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2014 Archives

Lake House Lessons on Value & Worth

The Set Up

For Holy Week of 2010, the Lord beckoned me to spend two weeks with Him at a friend’s lake house. I thought the intent was to work on a project He had been unfolding with me for many months. Little did I know this time would hold profound insights that continue to work deep within me.

Prior to leaving, I was caught off guard by a question from someone with whom I had a significant relationship. This relationship became strained when I surrendered my life to the Lord in 2007, and there were moments of evident disdain. I was caustically asked, “What is it you even think you bring to this relationship?” I responded with an eloquent, dumbfounded, “What?”  “No, really. I want to know what it is you think you bring to this relationship.”

Stunned, my mind was blank. I immediately sought the Lord, “What’s the answer?” He responded, “Tricia, you bring you.” Thinking, “Oh, that’s good,” I replied with the Lord’s answer, “I bring me, but something tells me that’s not good enough.”

Unbeknownst to me, that was the set up for my lake house time. As soon as I arrived, unloaded my car, and got comfy in an overstuffed chair to seek the Lord on our project, He sweetly asked me, “What is it you think you bring to our relationship?” I shot out of that chair, “Are you kidding me? Is this seriously what we are here to do? Do you have any idea how embarrassing it was that I didn’t know the answer to that question and had to ask You?”

Over the next several days, the Lord guided a discussion about value and worth that I want to share with you. He probed me with many thought-provoking, penetrating questions. I pose them the way He did along with my responses, so this is conversational.

Day 1: Establishing the Topic

“If I never ask you to do one thing for My Kingdom, give you one more revelation, one more dream or vision, or one more prophetic word for someone, does it change your value or worth to Me?”

Me: “No.”

“But does it change My value and worth to you?”

Me: “No, I just want to be with You.”

I sat with that brief exchange for several hours. Sitting on the dock admiring the splendor of the night sky, I reminded the Lord of how He had frequently sent me a shooting star on my early commutes to work. It had been a long time since I had seen one, so I asked Him for one. As soon as the thought bubbled out of my head, I tried to grab it back. “I’m so sorry, Lord! I really just want to be here with you. You don’t have to do anything.” Right then, a star fell before me. I laughed, “You can’t help yourself. It’s just who You are!”

Day 2: The Perfect Cup of Tea

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“If I create a tea bag, a tea kettle, a tea saucer and a very beautiful, ornate tea cup to prepare and serve a cup of tea, on which of these have I placed the greatest value?”

Me: “None of them have greater value.  As long as they perform the function for which you created them, they are all equal.”

“That’s right.”

Day 3: Scales & Measures

“You had to ask me the answer to the question about what you bring to the relationship because you are not yet deeply rooted in your value and worth. Before your salvation, you used the things the world measures as a determination:

  • Job titles
  • Intelligence
  • Academic and professional achievements
  • Income
  • The house you live in
  • The car you drive
  • All your expensive possessions
  • Relationships (remember how you used to drop names)
  • Being married
  • Being a mom
  • Looks
  • Busyness
  • Demands for your time
  • Being desired for your body

None of those are constant or stable. The danger is that you can carry that template of external, changing measures of your value and worth into your life in the Kingdom:

  • Revelation or prophecy you receive
  • Spiritual gifts
  • Size of ministry
  • Number of souls saved
  • Financial status (wealth or poverty)
  • Attacks of the enemy
  • Your call
  • Extent of your territory
  • Relationships (there’s that name dropping again)
  • Busyness
  • Anointing
  • Positions and titles

…and the list goes on.”

Me: “Oh, Lord! I want everything you have for me. Not one thing more. Not one thing less. But please don’t release any gifts to me until I won’t use them as a measure of my value and worth. I only want what I can walk in in such a way that You receive all the honor and glory.”

He then instructed me to read the book of Romans. I settled into that comfortable chair. Carefully and intentionally, I picked through the Word. I was not sure what He wanted me to see, but I did not want to miss it.

Then, there it was. Paul says in Romans 12:2-3, Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning. Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

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“Tricia, you bring faith to our relationship.”

Me: “Faith! Of course, because without faith it is impossible to please You.”

Day 4: Plugging Into the Infinite

“Do you understand what infinite means?”

Me: “Uhhh, is that possible?”

“Infinite means that if I took everything I have and I gave it all to one person, I would still have it all. That’s how My Son could lay down His life and still have a life to pick up. I am the source of infinite value.”

Day 5: Spirit of Competition

Tug of War

“The world admires a strong, competitive spirit. What’s required for competition?”

Me: “An offense and a defense.”

“Right. This can be harmless when it’s for recreation. However, it can also be demonic. Remember, Satan was trying to compete with Me to acquire a higher place. Consider those two words. Indications of competition are being offended or becoming defensive.”

I was then directed to read Ephesians. Again, I diligently read each word because I sensed the Lord was trying to connect some dots. I did not want to miss a dot. In Ephesians 4:3-7, Paul admonishes us to preserve unity: Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.  However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.

“Competition precludes unity because it requires division–an offense and a defense. When incorrect measures are used for value and worth, there is room for comparison and a spirit of competition to operate. Faith is the measure, not gifts or any other scale. Without competition, there is freedom from offense. Power can only be released in its fullness from heaven when it won’t be used competitively. How can you be sure of this? Because Satan hasn’t been given full power, but My Son has. Satan is opposed to Me; Jesus is ONE with Me.”

John 3:34 declares, “For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit.”

“Words are an expression of what is in the heart. Consider how the world regards men and women as opposite sexes. Even the language used sets them in opposition to one another. I did not create opposite sexes. I created male and female as complementary genders, designed to fit perfectly together as indicated by their physical bodies.”

As I pondered these things, I wanted to research a spirit of competition. Without internet access, I called a friend who I knew had some resources. The information she found aligned with the things above. Then she said, “Wait. It gives Romans 12:3 as a reference if you want to go look it up.” Of course, I did and almost fell over when I realized it was the very reference I found when reading Romans (see above).

I sat in confession before the Lord that evening with a friend, denouncing this spirit of competition that I knew operated in me.

Day 6: Counterfeits

“When you have placed your value and worth in the wrong thing, you are trying to extract your life from that thing. It is a counterfeit source. I am purposeful in destroying these sources because I know there is no life in them, only death and bondage. I am jealous for your life.”

The Lord then began to show me behaviors that look identical, but with differing motives and focus. One is driven by trying to extract life from a counterfeit and the other gives life by imparting value. A counterfeit source eventually dries up and leaves us empty, but we are able to pour out unceasingly when we have tapped into the flow of the infinite source.

  • People pleasing attempts to extract value and worth from others because of a desire to be accepted and liked, while preferring another conveys value and worth to that person.
  • Seduction is the counterfeit that uses flattery for its own fulfillment and pleasure, while pursuing indicates a desire to be with someone because of who they are.
  • Co-dependence feeds off of someone else to get emotional needs met, while long-suffering draws on patience and hope.

Day 7 & Beyond: The Evolution of Revelation

I spent the rest of my time at the lake contemplating and settling into this lesson—and yes, eventually working on my project with the Lord. The Lord has yet to give me “classroom” revelation without a “lab” experience to apply the lesson. My value and worth came under scrutiny following my surrender to Jesus three years prior to this. After my lake time, however, the heat was turned up. Every false measure was lodged against me from some of my closest relationships and in many social settings. I had to stand in the Truth of my infinite value without defending myself. As I stood, my roots went deeper. I began to see and internally reject the measures trying to be imposed. Offense vanished. Today, I easily recognize the measures people use. I just know they do not apply to me, so I do not bow down to them.

The culmination of this lesson came a few months ago at church. As I sat in prayer with the elements of communion in my hands, the Lord spoke to me, “Receive your value and worth.”

Crown of Thorns

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Tricia Kaye Exman is a transmutation coach, leadership developer, author, and speaker. A graduate from the University of Alabama, her credentials include Professional Path Certified Coach, accreditation in Emotional Intelligence, and introductory level training in Right Brain Therapy. She also holds certifications in numerous personality profiling tools and facilitation skills for leadership training. An Organization and Leadership Consultant, Tricia has over twenty years of experience in corporate roles that include Account Manager, Operations Director, and Vice President of Project Management. Tricia is the President and Founder of Presence Coaching and Tricia Exman Ministries.