As her eyes welled with tears, she courageously shared the part of her past that still breaks her heart.

I don’t know, we were just so young. It’s dumb but I thought sleeping with him would make him stay. Now we don’t even talk. I just want that part of me back, but I can’t have that now.

In every tear that escaped down her face I saw pieces of the reflection of my own past and it took everything I had to not burst into tears myself as I assured her, You are whole. You are pure. You are His. You a daughter of the King.

Although I boldly declare my identity and worth in Christ, those words are a truth that still escape me from time to time. I think about the price for which I was bought and it grieves me that I did not understand the sacrifice. That I did not believe I was worth the sacrifice. That I did not respect myself or love my God enough to realize the gift that is my body and my sexuality.

Flash forward six months to a different friend. A beautiful, talented, young woman. A strong and joyful woman – but the eyes that I see sitting across the table from me reflect anything but. The lack of joy is all too familiar. I knew what was coming.

He says things to me that make me feel like I’m not enough. Like I will never be worth anything to anyone else and then he tells me that he only wants me until I give him what he wants and then he’s done with me.

God keeps placing these amazing women in my life and then he wrecks my heart with their stories. I’m done sitting here not doing anything about it.

I could write an entire article on knowing your worth in Christ. He sets captives free and binds up the brokenhearted and replaces our shame with everlasting joy. I can confidently declare this because I’ve experience this truth firsthand. I can lead others to believe it and help them walk out of their trials with head held high and spirit revived. But I’m writing this in an effort to go beyond that.

As I mentioned, every so often the truth of what I know about my worth can escape me, becoming drowned out by the pain or anxiety of the present moment. So I ask, is it enough to simply just know our worth on an intellectual level? It’s the same concept as believing in God versus believing God. You believe in Him, but do you actually believe that what he says is true? You know your worth, but when push comes to shove are you actually living out of that truth everyday? It’s time to take intentional steps towards what we deserve.

#1 Walk away from devaluing situations.

I know full well that it is not easy. It’s difficult to walk away when you’ve already given so much of your heart, time, and energy. When you’ve tried to fight to hold onto whatever glimmer of hope there is just to be crushed again by the words and actions of someone who does nothing but take from you. I’ll say it again – it is not easy, and guess what? It never will be. But ladies, it’s time to walk away. It’s never immature, selfish, or wrong to walk away from something or someone who robs your identity, joy, and health. You get stronger with each step you take and in time, you start to believe and feel deep within your soul that you can conquer anything. That’s because you can.

#2 Set physical boundaries.

With each touch we give away a precious piece of our soul that we can never get back, to people who never deserved it. Because the truth is, we should grant no one permission to this piece of us without them first claiming responsibility for our whole heart for our whole life.

#3 Lift each other up.

We need to be more intentional about lifting each other up. We were made to exist together, not apart. If we are going to do that well then we must encourage each other. We must join God in his redemptive work of restoring creation by speaking nothing but life and truth into one another in love. We must join Christ in his mission of bringing justice to the nations, of freeing the oppressed. Too often we think this only pertains to helping people far from us in location when really, we need to start with the people that we talk to everyday – our friends, our family, ourselves.

Men, I’m talking to you here too. I know there are a lot of you out there who are absolutely amazing. But this article was born out of the actions and words of the ones whose irresponsibility has caused pain. I know that you have insecurities; I know that you have fears and doubts about your own worth, and I’m sorry that we tend to forget this.

You are called to be protectors, but the lies of this world drown out God’s truth for you too. You are crushed just as we are and the results can be devastating. So this is my call to you as well. To act on what you know is true about your own worth. As is the case for women, this is not easy for you. It never will be. But you must step out with respect for every woman you meet, and for yourself. It’s so easy to manipulate, to crush another’s spirit because you are feeling substandard but it’s time to be more courageous than that.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the way we make our choices. Jesus willingly went to the cross. He knew what he had to do, so he did it. In most situations we know what we have to do but we simply choose to not to. Today is the time to start making wiser, more brave, and more willing choices – right now.

It’s time to relentlessly affirm who you are and what you are worth. Boldly claim responsibility for the choices that will never be easy but that you know you need to make. Stand in defiant, confident opposition to the lies that berate you every day as you step out in love to heal yourself and the people around you. We need to continue to work at believing in each other.

We won’t build meaningful relationships by putting down and disregarding others. Jesus made that clear when he disregarded no one but himself in order to save this world.

Living out your worth starts with realizing your inherent job as an image-bearer of our divine Creator. As we take small, intentional steps towards reflecting His heart for us and those around us, we grow closer and closer to fostering the kind of community that we have been called to cultivate.

Kelly Frazee

Kelly is a grad student studying Elementary Education. She loves dancing, Jesus, early mornings, the beach, and cares way more about her hair than she probably should. She prefers dark chocolate over milk, dogs over cats, and talking to kids over people her own age. Last summer, Nicaragua stole her heart while on a clean water trip and her dream is to someday go back to teach there. Through her writing, and her life, she desires to speak truth into the lives of those around her, especially girls and women, about their inarguable worth, value, and strength.

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