Recently, I won an award.
It’s not my first award, but it was a big one in my universe. (I mean, it’s no Nobel Peace Prize, but then again I don’t have a Ph.D in biophysics. Is that a thing, biophysics? It sounds like a thing. Ahem, I digress.)
I am a big fan of awards. Awards and promotions and honors and recognitions and election victories. Bring ‘em on. It’s the competitor in me. I grew up playing fierce games of Monopoly, so I blame my mother.
Now there’s nothing wrong with appreciating recognition bestowed because of your hard work or successful victory. But what happened to me, and what happens all too often in the workplace today, is that the award or the promotion or the accolade begins to define us. A thirst for the next recognition drives us instead of more laudable drivers like making the world a better place or improving the company’s performance.
Then you and I starting swinging wildly on an unpredictable pendulum. A pendulum that allows uncertain outside factors to determine our value. After close to two decades in my career, I have learned that for every award you win or job opportunity that finds you, there are three more that you lose. Then those losses you wear around your neck in shame just as you wore the victories in pride.
I remember vividly a period in my career when I was very concerned about being laid off. The economy had soured and every week another colleague or friend received bad news. It had been some time since I landed a big client or won a notable recognition, and I knew that employers can forget past successes in hard times. I interviewed with several companies. Always making it into final contention, and even once getting an offer, but never actually landing the job. I didn’t even want the jobs I interviewed for, but I had grown desperate thinking that my worth hinged on my bank account or title rather than on who God said I was and how He said He would provide for me. It was during that dark valley that I realized I had allowed my worth to be determined by others and their constantly changing measuring stick rather than by God’s unmoving unchanging valuation.
I am destined for a specific purpose (Eph. 2:10, II Cor. 5:5, Jer. 29:11, Rom. 8:28);
I am loved (Jer.31:3, I John 3:1-2, Eph. 2:4, Rom. 5:8, Eph. 3:17-19);
I am chosen (Deut. 14:1-2, Col. 3:12, I Peter 2:9, I Thes. 1:4);
I am a conqueror (Rom. 8, I John 4:4, I Cor. 15:57-58);
And SO much more.
Wear those labels over your heart as measures of your worth. Then let the awards come (and go). Be thankful for the opportunities they bring. But step off the pendulum that measures your worth by an ever changing outside standard and instead stand strong on the Rock knowing how your Heavenly Father sees you every single day.