On my kitchen counter, I found a cash register receipt that said, “Present this receipt with your next $20 purchase and receive a $5 discount. Good for two weeks. I checked the date – one day past the two weeks. Worthless, I thought, and threw it in the garbage.
That same day, my daily reading had carried the message, “You can never lose your value as God’s precious child.” Truth, I thought but difficult to believe. Some days I get busy and forget to return a friend’s call. or I discover I’m double-booked – I’m committed to being in two different places at the same time. On those days, it’s easy to say, “Worthless, I’ve done it again God. Are you going to give up on me this time? Guess I’m ready for the garbage.”
On the days when I wake up with my back hurting and arthritis complaining, I wonder, “Am I out of date yet, Lord? Maybe now it’s time to put me out to pasture.”
Those are often the days when I receive a positive comment on my blog, or someone buys a book, or thanks me for listening to them. God is actually very good at reminding me that I am a precious child, and my life has meaning. One of my favorite scripture passages is Isaiah 43:1-5. “I have called you by name. You are mine…you are precious in my sight and I love you.”
I suggest you pick up a Bible, find this passage, read it aloud, substituting your name for the pronoun you. Every time you have doubts, read it again. You might even want to learn it by heart, so that you can remind yourself regularly that you are precious, a precious child of God. Nothing you can do, say, or experience will change your status. Live with confidence in God’s love for you. It will never be out of date.
We never know what gift, skill, bit of information we might need for actual survival at some point in our lives. Midwinter 2009, airline pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, made an emergency landing of his passenger plane with no casualties on New York’s Hudson River. How did he manage this miracle. Captain Sullenberger said, “For 42 years I’d been making small, regular deposits in my life bank of experience, education and training. On that day the balance was sufficient so that I could make a large withdrawal.”
For me, our faith life follows the same pattern. Praying, attending worship, studying our Bible are faith skills. Forgiveness and caring for others prepare us for acceptance and love. These are the life experiences, the training that fill the bank of our minds and hearts with a certain knowledge of God’s presence, strength and comfort. When the tough times come, and we lose our job, a loved one dies, we move… we draw on that bank.
www.janetstobie.comThe stronger our faith life, the more connected we are to our Christian family, the larger our bank account. God loves us and cares for us all no matter what we do, or how many deposits we make. Still the bottom line is, that a large amount in our faith account, just as the large amount in Captain Sullenbergers pilot account can make the difference between success and failure when we’re called on to do the impossible with God.
Usually, we connect Valentine’s Day with romance. It’s good to celebrate the love we feel for one another. Valentine’s Day also calls us to love ourselves. Jesus said, the second most important commandment was “Love others as you love yourself.” Psychologists tell us we cannot love others well until we have learned to love ourselves.
Years ago, when I had my counseling business, clients would come who had lost all respect and love for themselves. They saw only their failures – failures on the job, as parents, as a friend, as a lover, or failures in terms of their body size or capabilities. Everything about themselves, as far as they were concerned, was wrong.
In order to help them understand their feelings, we spent time talking about what events and people were a part of their life journey to this point. I would give them homework to help them work on change, on growing their self esteem. One of the exercises asked them to clothe themselves with love every morning by doing the following:
When you look into the bathroom mirror, stop and give yourself a compliment. It could be as simple as saying, “I like the way my hair shines in the sunlight this morning.” Or “My new nail polish makes my fingers look longer and more graceful.” Or “I like my brown eyes. They remind me of yummy chocolate.”
As you step out of the shower, say to yourself, “MMMM I smell good, so fresh and clean.
Do something nice for someone else each day. Afterward tell yourself, “Thank you God for using me to bring goodness to this world.
Those clients who faithfully did their homework were surprised at the change in their attitude towards themselves and others.
This year for Valentine’s Day, I suggest that whether or not you have someone in your life wanting to celebrate you, take some time to love yourself – to love who you are, to love how you look, as God’s special creation. Clothe yourself in love.