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Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable
then they? Matthew 6:26

Many of us learn early in life that we need to earn our sense of value.
For some, value was earned by entertaining people with our clowning acts.
For others, value came from taking care of everyone else. And for others,
value was derived from achieving success of some kind. But often there is
no way to entertain enough, take care enough or achieve enough to meet our
needs for approval. No matter how compulsively we entertain, or care or
work, we still are not able to feel valued. These substitutes do not meet
the deepest longings of our heart. In addition we run the risk of becoming
compulsively attached to these substitutes because we fear that the sense
of value which they offer is our only hope of finding peace.

The longing to experience ourselves as valued is a fundamental human need.
The need is really a need to be heard, seen, enjoyed and loved by others
for who we are rather than for what we do. No amount of earned approval
can meet this need. We long to know that we have value simply because we
exist. This kind of value cannot be earned, it must be received as a gift.

Jesus says to us "you are valuable. Simply because you are, you are
valuable". The birds of the air are God's creatures. God sees them and
cares for them. God made them and God enjoys them. They are valuable. You,
too, are God's creation, made and known by God. God sees you and cares for
you. You are of great value.

As we grow in our awareness that our true value is a gift already given
to us by God, we can begin to let go of the tight hold we have on our substitute
strategies for achieving worth.

Father, you know how attached
I have become to earning my sense of value.
But, I can never seem to work hard enough.
Thank you, Creator God,
for valuing the birds of the air.
Thank you, Creator God,
for valuing me.
Help me to receive this good gift from you.
Help me to see myself as valuable in your eyes.

Copyright 1991 Dale and Juanita Ryan
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