Finding Your Value

If you had asked me a few months ago if I had thought I was living a successful life, I would've told you "yes." I had been a college volleyball player; an honor graduate, started my own small business, and had landed a great job right out of college. I was set on being a woman who was strong, accomplished, and powerful. This obviously meant I would be in my dream career within five years, I would be fiercely independent, people would know my name, and I repeatedly told myself that, "I don’t need no man."

Now, let me be clear, I am pro-woman (you know, the kind where men and women are equal), but I had taken my idea of female strength and value to be only defined by what I do for a living and if other’s thought I was successful and strong.

To be real, I found a majority of my strength in my performance and found myself searching for the people around me to tell me "good job." One more win or achievement would send one more wave of self confidence in my system to keep me going. I felt like I had the respect of my parents and peers based on the decisions I made, the career path I had, and the promise of my future.

Then I decided to get married… to an NFL player.

Soon after, I realized the NFL schedule isn't very forgiving to a 9-5 career if you want to see your husband. And then I realized I would probably have to quit my job...and I panicked.

How was I going to be powerful or successful or accomplished if I wasn't working? What will people think of me? What about my dreams and goals? Am I now going to live in my future husband’s shadow and forever be the girl who carries his bags as he signs autographs? (Yes, this has happened).

Now I know what some of you are thinking, and I would be thinking the same thing if I were you. "How can you be upset having the luxury of quitting your job and marrying a hunk?! You're living the dream life!" Trust me, women have actually said this to me, and I totally understand their point. But if you've put your identity and worth in your own strength and goals, it doesn't sound all that fun to ride on someone else's hard work—in fact, it felt all too humbling.

If I'm completely honest with you, I used to be sort of a jerk when I would think about stay at home wives and moms. I would think to myself, "How can these women just take a free ride off their husband? Do they have no goals or talents?" Well, actually Matti, you just have no idea what you're talking about.

I've met countless wives in the NFL since I've been dating my fiancé. And let me tell you, they are driven and passionate and smart and successful. They have law degrees, they are entrepreneurs, many are mothers who spend 24/7 working tirelessly for their kids and (gasp) they all help support their husbands by laying down their lives, goals, and dreams while their husbands are in the league. Now, that sounds to me like something Jesus would do.

Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

At first, this stung a little and I would argue with God. “But God, can’t he lay down his life? Why do I have to be the servant here?”

But my future husband will be my closest confidant, my fiercest and most loyal friend, not to mention my immediate family. Once I realized that putting my own pride and dreams ahead of him was not only selfish but unbiblical, I stopped to take a second look at my motives. I learned it was honorable for me to lay down my hopes, to postpone some of my dreams for a season, in order to better love and serve my husband and family. Was it easy? No! Did I fight it? Often.

It has taken a lot of humility, as well as digging deep to learn my identity in Christ, to be willing (and happy) to quit my job. I’m also lucky to be marrying a man who champions my dreams and goals and wants to help me achieve them. There is strength in sacrifice. There is power in a willingness to serve an interest of another. While I used to think that this mind set revealed lack of strength, I’ve found it really takes a humble, loving, strong woman to be confident in who she is with no job title—to get little or no identity from what she is contributing to the work force, but rather from who she is in Christ.

If there is one thing I want to encourage women to do, it is to find out who you are in Christ. Your value does not come from what your career is, how much money you make or what the world thinks or says about you (cause they will talk). You could have the lowest job description, the cheapest clothes, and the longest list of mistakes, and the God is the universe is smitten with you. He determines your value. He says you’re important. He says you are preapproved, without you ever having to try. He says you are worthy of love and acceptance and it all comes from Him.

When we know how valued we are by our Father, it does not matter what the world says is valuable. We can have the job, the money, the fame, the friends, but without having a secure foundation of who we are in Christ, we will always come up short. So if you’re feeling like you’re not enough, turn to the One who paid the highest price for you, because He will tell you how much you are worth.

Matti Gresham

Matti Gresham is a writer, wife and photographer. You can follow Matti on Instagram @MattiGresham