Accepting Our Worth

Anh LinBy Anh Lin11 Minutes

Excerpt taken from Forever Home: Moving Beyond Brokenness to Build a Strong and Beautiful Life by Anh Lin


What if I told you right now that you have infinite worth in the eyes of God—that he loves you just as much as he loves Jesus? How does that make you feel?

  • I feel ashamed and uncomfortable.
  • I feel grateful and comforted.
  • I feel indifferent.

For the first seven years in my walk with the Lord, I would have checked the first box without a doubt. I had so deeply internalized all the messages that told me I was bad and unworthy that I often felt like a burden to those around me. To stave off these feelings of worthlessness, I would try my best to earn people’s love and acceptance by being as perfect as I possibly could. I was my own worst critic and was constantly filled with anxiety, like a personified Forky!

In a vulnerable self-help book titled What Happened to You?, Oprah Winfrey shared this discovery:

What I’ve learned from talking to so many victims of traumatic events, abuse, or neglect is that after absorbing these painful experiences, the child begins to ache. A deep longing to feel needed, validated, and valued begins to take hold. As these children grow, they lack the ability to set a standard for what they deserve. And if that lack is not addressed, what often follows is a complicated, frustrating pattern of self-sabotage, violence, promiscuity, or addiction.i

I, and so many of my childhood friends, lived out that pattern of self-sabotage, violence, promiscuity, and addiction to a T—and it is the result of the way the enemy steals, kills, and destroys the self-worth of the image bearers of God. We must be resilient in our sense of worth by arming ourselves with the truth of Jesus’ teachings. If we pay attention to the things Jesus says and the things God values throughout Scripture, it is clear that he cherishes his creation. In the gospel of Luke, we read, “Even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7 NET). Did you catch that? God paid so much attention to the details of your making that he even knows the number of hairs on your head. Your very existence brings him gladness because he made you out of his great love.

The more I grow in my sense of worth, the more I realize that God’s message of worthiness is many times more powerful than the world’s message of worthlessness. God’s constant loving adoration is what changes our hearts and encourages us to repent, reclaim our worth, and radiate his love to others (see Romans 2:4).

A Letter of Encouragement

The world often treats people as unworthy before they are born, while the church often treats people as unworthy after they are born. Sadly, these are two faces of the same coin. If people have infinite value in the eyes of God, then it doesn’t matter what state they are in—born or unborn, nice or naughty, whole or broken. If we cannot earn our worth with good deeds, then we cannot lose our worth with bad deeds. Our worth has been given to us by God, who created us in his image.

If you have been one of the unlucky congregation members who was taught that you are inherently bad, I want you to understand that this teaching is taken completely out of context. There is a difference between inherent worth and the type of sinfulness that preachers often yell about. Our sinful nature has nothing to do with our worthiness in the eyes of God. Think of it this way: even if your child commits a hundred mistakes that break your heart, as their loving parent, you will still value them all the same. If you are a loving and healthy parent, there is nothing your child could do that would ever cause you to devalue them as your child.

God is the perfect and most loving parent. No matter how many heinous or self-destructive sins you’ve committed, your heavenly Father will always be willing to restore your honor and dignity the moment you run back into his arms. That extraordinary love is at the heart of the gospel and the reason that Jesus lovingly chose to carry our sins on the cross—to give us a restored relationship with him again. What a wild concept! The world wasn’t prepared for such a love, and some still try to run away from it.

One of my vivid memories is of the day when I met a new friend named Becca,¹ who spoke to me about my worth. The conversation took place at a Chick-Fil-A, and her words left a lasting impact. After just ten or fifteen minutes of small talk and introductions, Becca took a deep breath and said, “All right, I feel like God has been telling me to share this with you the minute I prayed about you last night, but I was way too shy or embarrassed to say it. But he wants you to know you are already worthy.” She flashed a hopeful smile at me, anticipating that it would ring a bell, but I didn’t really know what to think of it. “That’s really nice!” I mustered, still confused as to what she meant and why she said it. “Yeah,” she said, “I hope that really sinks in with you! God loves you so, so much and he thinks you are already worthy.” Again, I was unsure of how to respond. I didn’t really know what being worthy meant. I supposed it was just some generic good feeling about yourself, which I thought I already had. “Hmm, thanks!” I said. Later, in the car with my other friend, I asked, “What was that all about?” and he chuckled as though to say, Oh, you have no idea.

Maybe you feel the same way after reading some of the encouraging words in this chapter—words that sound nice and positive—but you have no idea what being infinitely worthy really means. That’s all right, because worth is something you will ultimately learn by experience. After my strange encounter with Becca, I went back to normal life completely unchanged. I continued to strive to earn my worth in the eyes of others and lived a hypersensitive, hyperanxious life.

It wasn’t until more than a year later that God reminded me of my encounter with Becca, and I broke down in tears. By then, I had already been in and out of the mental institution, finished my therapy sessions, switched churches, and moved out of my mother’s house. It turned out that the Lord had a plan for me all along—a grand strategy to reinstate my worth as his beloved child. In his infinite wisdom, God knew what I needed before I even knew it myself, and he sent a sweet messenger like Becca to give me a heads-up for what was to come. I hope to be that kind of messenger for you. God says, “You are already worthy. I already love you so, so much. I have written my name on the soles of your feet. You are mine.”

Open your heart to the idea that you are God’s treasure. No matter how badly people have treated you or how badly you’ve treated yourself, God still sees you as valuable. You bear his very image! He has written his name on the soles of your feet, and you belong to him. You are his beloved. I speak from experience when I say that the more worthy you allow yourself to feel, the more resilient you will be in the face of adversity.

Reclaim your infinite worth by accepting God’s love for you. His love is gentle and patient, not aggressive or overbearing. You can begin today by replacing the critical lies you believe about yourself with the truth of what God says about you.

¹“Becca” (pseud.).

iBruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing (New York: Flatiron, 2021), 22.

Taken from Forever Home by Anh Lin. Copyright © September 2023 bu Zondervan. Used by permission of Zondervan,

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