Have you ever played the “first word that comes to your mind” game? It goes like this: someone says a word, and you have to say the first word that comes to your mind. For example: if I say “teacher”, you might say “math” or “alphabet”. If I say “doctor”, you might say “sick”.
Ok, let’s try to play. I’ll say a word, and you fill in the blank with the first word that comes to your mind.
“Engineer” (Fill in the blank.)
“Pastor” (Fill in the blank.)
“Mechanic” (Fill in the blank.)
...But what if I said, “stripper”? What comes to mind?
In our culture, we identify ourselves by what we do or accomplish. When we introduce ourselves, we often ask, “What do you do?” as one of our first questions. It’s almost as if we want to place people in a social category before we really want to commit to starting a friendship with them.
What happens if we lose our job? What if we are unsuccessful at obtaining a certain accomplishment? Many people in this position are left to search for their identity and worth.
At The Grace Alliance, we strive to help people understand that they are valuable no matter what they do or accomplish. When I tell people that they are worthy of taking care of themselves, I am often met with a look of astonishment...like they’ve never heard that they are worthy. Have you heard that about yourself? Are you able to say with full confidence, “I am worthy of taking care of myself”?
YOU. ARE. WORTHY.
Take away all of your accomplishments, your money, your possessions, your mistakes, and your failures. I still say…
YOU. ARE. WORTHY.
This is what I love about the ministry of Jesus Said Love: they take away all judgements, look into strippers’ eyes, and say: “You are worthy.”
What would it look like if we all started doing that, even for ourselves or the next person we meet in our community? It would start to change our perspective on how we value people...so much so that we would start changing our behaviors. It would mean loving ourselves by taking care of ourselves, and asking other questions when we meet new people to really get to know them for who they are. It might even mean investing in what other people can do or accomplish.
Behaviors would change.
Then, when we play the “first word that comes to our mind” game and the word “stripper” is said, we would respond with words like “worthy”, “loved”, or “valuable”.
Because behind the behavior…is always a person.
Director of Grace Alliance Waco