Dramatic movie trailer voice: IN A WORLD where your two mums continue to shriek at you from the sidelines. Yes, you did read that correctly. (For an explanation to why you suddenly have two mums, click the above link to my previous article). You embark on a journey of self-discovery while being bombarded with a flurry of voices. "Love yourself!" some say. "You're worthless!" others say. In this cacophony, how can you possibly find your true self?
What makes you valuable?
Success and Achievement?
We strive to succeed IN A WORLD which tells us that life is about obtaining wealth, power, and fame. Not stepping on someone else's face to climb up the ladder of success will result in you getting thrown off. The only way to avoid this horrible fate is to keep climbing! No, you can't stop for a rest on that rung because your face will get trodden on.
It's like an endless game of snakes and ladders but instead of snakes, it's other people's feet that force you down. And instead of getting kicked in the face by your sibling when you lose, society kicks your life in the face. Whoever can climb faster and higher wins and gets to do some of the kicking.
The ladder looks awfully high doesn't it? With each rung you take, there's always that higher one to reach for. There's no room for failure. No room to be weak. And if you are weak, then there's something wrong with you (because you'll have a massive footprint in the middle of your face).
But the Bible says:
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." – 2 Corinthians 12 verses 9-10
We may be weak yet strong. Not because of our achievements but because of Christ whose strength is made known in our weaknesses.
The slightest setback can become a full-blown catastrophe to a poor person. Being poor is like being stuck in an elevator and then the person next to you farts. It stinks, and you want to get out of it but you can't until you get to where you want to be. And it's even harder when you don't have a job since with sad irony: not having a job makes it harder to get a job. It's depressing but at least you're better than that homeless guy, right?
On the other hand, you might be pretty well off but you're running the hamster wheel; work and sleep, work and sleep – which is also pretty much the same as being stuck in an elevator and having someone fart next to you. But at least you're better than that poor person right?
But the Bible says:
"…as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything." – 2 Corinthians 6 verse 10.
How comforting is it to know that our ultimate worth isn't our net worth? We are rich in Christ, our everything.
Health and Youth?
You swing wildly on your chair as you read this article, taking risks everywhere you go. You join the school chess team because YOLO. Death is like your uncle's wife's cousin's grandmother who lives in some obscure corner of the Simpson Desert; a distant relative who you will never meet. "I'M YOUNG AND INVINCIBLE! I LIVE HOW I WANT!" Sorry, but the statistics on death suggest otherwise: one out of one dies.
Maybe you can see death coming up over the hill in the distance, getting closer and closer. You're just a bunch of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms, waiting to become a lifeless form of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. Life is meaningless.
But the Bible says:
"For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead." – 1 Corinthians 15 verse 21
We are dying yet alive. The end of our lives on Earth is just a glorious beginning through Christ. Let us live in light of that end/beginning.
Maybe the best way to value ourselves is to see ourselves as how God sees us; both the good and the bad. After all, God's perspective is the only one that counts in the long run. We should let God's Word become the mirror for seeing our true selves.
I guess it's time to go home mum(s).
Anton Zhang is studying aeronautics and arts at the University of Sydney, he is part of a family of four, his hobbies include music, hiking and fencing. He is an active part of the Christian youth work at the Padstow Chinese Congregational Church.
Anton Zhang's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/anton-zhang.html