How do you define your personal value? Many people base their personal value on outside circumstances, people, or things including family, friends, career, wealth, athletic ability, and looks. This externally focused view can set you up for a fall because your personal value should come from within.
If I were to offer you a crisp, new, freshly minted $100 bill, your answer would be an automatic yes…right? Now if I took that some $100 and dropped it in the dirt and then proceeded to stomp it into the ground, would you still accept it? While the external condition of the bill would be a little tarnished, its overall value would be the same. It’s value is not tied to its outer appearance…it comes from within.
I turned 48 my last birthday which marked 33 years of consistently lifting weights. To say that I’ve mistakenly tied some of my personal value to my physical ability would be an understatement. Logically I can teach and share the wisdom of the first paragraph above and yet some things in life are easier said than done.
Earlier this month on February 8, 2016, I had a doctor appointment that changed my life. For complete details, you can read about it here. The short version is that I’m having surgery to repair both of my shoulders due to tears in my rotator cuffs. My right will be done first as it’s in the worse condition. My left will follow shortly after once my right has healed enough to take over.
Once Dr. Burns and I agreed to move forward with the first surgery, my two biggest questions were:
One: How long will I be in a sling?
Answer: “6 weeks.”
Two: What will I be able to do in the gym once my recovery and rehab is complete?
Answer: “If you’re smart, less than what you’ve been doing.”
He said I will need to back off on my weight and do higher reps. To ask me to not push my limits in the gym is like asking an eagle not to fly. If you love lifting the way I do, then you understand how this made me feel. I promised to take his advice to heart and we finished up the appointment which included passing me off to his office manager to schedule my Pre-Op.
As I left the hospital, it felt like part of me had died. It would be foolish not to take
Dr. Burn’s counsel and yet at 48, I’m just as excited about lifting as I ever have been. Surely there is a middle ground where I can back off to protect my body and still enjoy the thrill of pushing myself in the gym. Logically this will be the plan, however again, it may be easier said than done.
I’ve heard it said that the best thing you can do when feeling down for any reason, is to go help someone else. Ideally, it would be nice to have the discipline to proactively go out and seek to serve and yet one of the natural inclinations of feeling emotionally down is the desire to disengage from the world around you.
This is exactly how I felt Wednesday morning two days after my doctor appointment when I walked into the gym. Now I may have felt low, but I didn’t feel so low that I was going to stay out of the gym. Hurt or not, I’m just not wired to sit home and pout when life throw’s curve balls. Fortunately for me, I was given the opportunity for a huge attitude shift compliments of two of my friends who knew nothing of my physical condition and upcoming surgeries.
Deon was the first guy to come over and say hello. Because of his job, he had been working out at another club since before the holidays and this was our first time to see each other in several months. I had been helping him with his training over the past year and had literally just given him a new program before he changed clubs. He commented that he missed having me around to provide assistance and that he never started the new program because of some outstanding questions about the format and exercises.
We talked briefly and agreed to get together later in the week to go over his questions. As he walked away, I couldn’t help but feel really good for that little exchange. He had no idea about my pending surgery and in reality it didn’t make any difference one way or the other. My ability to help him or anyone else for that matter with their exercise or nutrition is not tied to my personal physical condition.
The second example came from one of my other friends asking me advice in general about their program design and exercise selection. I was happy to help and again felt a sense of worth from within that had nothing to do with my semi-broken body. The same principle can be applied to every area of my life…and to yours as well.
My ability to serve people through my job as a manufacturer rep or through my walk as a Christian comes from within. It is not based on how much I can lift in the gym or what body fat percentage I’m carrying, the car I’m driving, the clothes on my back, or the cash in my check book.
So how about you? How do you define your self-worth? Are you “guilty” like most people of tying your value to people and things? Phillipe Nover said “The most valuable things in life can’t be bought with money.” And this definitely includes your self-worth. Search your soul and be willing to ask yourself some hard questions. You may discover that you need to reevaluate how you think about yourself. Discovering the true source of your value can give you inner peace like nothing else.
Closing thoughts for my readers:
So how much do you think you’re worth? Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Drive Life, sums it up well below:
“I’m not talking about your net worth; I’m talking about your self-worth. Don’t ever confuse your valuables with your value as a person. You can be rich or poor but it has nothing to do with your value as a person.”
Rick believes there are two things that determine value in life:
One: What someone is willing to pay for it – and with this, value is in the eye of the beholder. My sweet Grandmother on my Dad’s side passed away just over three years ago and her bible which she carried for over forty years…now sits on the edge of my desk. I’ve read it cover to cover and to me, it’s priceless. To anyone else, it would be just another old bible and not worth all that much.
Two: Who owned it in the past – and with this, value is still in the eye of the beholder. My Grandfather on my Mom’s side passed away many years ago. He was a Southern Baptist preacher before I was old enough to remember and I have been given one of the bibles that he used in his ministry. I’ve read it cover to cover and it’s filled with sermon notes, and other random thoughts scribbled in over the ages. Like my Grandmother’s above, it is a treasure to me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world…because it was my Grandfather’s.
So what’s your value? Be careful not to fall into the trap of tying your value to people and things. Your value comes from within.
A Higher Standard…
And then again, if you believe in the God’s word, there is a higher standard to determine your value. The Bible says, “You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears.” 1 Corinthians 7:23
I close with another thought from Rick Warren who sums up your value below:
Now ask yourself, ‘Who do I belong to?’ The Bible says you belong to God. God exchanged His own Son for you! The Cross proves your value. Jesus didn’t die for junk. You are incredibly valuable. Nobody has ever paid a greater price than God paid for you. You are acceptable and you are valuable!