(Photo by Sarah Komisky)
At Face Value
By Michelle Schonken
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
– Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
Epiphanies arrive in all sorts of ways. Sometimes they arrive while we are in contemplative prayer, or sometimes while reading God’s Word. Sometimes that startling moment of clarity arrives while we are in nature, appreciating God’s creative power. This last week, an epiphany crashed over me from a different venue: a mentor.
My mentor is an older, wiser, Godly woman who I entrust my deepest struggles to. Before this week I thought mentors only listen, guide, and keep their mentees accountable. This week I learned that mentors also deliver epiphanies – and not always the warm and fuzzy ones. More like the mind blowing, “I never knew that about myself,” types of epiphanies.
I had been telling my mentor about my week and how I had tried to help my brother with the task of buying a car. It had turned out to be a bit of a disaster, as things often do when my schedule loving ways clash with his free spirit. My mentor stopped me mid-rant, and asked me why I dropped everything to help him, knowing that something frustrating like this situation usually happened. That little “why” question made me pause. I think she wanted to remind me of reasons like, “he’s family and I love him,” or “because God told me to,” but those “right” answers didn’t ring true in my heart at that moment. I trusted my mentor enough to think hard and honestly about her question.
I looked down at my knees and realization dawned on me.
“I wanted to be needed.”
After speaking the words, I looked up at her again, and could see in her eyes that this was going to be one of our more serious talks. She asked another power-packed question: Why do I find value in being needed?
KAHBLAM! The epiphany struck.
Ah. Here’s the thing about wise people in your life. They help you see the uncomfortable truths that you were blind to before. Here was my uncomfortable epiphany in that moment of clarity: I feel that I’m valuable when I’m needed. I’m loved, of course, but valuable, special, and irreplaceable?
Fortunately, my mentor didn’t just leave me to stew in that revelation and actually had some wisdom to speak into my life. We can’t base our value on other people, even through doing good things for them. Instead, we can only measure our value based on God’s standard. The good news is that whether we feel valuable or not, God values us just the same.
We are each His masterpiece.
I learned that I hadn’t always been doing good things for the right reasons. The right reasons are out of love and obedience to God, not out of a misguided sense of finding our value through helping other people. I can have a secure sense of value in God, and set my focus where it belongs: on God and others.
You are valuable, special, and irreplaceable because God says so (He would know!). We need wise mentors in our lives. People who we can trust to listen and then speak God’s wisdom to us. Mentors can help us when walking God’s path gets tough, and keep us accountable. They also, as you saw today, deliver mind-blowing epiphanies that can change us for the better.