Faith – the great equalizer
I need to work through some insecurity issues. Bear with me. Better yet…work through your own with me. Because chances are, you suffer too.
I’m not a bad writer, but I’m far from the best. I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I’m no expert on anything. I love my family, friends, and fellow man, but I’m still as self-centered as the next person (yes, that was an attempt to paint you with the same brush so you won’t judge me). My life and achievements are mediocre and there’s not much potential for any future greatness. I should be okay with that.
And often I am. But sometimes it makes me feel as though I’m not as valuable as those who surpass me in talent, skill, and accomplishments.
Valuable to whom?
Who said that? 🙂 Let me just interject here that if you don’t have a blog yet, you should consider starting one. A well-kept diary or journal would work too. Because until we are forced to express, in real words that others can understand, what we actually think and feel, we may not really know what we think and feel. Or you could pay the big bucks to a psychologist, who will mostly just listen while you are forced to express what you actually think and feel.
So, expressing my feelings about not being as valuable, even if only to myself, prompted an important question (that any good psychologist would ask…at $100 an hour). Valuable to whom? Whom do I need to impress to feel that my life is a success? That my existence is profitable? Have you ever asked yourself that? Is worth to be found in the quality of those who find me valuable, i.e. influential and admired persons or those whom we value, i.e. our loved ones, or the quantity of them? Is my worth based on who finds me valuable or how many? Something tells me it’s neither.
I’m grateful to have family and friends who I know would miss me if I suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth. That is an encouragement to me. I’m sure you do too. Does it feel sometimes like that’s not enough though? When others are receiving accolades, admiration, and attention that you covet? Uh-oh…there’s that word. I just checked to be sure, and…yup…the 10th commandment does say, “Thou shalt not covet…anything that is thy neighbor’s.” Busted.
Okay. So it follows from that that I am to be content with my lot…with the talents and opportunities I have, and not whining about and yearning for (coveting) the talents and opportunities someone else has. But is it fair that he is a thousand times smarter than I or that she has ten times as many blog followers? Hmmm.
A good and loving father is going to want to bless all his children equally. So why does a good and loving God bestow talent, beauty, and opportunity so disproportionately? Could it be those aren’t the kind of blessings that really matter? Let’s think this through.
Why do I want to be smarter and a better and more popular writer? If I’m being totally honest with myself, it’s so that I will get more recognition and praise. And that would feel really good…for awhile. But would it really satisfy long-term? I think of the multitude of celebrities whose fame and achievements aren’t enough to keep them out of rehab, or the divorce attorney’s office.
And I covet more opportunities because that translates to more income which means more material possessions. I think I would like that. But consider how dissatisfied the average American is even though compared to the majority of the world’s population, we are extremely wealthy. I am extremely wealthy.
What counts as being blessed anyway? The word translated “blessed” in the New Testament can also mean “happy” and that fits. We count as blessings things that make us happy. But two people with the exact same socio-economic status can be poles apart on the happiness scale. And there are folks in this world with little to call their own who exude joy and contentment.
So I’ve gone from exploring insecurities about my worth to considering the nature of happiness. And I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s really all about attitude. Well, maybe not all. It’s also about submission and obedience. I know that I am of great worth to God simply because I am his child. As a mother, I understand that completely. His love for me is not contingent upon attaining a minimum standard of achievement. But he does expect me to receive whatever gifts he has chosen to give me with thankfulness, and use and enjoy them in a way that honors him. If I am coveting anything, even a greater significance, it demonstrates dissatisfaction with him and his blessings. But if with a grateful heart I do my best to use the talents and opportunities he gives to serve him, he is pleased and I can be genuinely content in knowing that.
Truly, knowledge of God is the great equalizer. If there is no God, you have no inherent worth because you exist utterly by chance, without design or purpose. You must establish your own value through relationships, work, and achievements. But there will always be some of greater worth than you.
In the real world however, knowing God and being known by him is the ultimate determinant of worth and is available to all equally, regardless of talent, status, or achievements. It trumps everything else…wealth, fame, earthly significance…and is realized by humble and simple faith. That’s it.
I think I feel secure now. How about you?