Hello, how are you, g’day and welcome to you! This post is part of a series I’m working my way through in the month of October, called Swim Your Own Race. If you’d like to start at the beginning (it is a very good place to start, after all) you can do so, right here. I hope you enjoy diving in!
Hi there, my fellow consumer! Let’s talk a bit about worth and value today, shall we?
We are a society that is quick to put a price tag on something, aren’t we? We debate whether its ‘worth it’ to have someone else cut your grass, whether the sale on pork tenderloin is really a good price, why certain things are ‘worth it’ because our time is valuable. It seems there are very few things that don’t have a price tag anymore.
Someone recently spoke to me about the videography services our photography business recently began offering. She was very complimentary about our most recent wedding film – you should totally follow this link and watch it because it’s great – and it was nice to hear the good feedback. But, she has a daughter getting married soon and she was very disappointed that the prices “were so expensive.”
I was a little bit caught off guard and didn’t know how to respond, so I tried to explain how hard the two guys that make up our videography team work. Wedding days are usually something to the tune of twelve hours of working with very few (if any) moments to break, and this doesn’t include travel time.
The real work happens after the wedding day, though. Because there are two different camera guys each running a camera at key moments, and sometimes a third camera on a tripod somewhere, they have hours upon hours upon hours of footage to go through and trim down to our documentary edit, and even further trim down to the little wedding films we work together to create. How much is some 200-odd hours of work worth?
Then there are the cameras and (heaps of) other equipment associated with capturing the footage. The most recent purchase of our lead videographer was a camera that cost more than either of the cars that the Hubs and I drive. The image quality and performance of the camera is phenomenal, like, take-videos-in-nearly-dark-situations-phenomenal but is it that what makes it worth it?
A couple years ago, I had the privilege of building websites for a couple of wonderful ladies who are both artists. They each had very different styles, although they both primarily work in watercolors. I loved looking at the beautiful paintings they created, and I often wondered how they ever managed to put a price tag on their work. One of the ladies once told me about a particular piece that she so dearly loved that she would never, ever sell it. It was award-winning, and absolutely beautiful. Some of her paintings had a worth that she could put a price tag on, but this one was too important — to her, it was priceless.
Months ago, we sat across a table from a wonderful couple that was thinking of hiring us to capture photography on their wedding day. We enjoyed our conversation, talking about how we “do” weddings and what’s involved behind the scenes, the things that we include and where our hearts are with regard to serving our clients.
They seriously surprised us by discussing our price and saying, “We’ve looked around at a lot of different photographers and we were really surprised that you don’t charge more. Your talent is just as good as, if not better than [another photography team based in North Carolina] but their price is like $1,000 more than yours. We really feel like we’re getting value from you guys — we couldn’t believe your price.”
That conversation was certainly a shot in the arm for a couple who are praying to consistently book photography sessions and weddings, in order to run a successful business and provide for our family. But here’s the thing I’m learning, based on all these experiences:
YOU CANNOT ALLOW THE WORLD TO TELL YOU YOUR WORTH.
Sure, we can try our best to put a price tag on the goods and services we offer the world as our work. We might be in a place where someone else is telling us how much per hour we’re worth and we’re just praying they’ll see us working hard and decide we’re worth a little bit more.
I recently finished settling the first of three estates I’ve been working through for the past year and half — it’s quite a story, but let’s save it for another day. To finally meet with the Clerk of Court and close the estate, a lot of paperwork is required, and it seems to all boil down to a basic number — the net worth. What were the liabilities this great aunt of mine left at the time of her passing? What were her assets? What is the government’s share of those funds? What (if anything) is going to be dispersed among the survivors.
Is that really what we’re worth?
Friends, our intrinsic value as human beings has never and will never be linked to a number that is based on what we might have earned in our lifetime.
To the Lord, we are the painting that He would never, ever in a million years sell.
The world is quick to tell us about ways to become more valuable to the people around us, sometimes to tell us that we’re worth more, other times that we’re worthless.
Perhaps not everyone will see what you do as valuable, but you need to know that that is not an indication of the value of who you are.
If God saw us, the people He created, as so valuable He was willing to send His only Son to live and die and pave the way for our reconciliation, what does that say about how valuable we are? How priceless and precious we are to God?
And why did He do it? Because He so loved the world.
As you swim the race of your life, the world might try to put a price tag on what you do. And you might have to figure out how much what you do is worth.
But the important thing to remember is that the car you drive, the home you live in, the clothes you wear, that final figure at the end of it all — none of it has any bearing on the value of who you are.
You are loved by the God of the universe and He sees you as so intrinsically valuable, He wouldn’t give you up, even when it cost the life of His Son.
Let that thought sink in for a moment.
You are rare and precious and loved by God. And the people around you are, too.
How does deeply believing these truths affect the way you swim your race?
If you really believe them, it changes everything.