Finding Self Worth in College

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This is the word that comes to my mind when asked: "How are you today”? I look down into my coffee cup, the bottom an equivalent of how I feel. How is it that I can find similarity with the hollowed-out bottom of a mug? Both of us were created to be filled, but through striving to be more I lack fulfillment. I always told myself I would be adequate, I would reach the mark if only I was busier or involved in more organizations. If only I had a leadership position, then I will be enough. But even now as my planner lays open in front of me interwoven with colorful marks, I realize that my success can't be measured by the marks on a calendar or the number on my transcript.

Coming into college, I was marked with a sense of inadequacy. I carried it through my days, this notion that I would never add up. If 2+2 equals four, I would always be three. I tucked it down deep within myself, never truly digging into the root of insecurity that had somehow worked its way into my heart. With each rejection from a campus club, loss of a friend, and moments of personal failure, the tally marks of imperfection continued to grow upon the walls of my heart. God has since worked in the mess, untangling these lies that somehow near convinced me that I was incapable of impact unless it was affirmable by the world.

Can you relate? I feel that many of us have struggled with the common theme of doing more in order to prove ourselves.

Why is it that our worth seemingly comes from how busy our days are and how many tasks we cross off of our to-do lists?

Why do we feel as if we are running as fast as we can to an unreachable goal of success, that we know we will never be able to attain? But yet, here we are lacing up our shoes and running- quite frankly sprinting- towards to goal of adequacy we see so far in the distance. Now, don't get me wrong school and involvement is significant and I believe in everything we are called to give our best in the opportunities placed before us and use them to bring God glory. However, in the case where opportunity turns from a means of growing into a sense of self- worth that is what I believe is detrimental.

However, God doesn't look at you and see an equation that doesn't add up. He sees all of the things you struggle to see in yourself. He sees purpose. Not an impressive resume or a sheet of to-do lists, but a living breathing depiction of His glory. He sees a blueprint laid out that equates to more than stress and busyness. His divinity is deeply ingrained within your life, even when you look away as you hastily walk to the next meeting. It's easy to lose ourselves in the marks of measurement that surround us and in the crowd of people who are telling us who we are and ought to be. But, it's in the moments of sheer inadequacy that I remember the love that consumes me and compels me forward in order to do some things that truly matter in this world. 

So, take the time to rest. In the Gospel of Luke, we see the all too familiar story of Mary and Martha. The two sisters open their home to Jesus as he is traveling and as Martha is rushing around to make sure everything is prepared, Mary is found sitting at the feet of Jesus and soaking in his teachings. I think this story is a reflection of our own lives as we find ourselves hurrying from one thing to the next.

We let our worth and depending on our performance as we strive to do more. However, sometimes God calls us to just be present.

I believe serving God in the midst of busyness is also fruitful when we take time to be present with God, the key is stopping to evaluate where your fulfillment is coming from. Is your soul being fulfilled by the things you do or by Jesus? 

You don't have to do anything or be anyone for Jesus, you don't have to be known on your campus or involved in a million things to be loved. You don't have to have a perfect GPA or a high earning job to be valued. You can be you in every capacity because that's all Jesus wants- you. Find ways to be present with Him in the busy and the mundane, so that you can relate to a cup- filled to the brim with the fullness that Jesus brings right where you are. 

Meet the Author


Taylor McElderry // @taylor.mcelderry

Hi friends, my name is Taylor McElderry! I am studying Elementary Education and Non-Profit Organizational Studies at the University of Oklahoma. In order to paint a picture of who I am, here are some things I love: people, coffee, international missions, painting, sunny days, hugs, authenticity, Dr. Pepper, old movies, deep laughter, passionate people, and the Gospel. I love stringing words together in an effort to exemplify Christ and the ways He has changed my heart. I hope that you may find a glimpse of the Kingdom and a friend to walk alongside you through the words I write!