I took a vacation to the Florida beach last month. It was great to get away and be with great people. On this trip, I tried something new – near shore fishing. My husband usually goes fishing on our beach trips but I never have. But this year, the boat had my required amenities, they promised that I wouldn’t have to touch anything, and it actually cost nothing extra for me to go, so I went along.

We went on a Sunday, which meant that according to some rule, we could keep red snappers if they were at least 16” long. We caught many reds but only about 10 of them were big enough to keep. I am please to boast that my sister and I, the first-timers, caught the three biggest fish! All the rest of the reds that were not at least 16” long, had to be tossed back in the water, including one that was 15 7/8” long. They weren’t “keepers.”

In thinking back about this trip, I realize that we all have a standard to measure against. The standard for self-worth is the fact that we were created by God and bought by Him with the blood of Jesus Christ. We are not perfect but we are made perfect by the blood of Christ. With Jesus, we are perfectly flawed. That is our 16 inches. Robert McGee, in his book “The Search for Significance,” discusses self-worth and how people fall into the Performance Trap, which he explains with a math equation:

Self-worth = my performance + other’s opinions

The Performance Trap is the wrong standard. There is no constant in it and so it is constantly shifting much life waves on the ocean. What if, while on the boat, we had decided to make our own standard for “keepers”? We could keep this fish because it was especially red in color or, we could keep this fish because he fought extra hard or, we could keep this fish because he is a hearty eater who swallowed the bait completely. Where is the standard in that? How do you measure that?

What is your 16”? What is the standard that you use to measure self-worth? Find rest in the fact that we are all flawed people but with Jesus, who covers our sins, we are flawless. Find rest knowing that God loves you so much that He gave His only Son so that you can have eternal life with Him. Find rest in the fact that God set the standard for you and it is unchanging.

To drive home the point even more, spend a couple of minutes hearing and seeing it from MercyMe’s song, “Flawless.”

written by:
Audra Dahl, MA, LPC-S