The Source of Self-Worth

Two weeks after my divorce was finalized, I received a phone call from my attorney informing me that my ex-husband had filed a court motion requesting the judge overturn the divorce decree. His argument was based upon his constitutional right to practice his religion. As he understood it, his religion taught that no marriage was irretrievably broken; so he could not accept a divorce. Furthermore, it wasn’t that an attempt at healing our marriage had been tried and found wanting. It had been deemed difficult and left untried (a distortion of a well-known quote from G.K. Chesterton: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried”).

I couldn’t help but feel defeated. I’d fought so hard for my freedom and now that freedom, after only a couple of weeks, was at the mercy of the court. Wasn’t it enough that I wanted out?  I was terrified of what people would say, what the judge would say.

I don’t remember much about being on the witness stand when our date in court arrived; I was so nervous and it was hard to think with all of those people staring at me. I was paralyzed with the fear of what they all thought, how they judged me. I wanted to justify myself. I wanted the time to explain to each person in that courtroom all that had happened and why I’d had to leave. I wanted so desperately to prove that I was not what the opposing counsel said that I was. There was more to me than that. I had more worth than that, if they would just let me prove it.

I have spent far too much time living as though I was on the witness stand-awaiting a verdict, eager to justify myself. I ache for someone to declare my worth. Am I pretty enough? Smart enough? Successful enough? I may be convinced for a fleeting moment that I am, but then I step out into the world and my beauty or my intelligence is challenged and the image in which I have placed my security crumbles. I collapse into a heap of self-doubt and pity.

I wonder if this has been your experience as well. As long as our worth depends upon the opinion of others we will constantly be tossed about. We will never find peace.

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 13-14

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” and “Your works are wonderful.” This must be the source of your worth. You must choose it every day, throughout the day. No one can choose it for you. And as you begin to identify yourself by this standard you will recognize any challenge to this worth for what it is–a lie that has no power over you.


You were created by God. You are of immeasurable worth.

Author: Rebekah Durham

Rebekah Durham lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her three children.  She is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary and has written for numerous publications. She is an avid reader and in particular an admirer of C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, G.K. Chesterton, Henri Nouwen, and Dorothy L. Sayers (in no certain order). She'd also blindly follow Miss Marple (Agatha Christie's famous spinster sleuth) anywhere she wanted to go.

11 thoughts on “The Source of Self-Worth”

  1. Okay, I’m hooked! What did the husband testify on his behalf? How did the court rule? I thought this was going to be one of those pieces where their marriage was healed, and both parties — husband and wife — gave “the Christian ideal” a try and found it works! So, on a larger point, I will check out her blog. Thank you for reposting this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so very sad when people try to twist God’s Word into such convolutions that it ends up “saying” the opposite of what it truly means.

    Last year my son married a wonderful Christian mother of three who had invested a decade in her first marriage. Though divorced for a long time, he hypocritically attempted to play the “God doesn’t recognize divorce” card with the elders of the church she attended. Fortunately they rightly divided God’s word… and she and her children have found the husband and father they deserve!

    God bless you, Rebekah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear that the elders of her church handled the situation so well and offered her support! I’m also so glad to hear that she and your son are so happily married. God brought something beautiful to such a difficult situation. Thank you for sharing that. It’s great encouragement!!!


  3. I think I know a little about what it must be like to be freed from a cage, and yet, sometimes, see that same prison hover close by, threatening us in different ways. Fleeing from one form of abuse, we run the risk of acquiescing to another form. Being freed from abuse myself, one thing that I’m learning is to recognize the mark of an abuser: the need to become God in our lives. These days, if a person I suspect might be a potential abuser enters my life, I move away and keep my distance, accepting him/her only when I am sure I have read this person wrong.

    But it requires a lot of strength to do this; it isn’t easy.
    God be with you, Rebekah.

    Liked by 2 people

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