Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Know Who I Am

27 Days to a Happy Mom - Day 3 

Being the only girl in my family, much of the task of cleaning out my mother's things after her death has fallen to me.  I go over and visit my dad often, keep him company, encourage him to exercise and eat, and check up on his Parkinson's medications.  He's not ready to part with much yet - the task is too sad, too daunting.

We looked through her cedar chest the other day.  I pulled out her wedding veil, a blue garter, and baby clothes from when my brothers and I were tiny.  Two unused, hand-crocheted baby blankets.  A cheerful yellow quilt.  And several sets of fine linen tablecloths and matching napkins.  They must have been wedding presents, more than 40 years ago.  But they were never used.  Never even taken out of their packaging and ribbons.  Never loved.  I guess Mom was waiting for a "special" occasion, or felt that these linens were too fancy for regular use.  "Special" never came.

How "special" do I have to be before I can pull out the fancy napkins or the china dinnerware?  How wonderful must I become before I can simply accept a sincere compliment without trying to deflect it?  How important must I get before I can think that I am something else?  How important are you?  Don't answer that yet - women especially have a knack for devaluing themselves.  We just need to quit it!

To me, self-worth is quite different from self-esteem or self-confidence.  I used to know what self-esteem is, but because the term is now so over-used, it has lost much of its specific meaning.  In general, it is what we think of ourselves.  Self-confidence is our assessment of our own competency.  Our true worth, however, has nothing to do with anything we think or  do.

J.K. Rowling, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, put it this way:
"We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.” 

I am of worth, simply because I exist.  I believe that God made me, and I am His daughter.  THAT, just that,  makes me awesome.  And you, too.  This is the great thing about religion.  I get to believe that there is a God in Heaven and that He is the Father of my spirit, and that He loves me no matter what.  How comforting is that!

Thinking this brings a little bounce to my step.  It helps to part the clouds on a dreary day.  I am of worth - infinite worth!  I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me.

I love this quote from Toni Sorenson, from Women of Christ: Of Infinite Worth:
“We are spiritual children of God the Father. We preach it. We sing it. But do we really understand it? Sometimes it’s easy to tell others they are loved, but not so easy to believe it of ourselves — not because we don’t think God loves His children, but because we may feel undeserving of His love. The adversary loves to remind us who we are not. Not pretty. Not smart. Not strong. But God would not have sacrificed His Son to save us if we aren't worth saving.” 
Or how about Brennan Manning, in Souvenirs of Solitude: Finding Rest in Abba's Embrace:
“Lord, when I feel that what I'm doing is insignificant and unimportant, help me to remember that everything I do is significant and important in your eyes, because you love me and you put me here, and no one else can do what I am doing in exactly the way I do it.” 

Amy Jones wrote more descriptively of a beautiful worth-defining moment in "Dancing in the Light of a Christmas Tree:"
"For a moment, I saw myself through God's eyes, and it was glorious. I was completely myself. Not the self that others expected me to be. Not even the self that I was 'supposed' to be. The self that God knew was in me - the truest part of my soul. What freedom I felt then. I was of worth. I was worth something because I was myself. Me. God loved me, not my skills or my looks. I was beautiful and precious just because I was His daughter."

And no quote fest is quite complete without a quip from Dr. Suess:

Just for today... look at your beautiful, wonderful self in the mirror and tell yourself, "God made me, He loves me, I am His daughter, and I have gobs and gobs of worth (and even more than $112K a year!)

And that makes me happy. 

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