Aug 12, 2019

My Worth Is in Christ

I didn’t become a Pastor’s Kid (PK) until August 2012. I was 16 at the time. Becoming a PK so late in my life offered an interesting and eye-opening perspective. Although my family had been super involved in church, it was a different experience. I remember looking at my pastor’s kids when they were acting anything other than godly and thinking: They should know better – they’re the pastor’s kid! Being thrown into the fish-bowl allowed me to see how wrong my thinking was.

My Dad stepping into ministry started one of the most difficult, growth-filled, and rewarding seasons of my life. We had to leave behind all of our friends, family, school, church and the home I had spent my entire life in. Although I accepted the move as God’s will, I was still angry at what I had to give up following it. By God’s grace, this anger did not last long as His Spirit worked through Truths I had known but needed to apply. It was during this time that I had to put full reliance on God and His provision.

While this season was so difficult, I could see God work and provide in amazing ways. One of the greatest blessings of living in a ministry family is seeing Jehovah Jireh’s work first hand. I began to experience God in a more personal and real sense. I could share story after story of God slowly revealing more and more of Himself to me as He carried me through various tragedies, experiences, lessons, and even personal Bible study, but that would take hundreds of pages and hours of time.

One beautiful way I have seen God work is through revealing my sin and meeting it with wonderful grace and greater knowledge of who He is. One sin I have struggled with most of my life is people-pleasing; essentially idolatry of people’s opinions over that of God’s. I did not recognize it as a sin for a while, so I didn’t do much to fix it. When I became a PK, not only did I not work on overcoming this sin, I had a reason to feed it. Those who have lived in ministry families understand the weight of others’ judgments and opinions. Not only was it portrayed to me that I needed to care, but it was also communicated that others’ opinions of me affected their view of how well my Dad could do his job. My Dad and Mom’s reputations now rested on what others thought of me. Because I knew what I did would never affect God’s love for me, nor my standing in Christ, I could focus on pleasing people, since they had much higher standards. It has taken a long time, many experiences, and a lot of wise words to help me recognize and work to overcome this issue.

It wasn’t until my senior year of college that God revealed the depths of my sinful thinking in this area. I had been working with a client who struggled with the same thing and in asking for resources, a fellow counselor recommended the book When People are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch. Around the same time, I was able to go to a counseling conference on addictions. One workshop was called Approval Addiction: In Control of the People Poll (This workshop is available on the Foundations Christian Counsel App, under resources: FCCS ADDICTIONS Conference 2019). The speaker, Fred Jacoby, went through Ed Welch’s book, as well as The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee). It was the first time I had heard of people-pleasing as an addiction to approval, even so bluntly described as sinful. The speaker shared many poignant thoughts, but there were a few that hit exactly where they needed to deepen my understanding of this problem.

  1. People pleasers are dependent on the opinions of other people. We are enslaved to them. I knew I was free in Christ, but as one of my professors says, I was still showing up for work. Constantly seeking approval is stressful and exhausting. Although I claim to rely fully on Christ, I still find myself seeking the opinions of those I respect and allow my self-esteem to be affected by their responses. God says that I am enough in Christ (Colossians 2:10). Why do I allow any other opinion to matter?

    Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest — Matthew 11:28

    Cease striving and know that I am God. — Psalm 46:14

  2. Your opinion of yourself is just another opinion from another sinful human being. Those in congregations may freely share their opinions, but I was equally as guilty of rehearsing lies to myself. Mentally beating myself up for past failures, reminding myself of guilt. Although I may have sinned, as a believer in Christ, I have been forgiven. If God has forgiven me, who am I to not do the same? I have been justified – completely forgiven and made righteous in Christ (Romans 5:1)
  3. No matter how factually stated – an opinion is still just an opinion. There are days we hear the thoughts of others expressed with such certainty it is hard to see them as anything but true. There may be things that align with Scripture and things we should change, but that does not mean every opinion is the truth. We all know people who believe their preferences are gospel. I need to remind myself constantly of who I am in Christ and ask the important questions. Is what this person says true? Is there something I can learn and grow from what they say? Does what they say contradict what God has declared of me? Being a PK is complicated because we do not want our behavior to affect others negatively, but we are not called to bend to unrealistic or unbiblical standards. We need to come before the throne and pray for discernment as we wade through all of the thoughts and ideas we are flooded with. In Christ, we have the right to come before God’s throne boldly to find mercy and grace in our times of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
  4. Our true worth is found in Christ’s performance on the cross and God’s opinion of us in Christ. No matter what I do, accomplish, share, sacrifice, etc., there will always be people who disapprove, disagree, or don’t care at all. As I continue my journey, I need to constantly lay the opinions of others at the feet of Jesus. I need to remind myself of who I am in Christ and actually start living like it!

What a blessing to know my worth is not defined by their unmet expectations and unrealistic standards. My worth rests solely on an unchanging God and His opinion of me!

In this world where men forget us, change their attitude toward us as their private interests dictate, and revise their opinion of us for the slightest cause, is it not a source of wondrous strength to know that the God with whom we have to do changes not? That His attitude toward us now is the same as it was in eternity past and will be in eternity to come?

— A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

When I am blessed with the opportunity to look back over my life— even in these short 23 years—I am reminded of the amazing redemptive work of Christ and how it not only affects my eternal destination but every minute of the day. He eternally declared my worth and I no longer need to strive for it. In Christ, you are whole (Colossians 2:10). In Christ, you are free from sin (Romans 6:22). In Christ, you are blameless and free from accusation (Col. 1:22). In Christ, you have been made righteous (2 Cor. 12:10). In Christ, you are chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (Col. 3:12; 1 Thess 1:4).

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?

— Psalm 77:11-13

By <a href="" target="_self">Rebekah Jordan</a>

By Rebekah Jordan

Rebekah is a pastor’s kid who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband of two years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling and she is completing her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Clark Summit University. Rebekah hopes to use her education and background to help and work with families who are in the ministry.