alumnus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the University of Phoenix. Dr. Love has been in ministry for over 15 years as an associate pastor and loves serving the Body of Christ. Also, Dr. Love has 18 years in K-12 public education serving in diverse administrative roles and 15 years in higher education as an adjunct faculty member. Dr. Love enjoys spending time with his wife and three amazing children.

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