How many of us have ever felt as if we are not enough?
It is easy to judge ourselves according to our achievements, successes, and failures. Our world encourages this, determining our value based on our productivity. While striving for growth is not bad in itself, it can have difficult and even devastating effects on our understanding of self. When we become solely focused on growth, we can view ourselves as ‘something that needs fixing.’ We misinterpret Christ’s call to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” in a way that looks only to ourselves as broken. So how do you combat this belief while still striving for personal growth?
Dignity of Humanity
In Genesis 1, we read about the Creation of the World. We read, “God created mankind in his image”and “found it very good.” In our humanity, both body and soul, we are very good . Humans have dignity because we are made in God’s image and likeness, and because we can know and love God. There is nothing we can do, or not do, to remove this dignity. It is essential that when looking at areas in our life for growth and development, we do not forget that our dignity rests in something far greater than our achievements, or lack thereof. We are good because we are created by God and for God, something we do nothing to earn or deserve.
This truth about our inherent goodness can easily be forgotten or denied, but a great way to grow in the habit of cherishing our goodness is by thanking God. As St. Paul says in his letter to Thessalonians, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” When we develop this habit, it helps us to see our person, both body and soul, as God sees us—as a person wonderfully made in His image and likeness.
St. Therese is a beautiful example of how to rely completely on the Lord. Her faith did not stem from insecurity or laziness, but from an understanding of God as Father. Jesus teaches us to turn to God as Father, and St. Therese showed us how to live with that understanding. Desiring personal growth, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, is not something we should avoid. In striving for growth, we must surrender ourselves to the Lord and ask for His assistance. This helps us avoid becoming overburdened and feeling like a failure in our weakness. As St. Therese wrote in her Story of a Soul, “Jesus does not demand great actions from us, but simply surrender and gratitude.”
As we strive to draw closer to the Lord, let us remember our worth. We are loved by a good Father who desires to walk with us and aid us on our journey. He loves us for who we are, not for what we do.