Sometimes I’m amazed at what my body can do. Take digestion, for example. What a process! We’ve got over ten feet of small intestine, and all these little organs that each play a critical role in helping us break down our food and nourish our bodies.

Reproduction””that’s another miracle to behold. I’ve had five pregnancies and four babies (one miscarriage). It’s mind-blowing to stop and consider how God created women with the ability to grow another human inside of them.

But, I’ll be honest. Most days I don’t feel “amazing.” I look in the mirror and wonder how I’m supposed to be thankful for aging. Wrinkles, cellulite, extra pounds from the holidays can all make me question what happened when God made man (and woman) and called it “good.”

January is the time when many of us stop and take inventory. We look ahead (perhaps with optimism) about what we can accomplish in the year to come. And we determine things in our lives we’d like to change or adjust. Maybe you call them resolutions, maybe you call them goals, but the start of a new year is a time when many of us determine to adjust our course. We find renewed energy and refreshed resolve to pursue what we really want.

But I wonder: Why do so many resolutions fail? Data shows us most do. Why do so many of us start the diet on January 1, only to find ourselves eating all the Valentine’s Day candy? Could there be something missing, something that could inform our resolutions and help them stick?

I have a theory that should resonate with anyone who considers himself or herself to be pro-life. What if that missing link is a deeper understanding of human dignity? What if a truer comprehension of where our value comes from and how our value is defined by God could help us accomplish our 2021 goals?

January is Sanctity of Human Life Month. In the next few posts, we’ll talk about what human dignity is, how the very concept of human dignity is threatened in our media, and how we can teach our children to stand up to the culture of death and respect human dignity.

But today, let’s start with defining the concept. Human dignity””at its core””is the concept that all people hold immeasurable value that is inherent. It’s not connected to their race, gender, or class. Neither is it connected to their job, abilities, or appearance. We are all valuable and “dignified” because God created us in his image.

God spells it out, right there in the first chapter of the Bible. Genesis 1:27 tells us that we were made in God’s image, male and female. He created us with this unique distinction from everything else he created. Dogs, rabbits, and rhinos are not made in the image of God. Mountains, beaches, and the stars””they’re all lovely””but still, not created in God’s image. This is an honor reserved solely for the human race.

So, back to our resolutions. Does our New Year’s goal setting fall flat because we set resolutions in areas where we perceive we’re inadequate? For example: we feel insecure about our weight, so we resolve to change it. Or, we feel insufficient to do a job we’ve been given, so we resolve to learn more””get better. These goals take on a life of their own as they become important for helping us find our worth. We mistakenly look for value in getting a better body, a better job, or a better “handle” on our lives.

Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be better or do better, goals set out of a place of insecurity are always harder to reach. When we wonder if we’re enough, and then determine we’ll reach that destination of “I’m good enough now” by achieving what we set out to do, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Defining our worth through our accomplishments, possessions, or status will never be enough to satisfy. We have to know what God says about our value and understand that it doesn’t depend on any of these other variables.

In other words: What we believe about human dignity matters. A lot.

As people committed to the promotion of life, and more so, abundant life, what if all of our goal setting started from a different place? What if instead of making resolutions from a place of insecurity””we set them from a place of deep understanding of the truth that we are made in God’s image? When we know that our worth, our value, and our identity are firmly rooted in Christ and his sacrifice, we can attempt to “better” ourselves from a place of rock solid security.

We stand up for the innocent lives taken by the atrocity of abortion because we know that these little lives have value. But can we believe that for ourselves? We know that these innocent ones are completely loved and accepted by God the Father. We know that they’re worth fighting for and worth protecting because they have purpose. Yet, do we sometimes wrestle””internally””with our own senses of purpose and value?

This New Year, as we explore the concept of human dignity, I ask you to start by asking yourself a heart question. Do I apply what I believe about the value of human life to myself? Do I know that my health, my purpose, my life rests securely in the God who made me? Can I fully trust him to be my rock and salvation and not be tempted to trust in the idols of self-improvement?

Prayer:

Lord, please help us to live as people who were made in your image and who have been chosen by you.