Teenage girl sitting against brick wall in depressed stateWhen I wrote Welcome to the Big Leagues, I had the feeling I was onto something important.  People need to be encouraged with a transcendent message–how God sees them.  But, occassionally something happens that is so shocking that I feel a real urgency to share the message.  It is not just a nice message, but a lifesaving message.  Below is my recent column in the local NewsPress.

Everybody can know their life matters.  But a lot of people don’t.

It is especially tragic when a young person takes their own life. Teen suicide has been a problem in our county for a long time but the pact that a group of girls made recently should sound the alarm that we need to let everyone know that each person is of immeasurable worth and their life matters.

A lot of times, living the life that God gave us is not easy.  Everybody goes through difficult, painful and disappointing episodes.  Failure, loss and rejection are common experiences.  For some people, their very existence is defined by suffering and hardship.  Depression, abuse and loneliness can push a person over the edge.

That becomes dangerous for people who define their life by their circumstances, accomplishments and possessions.  Others define their life by who they are—their identity and individuality.  They find strength in  their understanding  of who they are so they can face their circumstances, sometimes enduring them and waiting until they pass and other times facing the challenges and beating them.

The most important declaration that your life matters is broadcast throughout the Holy Scriptures and is taught by most of the churches in our town.  Before the world was created, God knew your name.  When you were being knit together in your mother’s womb it was by a divine design, that we call DNA.  God breathed the breath of life into you when you took your first breath so that you would be alive at this time in history. He wanted you to be alive now so He could invite you  into His plan of redemption of this world.  Before you were even interested in Him, he died for you for all the wrong you have ever done or will do, then filled you with supernatural abilities by His Spirit so you could make a difference in your world, in your way like nobody else could.  When you are finished He promised to come back for you but in the mean time, He is preparing a place for you in Heaven where all the wrongs will be made right, where tears will be wiped away and bad guys won’t even be present.  So from before creation and after all is done, God knows your name and loves you personally.

It is everyone’s choice to live life from that point of view, get a fresh dose of God’s acceptance and gain an advantage over their circumstances.  The way we do that is to avoid the incorrect patterns and listen to the truth, over and over again.

Comparing ourselves to others is the most common mistake that sets us in a bad pattern.  There is always somebody with more money, or a loftier status, or better looking or has the most  friends and the best opportunities.  Some people seem to have all of those things and  that can really make us mad  because living by comparison always causes us to doubt our worth.teen[1]

Looking for approval of others is another bad pattern because it makes us vulnerable to what other people think of us.  Some days that goes pretty good, but we cannot count on somebody else to tell us our lives matter..  Some folks don’t feel good about themselves and gain their worth by pulling everyone else down.

Needing to always get it right will drive us crazy if we fall into that pattern.  It is good to want to be correct, perform with excellence and never cause anyone pain, but the fact is, we are human and are going to make mistakes.  Sometimes it is small and other times it is catastrophic, but either way, it is not the determining factor of whether or not your life matters.

My wife found this quote on KLOVE’s page and reposted it on Facebook. “God, take any doubts I have today and replace them with faith. Any despair, replace with hope. Any darkness, replace with Your light. Any time my thoughts don’t line up with Yours, Lord, show me Truth.”  And the truth that we need to hear often, according to God’s revelation in the Scriptures, is “Your life matters.”