He was a young minister who lived in the Midwest.
One day, he told me about how he once went to a reception for a number of ministers who had gathered in a particular city. Many of these people were quite well-known. This young minister said, “I felt like a complete nobody.”
Now he never indicated that someone did something rude or demeaning at this reception. He never suggested these people acted superior in any way. Yet, his feelings were very real. He felt as if he was less important than the other people in this room.
I can relate.
For years, I judged my own worth by what I perceived others thought, said, or did.
- One day I feel great. I am asked to speak at a church that I really admire. However, the next day, I feel down, after learning that a good friend is about to become the minister for a very large church.
- One day I feel great. I have the opportunity to talk with a well-known minister. The next day, I feel inadequate as I think about how much better his church is doing than the one I serve.
- One day I feel great. I write an article that is accepted for publication. The next day, I feel low when I find out that my friend is about to have his first book published.
- One day I feel great. I am invited to teach a class at a wonderful lectureship. Later, I feel crummy at this lectureship, learning that there is standing room only for my friend’s popular class.
- One day I feel great. A church calls to see if I am interested in possibly serving as their next minister. Later, I feel miffed when I learn that two of my friends have already turned them down. I am actually their third choice.
Up and down. Up and down.
I remember the day when a therapist looked me in the eye and said, “I think you put way too much importance in what people think about you.” Did he ever nail that one! I had allowed my feelings to be ruled by whatever someone might say or do at the moment.
Self-worth is not to be determined by popularity, education, salary, size of church, etc. My worth is to be determined by the one who loved us and made us.
What do you think? Have you ever placed too much importance on what others thought, said, or did? What has been helpful in dealing with this?