In 2014, Keith and Kristyn Getty released a song entitled My Worth is Not in What I Own. It examined the gauntlet of things we might look to to find our value, such as skills, achievements, and wisdom. (If you haven’t heard this song, I highly recommend listening to it.)
As a mom of seven, my days and my identity can become easily wrapped up in my little blue-eyed blessings. So I began to wonder, “Where do moms look to find their worth?”
As moms, we tend to beat ourselves up and suffer from “mom guilt”. We wear so many hats (chef, nurse, teacher, Uber driver, etc.), we can easily become overwhelmed and disillusioned. There is so much to accomplish every day and we are spread so thin that we wonder if our tiny efforts are really making a difference. Does what we’re doing actually matter?
Similarly, with all of the “mom advice” out there and the comparisons we measure ourselves up against on social media, it can be easy to feel like we fall woefully short.
So where does our worth come from as moms? Before we dive into that, let’s look at where it does not come from.
1) Our worth does not come from our appearance.
From messy mom-buns, yoga pants, spit-up stains, and dark eye circles, to never leaving the house without a manicure, mascara, and Michael Kors, our worth never boils down to our looks or fashion sense. Our clothes and handbags will go the way of the moth. Our jewelry will corrode. Our beauty will fade like an evening shadow. All of us are going to get more gray hairs, creases, and sags with time. Furthermore, the Lord says that beauty is vain, that our adorning should not be in our hairstyles or accessories, and that He doesn’t look on our outward appearance.
2) Our worth does not come from our skills, talents, or achievements.
God has created each of us with unique abilities and gifts. You may be an amazing athlete with trophies lining your shelf, or a talented singer with a long list of credentials. God may have given you superior skills with your hands to build and create things. Maybe you are really crafty and have a flourishing Etsy shop. Or perhaps, on the other end of the spectrum, you’ve had to put your talents on hold as you prioritize your young family. Regardless of your gifting, it is not the wellspring of your worth. All of our talents and gifts come from God, as does our life and breath and everything! We do not add to our value by being talented, nor do we take away from it when we have to press the pause button during certain seasons.
3) Our worth does not come from our intelligence or wisdom.
Perhaps your wall is decked with degrees, or maybe you “only” finished your GED. Maybe you defended your dissertation but now spend all of you time doing dishes and diapers. You may be a successful businesswoman, top in your field, or maybe you left it all behind to stay at home with your kids. Regardless of how the world views your intelligence (or what you’ve done with it), remember that the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God, and that the beginning of true wisdom is the fear of the Lord.
4) Our worth does not come from our physical strength.
Running 5Ks, training for triathlons, being a spin class junkie, or a weight lifting Wonder Woman—none of it makes us any more valuable in the eyes of God. Or perhaps you have an illness or a physical handicap that makes it harder or impossible for you to do certain things. That does not make God value you less. We undeniably want to be good stewards of the body God has given us, and most of us want to be healthy and active for our kids and grandkids. But having a fine physique is not the epochal existence, and one day the strength of our flesh will fail.
5) Our worth does not come from our parenting preferences or convictions.
Whether you wear the number of children you have like a badge of honor, or think large families are crazy (we are!); whether you’re an anti-vaxxer or religiously keep your child’s immunization records up to date; whether you buy all organic, non-GMO or Pop-Tarts and cheese puffs; whether you homeschool, private school, or public school, your worth is not in any of those things. These are our preferences, and may even go as deep as being a conviction, but they do not give us value. The majority of moms out there make decisions based on what they think is best for their family. We cannot set one mom’s choice up against our own to determine our worth.
6) Our worth does not come from our service done for the kingdom.
There are a number of ways moms can serve God’s kingdom. And there are even a variety of children’s ministries we can be involved in, such as serving in the nursery, helping at Vacation Bible School, teaching a Sunday school class, or leading a children’s choir. Certainly as believers, God has good works He has prepared in advance for us to do. But none of these things, even though they are good things and very worthy of our time and energy, give us value in God’s eyes.
7) Our worth does not come from our obedience to God’s commandments.
As Christian moms, we strive to follow God’s commandments as an act of reasonable worship and gratitude for all He has done for us. We pursue loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourself. But when we fall short, God does not love us less. And when we succeed, God not does love us more. (Read those last two sentences again.) Likewise, even if we have the most well-behaved, well-mannered, polite children, our “mom worth” does not increase. And isn’t it encouraging to know that even on the days our children put their sin nature on full display, or we have an older child in full out rebellion to God, our worth as a mom does not decrease!
We have explored a lot of “nots”! Since our worth does not come from these things, then where do we get our worth?
Our worth is in two things:
1) As humans, our worth is in being image bearers of the living God.
The value of a created thing comes from the worth of the one who created it. In the beginning, God created male and female, and He made both in His own image, or imago Dei. We were made to reflect His nature, or attributes, like light bounces off a mirror and illuminates the room, or as the moon reflects the radiance of the sun. Because God is of infinite worth and has the greatest value of any thing in all of existence, we have value because this inestimable, eternally valuable Being created us!
2) As Christians, our worth is in the merit of Christ Jesus, in two ways:
a) Jesus Christ is the second person of the Triune Godhead, the Son, fully God and fully man, the spotless Lamb who was the perfect sacrifice for sin once and for all. When we repent of our sins and trust in Him, His atoning blood covers and cleanses all the dark stains of our sin. We are immediately accepted in God’s sight because of the perfect, eternal worth of His Son’s sacrifice. We can do nothing to mar that worth and we can do nothing to add to it. And we can do nothing to earn it. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8). The grace, the salvation, and the faith are ALL a gift of God.
b) Jesus Christ always lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father. Everything He did while on this earth was in order to “fulfill all righteousness”. He came to do everything in God’s law perfectly because He knew that we would never be able to ourselves. And when we are united with Him by faith, His perfect obedience, or righteousness, is also united to us. It is imputed to us and we are inseparable from it. When God looks at those who have been made one with His Son by faith, He doesn’t see our mud-tracked sin record (past, present, or future), He only sees the perfect value of Christ’s obedience.
So, moms, when we despair that we are not doing a good job, or that we have sacrificed our time, talents, and bodies for this role, or fear that our value is decreasing as we age and our role adjusts as children grow and leave the home, remember that our worth comes from none of these things. In fact, we are not valuable because of our role at all. We are valuable because God says we are, and He is the ultimate assigner of worth!