The other night I went to a dinner party at a new friend’s house. The food was delicious, the table was set to perfection, and despite being new in town I felt surrounded by friendly chatter. Very quickly I forgot my loneliness and longing for home and began to enjoy the evening. Little did I know, my sweet daughter was not savoring a similar experience.
Later that evening, with tears streaming down her face, she told me how alone she had felt with her new peers, how nothing she did seemed to enable her to become part of the group, how they didn’t understand her jokes. They ignored her. And truthfully, although nothing terrible had happened to her physically, I knew in my heart that this pain was one of the greatest pains she had ever felt, and, most likely, overcoming these feelings of self doubt would be a struggle she would face again and again in life.
My heart broke for my child that night. Because what could be worse than forgetting, however briefly, how special she is? What could hurt more than not knowing she is of real value and that there is a place for her in this world? She is my child, and each day I pray for the ability to help her to know of her tremendous value, her intrinsic self-worth.
People who know their self-worth bounce back from situations like this. They know who they are and nothing on this good earth can shake that beautiful and simple truth.
Have you ever been driving and had someone drive up right behind you, speed up really fast and try to pressure you to move out of your lane or speed up? You know – tailgating? It is super unsafe and super not cool! Despite the rainy cold weather yesterday I was out and about running errands. Like I said, I’m new in town and so I’m pretty cautious on the roads. I was taking it easy down a two lane highway when a little red car started following me much, much too close for my comfort. Feeling uneasy, I decided that I was driving too slow for the drivers around me and so I sped up despite the fact that I was already driving the speed limit and I knew that there was a sharp turn up ahead. Now, don’t be alarmed, nothing terrible happened to me, but I had to sit there and ask myself “Why?” Why did I change my course when I was the one who could see the way up ahead, when I was the one behind the wheel of my own car, especially since my whole sweet family was in the car with me? And it’s not like this is a new thing, folks. I’ve let myself make bad choices on the road lots of times under pressure. And I shouldn’t. I’m a safe driver. I love my family, I love my car, I love being alive! I should trust myself more and trust my instincts. Every time I get behind the wheel of my car I should know all of that, and I should be ready to make decisions accordingly.
It is ever so difficult to be true to yourself if you do not know who you are. But how? How do we enable ourselves to see who we really are? How do we give this good gift to our children or to the little old man down the street? It is of the utmost importance that we lead by example in the field of being true to who we are. We must learn of our own divine nature, of our own eternal value. And it is imperative that we build up that knowledge of self within each person we come in contact.
If you struggle with your own self-worth I encourage you to start with the basics. You are a child of God. You are on this Earth for a reason. In the New Testament, Peter offers instruction that we “might be partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:5-11 offers a simple path to knowledge of our worth. The King James Version reads,
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
You know that phrase, “By their fruits ye shall know them”? You are a daughter or a son of God. What are your fruits? Have you spent your days laboring over meals, washing clothes or running errands? Perhaps you have a home were people feel welcomed- where all who enter feel the love of the Savior and face life ready for the next challenge. Or perhaps you have worked tirelessly to serve the people around you, and so you have felt the great spiritual benefit of giving selflessly.
As we learn in Mathew 10, those who seek to find themselves are paradoxically counseled to lose themselves first. How better to learn our great strengths then by stretching ourselves as we strive to assist those around us? Who among us has not extended an arm or hand of kindness and felt in their soul that this was a good thing- something that enabled us to be part of a much larger and greater cause? The Lord’s plan does not change, and when we lend ourselves to his plan we become part of something with a never-ending promise. We come to understand ourselves in the lens of His eternal glory.
If you would like to better understand who you are and more clearly comprehend your Savior’s appreciation of your great worth I challenge you to do the following five things each day:
Prayerfully observe the people around you
Endeavor to faithfully serve 1 person a day
Allow yourself to feel good about the services you have rendered
Ask the Lord how you can do more
Ask the Lord if He is pleased with your service
I challenge you to do this, and to share with your children your desire to be better in tune with God’s hopes for you each day. As you do this you will grow together in your understanding and your children will be able to gain a sense of self-worth rooted in the most consistent, powerful being imaginable.
You have a divine potential. Many gifts have been given to you that enable you to be spiritually successful each day. Do not allow your course to be derailed because of the judgements of another. When that random stranger eyes your grocery cart suspiciously ignore them. Who cares if they approve of your non-organic gluten-filled lifestyle? Or when that “well meaning” bystander at the park criticizes your parenting techniques remind yourself that YOU are the parent of your child. You see them day in and day out. YOU are in charge of making choices for you and your family and YOU can do that quite successfully. Use the gifts that a loving Savior has given to you. Make the world a better place with work of your hands, and whether your acts be grand or small and simple know that God knows your divine potential. Of your endless promise He has said this: “Give her the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:31).
Laura is a true nature aficionado who delights in spending time with her children and friends. She’s been known to be an extensive reader, a prolific chef, and a compassionate listener. She enjoys a variety of expressive art mediums and can often be found writing. She knows that testimonies are built day by day, and she holds her desire to learn about the gospel as her greatest strength. It is her hope to share this love of learning with those around her.