Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Individual Worth

This is a beautiful, empowering thought I have been pondering.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

--Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural address (written by Marianne Williamson)

Do you ever feel less than you could be? I know I do. It's human nature to listen to those voices in your head or on the TV that say you're not good enough.

But I AM good enough. YOU are good enough.

Who are we not to be?

One of my favorite quotes of all time on this subject is this one by C. S. Lewis.

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.

Who knows us better than our Heavenly Father, who created us? We lived with him before we came to earth. We lived with Him before we were born. He counseled us, He taught us, He loved us. We chose to follow His Plan, presented by His beloved Son, and so we came to earth. He sent us here, knowing what trials we would need to face, what tests we had to endure, what paths we would have to navigate to return home to Him. Our holy elder brother, Jesus Christ, offered Himself as a sacrifice to overcome sin and death. Only through His atonement can we return home to be live with our heavenly parents, and attain eternal life.

We are created in the image of the most divinely powerful, infinitely loving, talented, intellectual, and wise Being imaginable.

By virtue of that alone, we are special; designed to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous.

Who are we not to be?


Joseph and Katie Smith said...

Again I am looking at your blog and need to explain how I got here... I am Betsy Fowler's big sis. and she told me about your blog. I am glad she did so, I hope it is okay that I am checking it out.
I have to say that I believe you were inpired to post "Individual Worth" at this time. I'm sure many will agree with me that you wrote this for them! I can not explain my inner struggle at this time, but I will say thank you for the tremendous boost and reminder of who I am what I can give. I am so grateful to you and your humbling and enlightening words. HAve a wonderful day.
Katie Fowler Smith

Rebecca and Co. said...

Katie, I read your earlier post and I'm glad to get to know you!

Betsy Fowler said...

Fun...I didn't realize my sis was actually reading your blog....Geez, between the Roberts and Fowler crew, you're a regular part of the fam Rebecca. :)

I loved your post too. Wonderful thoughts. You're so smart, and great Rebecca, thanks for sharing!

The Ottosen Family said...

You were definitely inspired to share this! I happened to logon at work on a day when I was ready to quit because of the amount of work I had left to do and the snide comments of others. Thank you for providing an uplift so I could go on and shine!

jessenpetty said...

Okay- Here is my issue. Whenever I "try" to be brilliant,smart, gorgeous or talented, I feel I hurt someone's feelings cause they choose to be rude/standoffish or make sarcastic remarks about something I said that might not have come out right or they took it the complete opposite of what I was really trying to get across. Does that make sense? I feel I can't be myself around certain people because they would take it as..."snot," "Miss Center-of-Attention,""Miss No-it-all," Etc. How do I come across as someone who loves everyone (which I really do) rather than someone who only seeks for personal attention?

Rebecca and Co. said...

Shannon, great question. You really got me thinking about the reality of putting that ideal into place.

On Bryce's mission there was a guy with a great voice who always volunteered his talents. Always singing at meetings, ward talent shows, etc. One time a member leaned over to Bryce and whispered, "Well he certainly doesn't hide his light under a bushel, does he?" You know, kind of sarcastically, like you-think-you're-pretty-special. Anyway, it was not a compliment.

For myself I use this philosphy. I feel that whatever God has given me, however meager, is to glorify Him. For example, I used to be a very shy singer. I was never in anything but ward choir. There were always people "better" than I was, though I enjoyed singing and knew I was "good." I never minded group singing but felt self-conscious in anything smaller than a trio. And a solo? Hello, out of the question.

But then I moved. There was a lack of musical talent. To make a long story short, my opportunities for "performing" increased and I took them--in the spirit of service. I have always said that I may not be the BEST at something but I am nearly always the most WILLING.

I'm sure that there are people who say, "Sheesh, what is Rebecca Jones doing up there again? She's not that good. I know someone way better."

Probably. Actually--certainly--true.

But will they say "yes" when they're asked?

To that end, I'm being "talented" because Heavenly Father expects me to be. Why else would he give me what little ability he did?

This is just an example, of course, not designed to be an all-encompassing solution.

I think that being the best you can be--trying knew things, breaking out of your comfort zone, growing spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, etc--is our purpose on this earth. For me it requires tremendous faith to do things that don't come easily. But some of those things are now actually my strengths.

And as for other people--some people will always be jealous, unkind, or whatever because THEY feel bad about themselves. I know every time I've said something like, "Ugh, why does she spend so much time working out" it's because I'm being lazy. Or "That's sure a long-shot that he's trying out for / applying to / hoping to get into something" because I'm too afraid to try that kind of thing myself.

Anyway, this is long enough to be its own post.

I think you're wonderful, Shannon. Shine on!