A rose stands in a vase, its head drooping, the outer petals curling inward like an unraveled mind. It is neglected, forgotten, the water long since dried up. The rose will soon be tossed out.
It is wilted.
You stand in your room, alone, your head lowered, your shoulders curled inward like a deadened heart. You feel neglected, forgotten, your spark long since dried up. You feel like tossing out your life.
You feel wilted.
Self Love Isn’t Enough
Dear Rose, what do we do when we feel utterly worthless? Where do we turn when we are neglected by everyone who ought to care for us? When our minds scream our own failures, what can we say?
“Believe in yourself!” “Love yourself!” “Accept yourself!” I have often wondered why the resounding messages that every Disney movie drills into our heads can’t erase our self-doubt. The promise seems so simple- if you love yourself, you will accept your flaws and let go of your self-doubt. But the promise rings dull in our ears; it never really changes us.
There must be something wrong, either with us and our love of ourselves, or with the well-intended advice.
If telling someone to love themselves were enough, why do we have an epidemic of teen depression and suicide?
Your Worth Isn’t Enough
“And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5
If we are all sinners, caught in an endless cycle of unmet expectations, why aren’t we all depressed? Why aren’t more people desperately insecure? True, it’s incredibly sad to hear of yet another person who feels unworthy. But, why don’t we all feel that way?
When you sit down and honestly evaluate your life, it is so easy to see your own flaws. Think of your worst failing. We all have bosom sins. And we have refused to honor our Creator, instead choosing to rule our own lives and spurn Him. We were created in the image of an awesome God, but Scripture says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
None of us are worthy in ourselves.
Imagine yourself standing before the angel in this passage.
“And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.” Revelation 4:2-4
The angel looks out over the congregation, searching, searching, searching for the One who is worthy?
Imagine yourself, hearing these words. You know that only someone without sin is worthy. Only someone who is perfect. And you are not. The angel looks at you, and doesn’t give you a second glance. Just as they did with everyone else standing nearby. You are unworthy. I am unworthy. We are all unworthy.
People with low self esteem tend to see themselves closer to how they truly are, sinful, even if they may judge themselves much more harshly than they should. But when we recognise that we have serious flaws, we are much closer to grace than those who are prideful. I worry more about the proud, because they wrongly esteem themselves to be holy and worthy of God’s special blessings.
Our worth isn’t enough. True, we are made in the image of God. We are intensely valuable to Him. And even those who reject God are worthy of our kindness and love. But that isn’t sufficient to erase our sins. We all fall short, and we know it.
You Don’t Have To Be Enough
What if… you didn’t have to be enough? What if you could let your self consciousness fade, because there was no more need to prove yourself? What if you could simply be, and let go of the need to make yourself valuable?
What would that change?
What if you knew that you mattered, and that who you became mattered because you matter? What if your worth didn’t depend on each success and failure? What if you were worthy already, and so you could be at peace with your mistakes and even your sins?
Christ Is Your Worth
There is only One who was worthy.
The Angels looked out over the assembly, and they found One able to open the scroll.
Who was He?
“And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 4:5
This was Christ, son of God, born of a woman, a man without sin. This was the One who willingly took the payment for our sins.
Romans 8:34 says, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 4:12
This is the One who pleads for His children. For His blood bought them. And his life, by death,
He became theirs.
He is Worthy.
Rose, we are all unworthy of this forgiveness. But if we choose to let go of our sin and grasp hold of Christ’s salvation, we also let go of our unworthiness and grasp hold of His Worth.
In Christ, you are worthy! You don’t have to prove yourself to God. You don’t have to torment yourself with each mistake, or punish yourself for every sin. He took the punishment we deserved, so that we can have the holiness He provides.
Hebrews 3:3 “For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.” (emphasis mine)
Grasp Hold of Christ
Dear Rose: grasp hold of Christ! This is where you will find your true worth.
You may only lay hold of one thing, though. In the grasping, you must also choose to let go of your sinful past. You must not let it either reign over your actions, or let guilt rule your mind. Your sin is nailed to the cross; let it go.
The Beginning of A Journey
When you choose to begin to find your worth in Christ, you may expect that the road will be easy.
This is so far from true, Rose.
There are so many struggles we as young women face, and each of them can drain us and leave us feeling wilted. We hope to encourage you, no matter what journey you are on, to press on to be deeply rooted in Christ.
For we know this much: without Christ, we will wilt. But in Him-we are secure. We have a purpose. We have a song. We have a place.
Wilted, Not Worthless
A leaf on the stem of the wilted rose flutters as a door opens and shuts. A King enters His throne room and spots the old bloom. He smiles–is this not the cherished flower He chose from the garden, to brighten His day and show His kingdom His love for the beautiful and unique?
The King carefully grasps the rose, and slips it in a vase with other roses, sitting beside His throne.
Some may say it was wilted.
But to the King, it is priceless.
Bethany’s name means “bright city on a hill.” This is her mission in life, to illuminate the beautiful things and shine God’s light where there was darkness. Bethany leads The Wilting Rose Project, a ministry of encouragement for young women who feel their struggles make them worthless. She writes fairytales heavily inspired by her love of the forest, where she spends many of her mornings soaking in the uniquely Minnesotan beauty. Her blog includes more personal documentation of her journey the last few years with Lyme disease and Toxic Mold illness and the journey of healing she is now on.