Value. The word screams out at us from every nook and cranny. We create extensive tests and scales to be able to measure the actual value of everything around us. Our educational system measured to such an extreme extent that teachers are no longer able to actually do what they were hired to do because the teaching process and the relationships that are created between the student and the teacher are no longer considered “valuable”.
Exercise is measured and studied extensively so that we can ensure that every moment we spend sweating is actually valuable.
Jobs in the corporate world are so stringently monitored that each individual has to work two to three times as hard to prove their value to the company in order that they can maintain their livelihood.
Our focus on seeing more “bang for our buck” has even helped to create the unhealthy lifestyles many of us live today.Value meals and menus often provide triple the number of calories a healthy adult needs in a given day but we buy them over and over again because we get twice as much for only a fraction more.
Of course value isn’t only a monetary consideration but a time consideration as well. Particularly here in America, we don’t want to waste our time because our time is, after all, valuable, so we focus more and more of our time eliminating those things from our day that we feel suck up those precious moments.
Employers press to ensure that employees aren’t spending their valuable work day chatting with one another or dawdling over lunch. The 8 hour work day is now actually 9 because employers don’t want to have to pay for their employees lunch hour.
We have entire education systems setup to make sure that only the absolute necessary courses are taken. No learning about something that isn’t part of your desired professional goals. That’s a waste of time and money! Don’t teach children music or art! There is not “value” to those studies. Focus them only on the things that can lead them into the direction of professional success.
Even our leisure time is affected. Most people have television systems that allow them to skip advertisements to ensure those precious 90 seconds aren’t wasted.
Funny thing is that with all of this focus on “value”, we have actually lost sight of what is truly valuable. We are no longer actually able to see value in ourselves or others.
Depression particularly among teenagers is skyrocketing because social interactions are taking place more and more frequently on social media rather than in person. Go to any restaurant, coffee shop or book store take a look around. People are so engrossed in their technology that they are unable to see what is actually happening all around them at any given time and are losing the ability to actually interact with one another.
We spend so much time looking at digitally enhanced images and listening to edited sound bites that we are unable to see the value in the things around us that are unaltered. Our perspective about appearances and relationships are so skewed by what is presented by the entertainment world that we are no longer able to look in the mirror and see the value of our own individuality and uniqueness.
My heart aches as I look around at the people I encounter daily who are doing absurdly stupid things just to be noticed. Each of these individuals just wants to be truly seen and they are acting out in whatever way possible for someone to notice. They place their own safety and dignity at risk failing to understand that it is their inability to see the value in themselves and others that keeps them from being valued in return. .
I know this because I have been there.
I spent years in emotionally empty relationships because I didn’t see myself as a person of value; a person that was worthy of more. I struggled – and to some extent do still – because I don’t have the things that our society considers valuable. I do not have a named profession, i.e., I am not a doctor, lawyer, architect or Indian Chief. I am not married, wealthy, famous or what most people in our society would consider successful.
I used to wear all of this like a coat of armor – displaying these things as proof of my lack of value for all to see but then unable to understand why I was treated as valueless.
The truth of the matter is all of us are valuable. God took the time to create each and every one of us individually and uniquely. Even if there is some doppelgänger out there that seems to have your same face or features, you and I are all absolutely unique making each and every one of us not only valuable but invaluable.
Our value doesn’t come from what we do, how much money we have or how big a splash we make in this life.
Our value comes in recognizing our unique abilities and skills and utilizing them to the best of our ability.
We increase our value by recognizing the value of others and assuring they know they are valued. After all, each person in our lives is there for a reason and that reason – however large or small it may seem – is valuable to us and for our journey here on this earth.
We make our value immeasurable by recognizing and acknowledging that the One who created all that is known and unknown took the time to create every piece of each one of us.
Tonight as you close your eyes or tomorrow as you rise, I pray you are able to understand that you and everyone around you are valuable every moment of every day.