by Aubrey Sampson
I read a recent interview with Bono, the lead singer of U2. Bono was quoted criticizing his own singing voice, saying, “I only became a singer, like, recently.”
To be honest, it both shocked and comforted me to hear the lead singer of one of the most popular bands in the world say this. I thought, Okay, if Bono feels unsure of his gifts, then it’s okay if I do. But simultaneously, I was like, Wait! This is one of the most famous singers ever; if he doesn’t measure up, who does!?
It got me thinking about the way we measure ourselves, the metaphorical (and literal) “scales” we often put ourselves on. Whether these scales come from the world, or our family of origin, or even ones we create for ourselves it leaves us women, especially, feeling we never measure up to some ever-blurry, ever-elusive standard of “enoughness”. We hate the scales and the not-enoughness, but we keep returning to them. We strive and hustle and compare and compete for worth, all the while hoping and praying we might one day measure up to some standard that is actually unattainable.
Consider spending some time with the Lord, in journaling and prayer, and allow yourself to explore the following questions: What scales are you putting yourself on this season? Whose scales are you measuring yourself on? Or to put it another way: Where do you feel you aren’t “measuring up”? And who said so?
Then to complicate things, as women, we often receive the message that the solution to our “scale-problem” is to declare something like, “I am enough!” We have jewelry, coffee mugs, t-shirts that say, “I am enough” or “You are enough!” Look, I have some of those items myself. I’ve even written that very phrase in some of my books. But what I don’t love about that kind of “I am enough” mentality, is that it means there’s still a scale involved. We’re still measuring ourselves when we say those things.
I don’t want to change the calibration on the scales.
I want the scales gone.
What if there were no “scales”? Can you imagine how freeing that would be?
Part of the gospel story is the good news that Jesus took on human flesh. Think about the enormity of that miracle—the God who made us in his image, made himself in ours—taking on the entirety of the human experience.
And then, on the cross and at this resurrection – Jesus destroyed the power of sin and evil, but also actually shattered, smashed, and dissolved the scales that we have created (Colossians 2:14-15).
What that also means is this: there is no scale in Jesus.
If you are in Christ, because of Jesus, the scales are gone. In fact, Jesus took your place on the scale and then broke the scale—and in Jesus—you have value and dignity simply because you are God’s image-bearer, loved and transformed by Jesus.
Therefore, you don’t need to step on anyone’s “scale” ever again. Women of God, let’s smash the scales, all the false ways we measure ourselves, in Jesus’ name.
We need to be aware, too, of how false scales can sneak into our lives. As an example, before I met my amazing husband Kevin, I dated another guy, and I'll never forget the day he told me, “Aubrey I love you...for your potential.”
I was like, “what do you mean by that? “
His answer was something like this: “Well, one day I could see myself falling in love with you when you meet these certain criteria.” He went on to tell me that once I developed better taste in art and music and books (taste like his, is what he really meant), then he could see himself falling in love with me.
The crazy thing is that I just allowed that dangling-carrot relationship dynamic to happen for a while. In other words, I had put myself on a scale of this guy's making and let him decide my value and worth. My very givenness, my very image-bearing-ness was determined by him.
Thankfully, the Lord rescued me from that relationship with the Scaly guy.
The point is, if you are putting yourself on any sort of scale, or anyone else’s scale, and feeling like you are falling short, that is not from God.
God’s love is not put you on a scale and measure you kind of love.
God’s love, in Jesus, is nothing short of all-consuming. His love breaks the scales that we put ourselves on.
So, if you find yourself, like Bono, doubting your ability, or like me, measuring yourself on someone else’s scale, may you know afresh that in Jesus there are no scales.
There is only celebration and satisfaction being declared over you. The scales are gone.
Aubrey Sampson is the co-host of the Nothing is Wasted Podcast and the Common Good Talk Show. She has her Masters in Evangelism and Leadership, speaks at conferences and church events all over the country, and is the author of three books: Overcomer, The Louder Song, and Known, plus two more books on the way. She is a contributing writer to Propel Women and Christianity Today's The Better Samaritan. Aubrey is passionate about the church developing a less anemic theology of suffering and empowering you to share your story, for the glory of God.