Sunday, December 23, 2012

Is it worthy? Is it worth it?

Just this past Friday, on the way to work, I was feeling a moderate amount of anxiety over something that has been preoccupying my thoughts.  While mulling over the source of this anxiety and what to do about it, a surprisingly powerful thought crossed my mind "I'm not worthy of __________." 

The only reason I describe it as powerful is because all of a sudden, with that single thought, I felt an almost narcotic-like effect on my anxiety.  I felt the muscles in my neck loosen, the tightness/nausea in my stomach subside, and the furrow in my brow release.  At first, I welcomed the relief, but then I started looking more closely at the thought that brought it.  It didn't make any sense really.  The thing I was wanting had no correlation with any form of spiritual or even temporal worthiness.  It was something I wanted, and somehow, just by telling myself I wasn't worthy of it, I no longer felt the angst of want or desire. It was almost as if I was released from them just by telling myself it was impossible to attain.

Perhaps I'm a bit late in the game, but this was a new discovery for me.  I've never been in the habit of telling myself I'm not worth it.  Yeah, I've got issues, but feeling unworthy of something was never one of them.  Rather, I've always had a pretty solid testimony of divine worth and that my personal worth was infinite simply because I'm a daughter of God - independent of accomplishment, status, or circumstance.  I've never really believed anybody who told me otherwise.  Thus, the words "I'm not worthy," and it's strangely cathartic effect was new (and surprising).

However, the moment I digested this experience, the Spirit whispered to my heart, "this isn't right, and you know it."  Part of me wanted to argue.  Yell something to the effect of, "If it's not right, why does it feel better?  What's not right about it?" but before I even finished forming the questions, I already had answer.  It's not right, because designating yourself hopelessly unworthy of something, of anything, is just another way of isolating yourself from God.

I mean, if you think about it, any sense of hopelessness is really just a way of telling ourselves "I'm not worth God's attention/help," that "God can't help me," or perhaps that "God's not there to help me."  All of those are pretty negative statements, and all point pretty clearly to fear and failure.  What seems interesting to me, was how cathartic that thought of hopelessness was.  Most of us probably peg hopelessness as a negative emotion, something depressing and dark.  Well, I would agree, but why is it that so many people are lured into hopelessness?  What is the appeal of something negative, depressing and dark?

Part of me wonders if the root of the catharsis lies in the disconnect it creates between who we are and who we really want to be.  That by separating yourself from the possibility of God's help, you are relinquished from all of the hassle and hardship required to make your desires a reality.  This may be unpopular to actually say, and I don't want to be insensitive to those who struggle with chronic feelings of unworthiness, but that's an awful way to  That as much as you may want to indulge in the strange sense of safety or release inherent in "I can't," it's counterproductive to any pursuit of happiness.

To find joy, you must have hope, and to actually have/maintain hope in something requires conviction, work, and faith.  That requires a huge amount of discipline, dedication, and a degree of optimism that is not particularly fun, easy, or pleasant to exercise.  To give up is to become indolent and complacent.  After all, you know what to expect when you never aspire, and you'll never be disappointed when you never try.  But nobody ever wrote a book about a little engine that couldn't because those who think they can't contribute, don't contribute.  They weigh on society like a necrotic limb, just feeding off the energy of others while noxiously spreading their toxic beliefs.

Ok, that may be a touch dramatic, but it does illustrate my point.  That hope for ourselves and society really does start with hope in ourselves and the faith that, with God, we can become the person we want to be with the life we want to live.  That those basic principles of hope and faith are essential to success in the face of adversity.  Have you ever seen someone work assiduously for something better while things seem to digress, or perhaps progress at an almost imperceptibly slow pace?  Perhaps you thought they were crazy or stupid for putting so much effort into something that didn't seem to produce.  But then again, that is often the story of those who achieve great things.  Those people who ignore being told 'you can't' are the ones that leave their mark on the world.  Hope and faith are the elements of God woven into the DNA of all of His children (whether or not they even acknowledge the source).  They can't be taken, stripped, or robbed from us.  We always have the power to choose faith.  We always have the opportunity to be hopeful.  And ultimately, we each have the capacity to attain whatever it is we want most in this life, if only we practice the conviction.  Hopefully, that desire is happiness.  Hopefully, we are also learning and practicing the charity/love required to ever achieve that happiness, no matter how difficult it may seem.

So, long story short, next time you feel unworthy of something, ask yourself, "Is this what I really want?  Is it a good thing to want?  Do I believe God would want to help me with this?"  If it is, then be hopeful, and have faith that it will be done.  That's how I modified the thought pattern I indulged in that morning.  I've learned that getting over feelings of unworthiness is not really about self esteem or confidence in our own abilities.  It's about having faith.  Instead of consoling myself into thinking that what I desire is out of the bounds of my reach, I just need to have faith that with God, such boundaries simply do not exist, and proceed from there.

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts. This is something that I needed to read today. Thank you.