I feel undervalued. I feel unappreciated. This is a topic that I know weighs heavily in the hearts of many. Whether you are married, in a relationship, in the marketplace, in ministry, in a group of friends, with your bestie, your family.. whatever social context you maybe in, feeling undervalued and unappreciated is something we can all relate to in some form or another. Maybe it’s something you’re struggling with as we speak. Believe me, I can relate!
It’s usually when we spend a vast amount of time and energy overextending ourselves in hopes to reach certain expectations at are unrealized or unmet: This is when Satan can use this buildup / accumulation of unexpressed emotions / feelings to create a bitter root in our hearts and spirits even to the point where we begin withholding love.
“If only he / she would recognize me!” Or “If they could at least say thanks!”, or even a “Great job!” or a pat on the back every now and then couldn’t hurt.. and these small gestures aren’t too much to ask for right?? “Why don’t they care?? Would they even notice if I wasn’t here??! I could easily be somewhere else where I am loved and appreciated!!!” Do any of these voices sound familiar?
Then we end up transforming into that person we hoped we would never become. We start questioning the organizations we work for, our bosses and their methods. We secretly hold grudges against co-workers or even conjure up thoughts of revenge towards a loved one while justifying our actions as right because.. well, they did it too! We even begin strategizing our exit plans while never really attempting to work out issues head on, burning bridges while which carrying our baggage into new relationships and situations.. then doing it again, again and again.
I myself have had many of these seasons dwelling in victimization while becoming so self-focused. Having gone through 2 failed marriages, I had felt that I gave it my best but very unappreciated from people that I had put all my hopes for. I ran to the church for cover and was blessed to be loved and cared for by my pastors and community. When some missed expectations came through pauses in leveling up in ministry, I felt that all those years pouring out were unseen and didn’t matter. It seemed that nobody cared and I never felt so undervalued, unappreciated and alone.
It wasn’t until after years of being so self-focused and operating in such a dirty place spiritually that the Lord brought me to my senses. I learned that over the years, I was always first to point fingers to either someone or a situation rather than allowing the Lord to use these as times of looking at myself and assuming responsibility.
I would like to share with you 3 things that have helped bring me from having a heart full of bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness due to feeling undervalued and unappreciated to one that is released, forgiving, and loving (mind you that I’m still a work in progress!).
1. Inquire of the Lord
Probably one of the hardest things to do is to come before the Lord and ask him to examine our hearts and spirits. Psalm 26:2-3 read, “Prove me, Oh Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.” If there’s one person that we can’t lie to, it’s God. Through the Holy Spirit, He will reveal to you any areas of correction that are necessary in his disciplining love if we are to come with honesty, humility and holiness. We can seek confirmation from those in our inner circles, other believers who are willing to give to us truth in love. Some corrections may be harsh, but we need to trust that they are grounded in love so that we may thrive.
When I was brought to my senses, I felt the Lord directly speak to me, “Tell me who you have become!”.. I honestly didn’t like the person I saw in the mirror and knew I had to change if I wanted to flee from a life of darkness. This was my launch point where though I had to address a lot of things I didn’t want to see, I was able to embrace reality and have a place where I could only grow from by moving forward. Even though I knew that I had a lot of inner work that needed to be done, I know had a direction that could lead me towards being in the truth and light.
2. Place Your Hope in Jesus
The greatest revelation that I had while seeking the root of feeling undervalued and unappreciated was the realization that I had placed my hope in everything else but Jesus. Back then my ex-wifes, pastors, church, co-workers, family, friends, even the outcome of situations were my fulfillment.. and when any of these had missed the mark, that’s when I started straying off of the path of righteousness. John 4:13-14 reads: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again, The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
When we place our hope in Christ alone, we start releasing others in terms of what they can do for us in exchange for an eternal hope found through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross bearing all of our sins so that we may gain new life. It’s by being in Jesus that our faith is restored and our hope is renewed through finding a fulfillment that nothing in this world could ever take place. Our value comes from Christ alone, and with that we no longer need to seek validation from others because our wholeness comes from up above.
3. Set a New Culture
Our purpose then starts to take shape through sharing His love to others and overflowing in the spirit. Before my expectation was to receive appreciation first and then give it back which was a very wrong way of thinking. When we’re in the right spirit and be the ones that are first to initiate appreciation for another without any expectation of return, we invite the Holy Spirit to set an entirely new culture within the eco-systems He has placed us as ambassadors of influence. Colossians 3:16 reads, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalm and hymns and spiritual songs, with thanksgiving in your hearts to God.”
Today I am reminded by the Lord that I in every moment I am empowered by the Spirit and given the opportunity to uplift others, recognize their heart and efforts, and release value and appreciation towards them not for my own glory but for the glory of God! Showing value and appreciation can be expressed through sharing a simple word, a thank you card or note, or even a small gift to let others know that they are seen, recognized as an encouragement and inspiration. Investing our genuine time and energy to fulfill the needs of others can prove to be one of the greatest victories even if it’s just 5-10 minutes of our time. I was so touched the other day when two sisters working for our church gave me a bag full of Colombian empanadas along with a thank you card.. I was so touched and felt so valued and appreciated, wanting to give it back!
The devil robs us of living who we are called to be when are spirits are stuck feeling undervalued and unappreciated. When we can set focus our everything on spirit of God, we will find that it will manifest itself in our lives and others when we can come before the Lord to clean our hearts, place our hope in Jesus, and live transformed to freely give love and appreciation towards others.