Oftentimes, when we are in the unsettled and uncertain state of disorientation, we become highly susceptible to making bad decisions that have the potential to derail and devalue us. A wise mother of the church once told me that I should not make decisions when I’m hungry, angry, lonely, or tired–which cleverly forms the acronym halt. However, being hungry, angry, lonely, tired or any of their close cousins is quite possible during a time of disorientation. As someone who was jokingly but accurately dubbed the Director of Transition several years ago, I know that we must be especially vigilant during times of disorientation. I have also learned to look for and embrace the lessons that life offers in general, but especially during periods of transition.
About two and a half years ago, I was in the midst of downsizing from living in a two bedroom apartment to a temporary stay in a fully furnished house, and posted an ad on Craigslist to sell all my living room furniture. When I started receiving offers for 35%-45% of what I had already generously discounted, I replied “Thanks, but NO Thanks!” Those buyers had either undervalued my items, me, or both, and were looking for a hint of desperation to exploit the situation. To their chagrin, I had already evaluated what I had, and was well aware of its value and my bottom line, but the whole scenario got me to thinking about the parallel life lesson of knowing the innate, indelible, infinite value of who God has created us to be. It occurred to me that there are those who will offer us less than our true value–emotionally, mentally, spiritually, socially, financially, contractually, relationally, etc. However, it is up to us to know our value; to know that as children of God, we are loved and cherished; to know that we are made in the image and likeness of God. We must be awake to and aware of the value God has already given us so that we don’t fall prey to manipulation, mind games, and mayhem. Because when we know our value, we won’t give in to desperation or selling ourselves short–no matter how hungry, angry, lonely, or tired we are.
The other lesson is that in knowing the value, and believing the Valuator, I could also trust and wait for the right circumstances to align themselves so that I could receive the best offer and send my stuff to good homes. So, to translate this into a life lesson…when we know our value or know “who” we be, when we believe what God has said about us or know “Whose” we are, then we can trust and wait for “what” God has promised without giving in to desperation, impatience, or fear. We can choose to not participate in our own devaluation. Now, waiting after you’ve acted in faith on what God has revealed to you is no easy task, for even Abraham, the father of the faith, gave into anxiety while waiting on God. The overarching life lesson, however, is that we don’t have to live down to anyone’s devaluation of who they think we are, but we can choose to live into the infinite value that we each were endowed with by our Creator. Jesus says in Luke 12:7, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” So, regardless of what you have been told by society, family, friends, employers, etc., you are of sacred value and worth! You are embodied divinity created to live and give your unique expression! So, know your value!
Just be clear that knowing your value will also cause you to evaluate your time, your talents, and your treasures. That may cause you to say NO to some things that you are doing that just aren’t adding value to your unique expression. That may mean that you have to recover and reconnect with those talents that truly bring you joy. That may redefine how you allocate your budget and spend your money. Your entire perspective may change, and everybody may not be happy about it, but know your value and live your most authentic expression anyway! That’s why you’re here–to BE, DO and EMBODY the essence and fullness of the most authentic Y-O-U!
Tara LaShawn Seabrook is a self-proclaimed “free spirit,” a public, practical, and prophetic theologian; a spiritual and social justice activist; a creative and cultural artist; and a prolific teacher, speaker, and writer. Currently, she resides in Guatemala where she is finishing up a 2-year volunteer in mission commitment with a non-governmental organization before returning to her native Charleston, SC in the spring of 2017. Her book based on her original poem, “I Am She: The Anthology” will be released later this year.