Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11

Seeds of the Kingdom

Striving To Earn a Sense of Value

by Julie Smith

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV

A while ago a friend was sharing with me his fear of losing his job through a period of redundancy packages being issued at his workplace. As I listened to him I realised that his sense of personal worth and value was very much tied up in his job, and the Lord prompted me to tell him that he isn’t defined by his job. It was a light bulb moment for him, and he has come back to me several times on this, giving me the opportunity to share more about how our real worth and value is in the God who made us, and loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us.

As Christians we know that’s the truth, but I remember how, for a long time, even as a Christian, I was pursuing healing, so that ‘then I could minister God’s healing to others’. It seemed like a godly motive to me, but as God shone the light of truth ‘in the innermost parts’ the Holy Spirit convicted me that my motives were not as pure as I thought. I had a huge self-interest in wanting to minister to others. Like my as yet unsaved friend, I was looking to gain a sense of personal worth and value through something I worked at.

I had the head knowledge that Jesus’ love for me was so great that He considered me worth dying for, but I wasn’t living in the reality that there was nothing I could do to earn His love and my own true value. One of the best vehicles God worked through to enable me to find that place of true security and peace in knowing how valuable I am to Him – because of who I am in Him and not because of anything I do - was joining in with others in creative activities.

At one time I would have thought that being creative would have necessitated a lot of striving on my part to produce something truly worthwhile, but I learnt that there was a difference between being creative and being artistic. Not all of us are artistic but we’re all creative. And being creative didn’t mean I had to strive for a perfect result – it meant just having a go and seeing how it turned out: with paints or fabrics, clay or wood or any other creative material. If I enjoyed it, that was great. If I didn’t like it, that was ok too. It was even ok if I messed it up completely! I could have another go or try something else. There was no right or wrong. God wasn’t giving me marks out of ten. It wasn’t about an end product, but about experimenting, playing and having fun. In fact, the Father in whom all fathering originates, didn’t just say that was ok, but I discovered that He actually delighted in me enjoying these things.

Through simple creative activities, God taught me huge and valuable lessons about what it means to be adopted as His child: accepted and truly loved – for no other reason than that is what Jesus won through His sacrifice on the cross for me and all God’s children - and I began to be able to rest in that. Since those days I have been privileged, along with many other members of the Ellel teams around the world, to see many, many people come into a deeper reality of their true identity as absolutely loved children of God, through the vehicle of creativity.

If you struggle with the conflict of knowing God’s love for you is unconditional, and yet from a deeper level there’s still a driven-ness to somehow try and earn His acceptance and approval, I’d like to encourage you to consider coming on a ‘Healing through Creativity’ course at one of our centres, or the longer version ‘Bridge from the Head to the Heart’ at Ellel Scotland. If your instant response is: ‘Oh no, that’s not for me!’ – that may well be in indication that it probably is! I’ve learnt that God often has us out of our comfort zones to do His deepest work!

Prayer: Thank you, Father God, for Your deep, deep love, expressed in Jesus’ death on the cross for me. Thank You that Your love is "so high I can’t get over it, so deep I can’t get under it and so wide I can’t get round it"! I know it in my head, but, Father, I want to know it more and more in my innermost being. Please will You help me, whether it’s through creative activities or some other way that You know is just right for me, to learn to let go of striving and to be able to rest in being a child, unconditionally loved by You and adopted into Your family. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Julie Smith is married to Roger, and they have two grown up children. Having received deep healing in her own life, primarily through ministry at Ellel Grange and then attending the Modular School at Glyndley Manor, she went on to join the Glyndley associate ministry team. She now works part-time for the International Director’s Office and is an associate teacher for the ministry. She is passionate to see others restored and released into the abundant life Jesus won for us all.

 

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