By Anna Rodriguez

For a very long time I was running in circles, trying to earn love from Jesus and from those around me. I was constantly longing for approval from the world and from my peers. No matter how hard I searched, I couldn’t seem to find my purpose.

About four years ago I struggled trying to find my worth. All I wanted was to be liked and accepted, but I found that to be tremendously difficult. It seemed as if every time I looked in the mirror, I could easily point out another thing I wanted to change about myself. I would spend nights lying in my bed pondering why the world needed such a worthless person like myself. I kept on believing these lies that were piling up in my head. I felt so disgusted with who I was that I thought I deserved even worse. I eventually resorted to self-harm, because the devil had genuinely convinced me that I deserved to be treated like this. I vividly remember the night when the truth began to shine through.

God’s voice suddenly became clear, and I realized how awful the act was that I had been committing against myself. I threw the blades on the ground and started crying. I was crying hard, and I couldn’t control it. I began to hear these words in my head that were so unfamiliar to me at the time: “I see you. I know you. I love you.” I was so overwhelmed with love and mercy. As overwhelming as my emotions were at the time, I have never felt a greater sense of peace than I did in those moments. It was this night when I began to look at myself through the eyes of God, and not through the eyes of the world.

It took me so long to find my worth, because I was defining my dignity through worldly things. It is so easy to lean into the lies of the world, because we are constantly surrounded by them. We are told that we are not important if we don’t reach a certain amount of likes or comments on an Instagram post. We often think that our worth fluctuates along with the numbers that appear as we step on a scale. We associate our value with the letters on our report cards, how often we are invited to things, the way we look, our relationship status, and other people’s thoughts and opinions of us. The list goes on and on.

Through friendships and time spent with our Lord, I soon came to realize the truth about every human being’s dignity. The truth is, there is nothing in life we can do that will increase or decrease our worth. Friends, every single one of us was born with inherent and immeasurable worth. From the very first thought of us, He has called us by name. Christ’s love and desire for you is so big, that He literally loved you into creation. He sees you, He knows you, and He loves you.

As humans, we are not yet able to fully comprehend our Father’s love for us, but that does not make His love for us any less great. I can truly, wholeheartedly tell you that Jesus loves you, because I know that you were the one He was thinking of as He hung upon the cross. As the nails were driven into His hands and feet, it was your beautiful laugh that He heard ringing through his ears. As He was mocked and made fun of, it was your smile that He was thinking of. It was your precious face He pictured in His mind as He took His last breath. He loved you into creation, and He continues to love you without end.

Worldly things will never dictate the Father’s love for you. You will never be capable of losing His love, and you absolutely cannot earn His love. He admires the very thought of you. His heart overflows with love for you, because you are His beloved child. This stands true for all people. You will never encounter a single soul who is not deeply loved and desired by our Lord. Everyone was created with such equal and precious dignity. Your worth will never be lesser or greater than your neighbor’s, no matter the fancy things they have or the way they look. We all share the beautiful gift of being created in Christ’s image and likeness.

From your very first day in this world to wherever you are in your journey now, you have and always will behold a beautiful and precious dignity. You were Born Dignified.