“Do you know that I am awesome? That I am amazing?”

These were the words Andrea began with, as she addressed the children who’d gathered at the front of the church to hear their sermon at New Hope Community Church, a few weeks ago.

“Do you know why I am awesome?” she continued . . . “Because God says I am.”

As a Christian, is it permissible for me to declare “I am awesome”?  Earlier in my life, I did not think so; I believed that doing so would be arrogant. As a Christian, I was supposed to be humble and a humble person should declare “I am nothing.”  Isn’t that what Jesus did? No, not exactly. My beliefs were based on misinterpretations of Scripture, such as the following instruction that Paul gave to an early church. He tells these Christians to have the same attitude that Christ had about himself, and he says that—“he [Jesus] made himself nothing” (Philippians 2:7 NIV) in order to serve others.

There’s a difference between having “nothing” as an identity and taking “nothing” as a position in order to serve others. Jesus knew that he was awesome—that he was God—and was not afraid to say so; he did not call himself “nothing.” Because he was so confident of his worth, he was able to serve others in love, without fearing judgment and disapproval. Neither betrayal nor hatred caused him to abandon his mission in life. Even when facing the cruel death of the cross, he did not retreat. That’s an awesome example of what it means to know that we are really something and make ourselves “nothing.”

The point of Andrea’s sermon was that because of the way God made us, we are all awesome.  And if we do not recognize our awesomeness (our value and giftedness), we won’t share what we’ve been given with others. We will be too insecure and afraid to open our mouths. In order for us to serve others in true humility (out of fullness instead of emptiness), we must have a high sense of self-worth.

Over the years, I’ve listened to many women whose self-worth is very low. (And I was there at one time) Though they might not say it, they think of themselves and, sometimes, call themselves “nothing.” After having been told many times in life that they are worthless, they believe it. It’s this feeling of worthlessness that (in part) keeps them trapped in abusive relationships. They lack the power they need in order to confront those who are abusing them. They don’t have the courage they need to set up healthy boundaries or even ask for help.

If you know of someone who feels like a nothing person, I hope that you will share this post and the next one with her (or him); affirm your awesomeness through service–give yourself away. Consider the example and the following words of Jesus: “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it” (Luke 17:33 ESV).

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