How do you start to hear “cha-ching” in the bank account of your heart? Consider learning the ABC’s of exploring your heart’s diamond mine.
What is your worth?
When people are asked this question, especially those that are famous for who they are or have accomplished, it will typically revolve around the amount of their monetary assets, their possessions, and their prominence (their time is your money). When this was asked of the late Steve Jobs, he honestly could not tell the interviewer. The only thing he could say was, “I’m not sure, but it just keeps growing every day.” When your worth is in the billions, I guess it could be hard to keep count.
However, if I were to ask you your “value,” what would you say? You are probably scratching your head and wondering, “Isn’t this the same question as the first?” To me, they are very different questions.
Worth is the monetary amount that we place on the stuff we have, whereas value — personal value — is the amount we place upon the person we are. Confused? Let me explain. During the last weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to conduct a marriage enrichment event for many military personnel (active and retired), law enforcement and firefighters. The theme of the conference was “The Treasure Hunt of Marriage” and the primary focus was to mine for the diamonds in each couple’s relationship. During the opening session, I pulled out a diamond about the size of your fist from a protective box. As I displayed the sparking object I told everyone, “This diamond has a value of $5,000.”
As I looked around the room, I could tell there were those carefully considering the validity of the statement — that is, until a smile came across my face. I then confessed, “Well, I bought it online for $13.45 with free shipping, but to me, it is worth that much.”
I then explained that we often allow others to assign a lower value on things that matter the most to us: our jobs, our past, our culture, our gender and our family, only to feel as though we have little to no value. What can make matters worse is when we assign a lower value to ourselves due to the decisions we’ve made, the physical limitations we have or the environment we live in. When we give ourselves a low “value,” how can we add value to anyone around us, especially our spouses and family? It is here that I want the couples, and for you, to recognize a powerful principle in our life of value.
You see people not as they are, but as you are. If you see yourself as giving, you will see others as giving. If you see yourself as forgiving, you will expect others to forgive. If you see yourself as angry, bitter or untrusting, you will see others in the same way. If you see yourself as having no value, the same goes for your perception and treatment of others. You can only give what you have and if you want to add value to others, you first must recognize the incredible value of you.
First, it all starts with your attitude. I have learned in my years of military ministry that people will feel your attitude long before they hear your words. If your attitude is like a paper bag of old fish placed in a Florida garage for two weeks in the summer, your “stinking thinking” will eventually permeate all around you. That is why the apostle Paul wrote, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV). Once we have the right attitude, we then can work toward building the right atmosphere of value.
This leads me to the boundaries I put within my life. These boundaries, like a fence that surrounds a child’s playground, are not to imprison but to create a space of security and discovery. These blessed bulwarks help protect against the constant assault of withering words from others as well as the perpetual life lies that we seem to hold onto from our childhood. One debilitating life lie many face is, “This is who you are, and you deserve no better.” Let me tell you the truth about that one. If you listen close, it has a hissing sound in it and it smells like smoke. That is because it is from a pit of fire and it comes from the old dragon’s mouth. How do we strengthen the blessed boundary of our heart’s value? By remembering this sentry-posted promise: God loves you just as you are, and He loves you too much to leave you that way.”
We not only need to receive this promise, but we need to speak this promise daily and loudly, which leads me to the “C”. In communication, it does not take energy to speak words but it takes energy to move a heart, especially when that heart is your own. I firmly believe practice not only makes perfect, it makes permanent. If you remind yourself you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that “God so loved you (the world),” the duo of diamond ditties will ring in your ears and heart instead of the noisy lyrics of the world’s lies.
Just think that in a marriage when the husband begins to see himself as the diamond God desires him to be (though still a little rough around the edges) and the wife realizes she is the diamond that God has destined her to be (even though daily shining is needed), what you will have in the end is a two-carat couple worth more than all the diamonds in the world. Do you see your spouse as a precious diamond to be cherished and protected? If so, you are on your way to discover more treasures of love and life in marriage. If not, today is a great day to begin mining in your own diamond mountain of self to find the value your spouse needs from you.
Remember that mining takes time, even if it has to go through the life layers of “for better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live, so help you God.”
Dr. Daniel Middlebrooks is the Senior Chaplain of First Call Church and the CEO/President of Chaplaincy Care, Inc.