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Tuesday, November 27 2001

Self-worth

How much am I worth? It's a question we probably ask often as we go through our daily lives, often in indirect ways. For example, I was fretting about how large the monthly payments on my new car are going to be. It's a small car, but the payment is by far the biggest car payment I've ever had; nearly $500 a month. When fretting about it, I thought, "this shouldn't be a big deal. Most of my peers have bigger cars, many of them probably priced twice as much as mine. Don't I deserve this? Am I not worth it? Cadillac ads suggest that a lease twice this much is a bargain.

It's a wrong question, at least in my spiritual fragility. I can't possibly ask it without
meaning it in the sense, "compared with everyone else," and most of the saints warn
against such comparisons. You can't compare your worth with anyone else's without
having drawn some conclusions about their worth. And that's forbidden and warned
against in Scripture and the writings of most holy people (see Oswald Chambers'
excerpts running today and tomorrow in the Inspirations corner, for starters).

"I'm worth it," the L'Oreal shampoo ads used to say; maybe they still do. The
catch phrase may be as spiritually threatening as softcore pornography. It gets those
who hear it thinking along similar lines. Yes, this shampoo is on the high end of the
price scale, but I'm.... Yes, I could treat myself to a Hershey bar, but I'm worth
See's chocolates (here in California), or Fannie Farmer's (in the midwest), or Russell
Stover's in Blacklick Valley. This is not to say it's wrong to appreciate quality; that's beside the point.

Psychologists widely say a low sense of self-worth is a root of many personality
disorders or relational dysfunctions. But the consensus of the saints runs in the opposite direction (note Chambers' quoting of Augustine if you aren't confident in Chambers' credentials). I think both of them would say you were worth the humbling of God to become man in the manger, to suffer death for the cure for my soul-sickness, emptying himself to fill me. But also if I'm going to get His crown in the life to come, I first have to bear my own cross(es) in the life at hand.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

I'm a senior citizen (one of a series)

I'm the life of the party, even when it lasts until 8 p.m.
I'm very good at opening childproof caps with a hammer.
I'm usually interested in going home before I get to where I am going.
I'm good on a trip for at least an hour without my aspirin, beano, or antacid.
I'm the first one to find the bathroom wherever I go.

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Advent thought for the day

Beware of "the cares of this world..." (Mark 4:19). They are the very things that produce the wrong attitudes in our souls. It is incredible what enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention away from God. Refuse to be swamped by "the cares of this world."

Another thing that distracts us is our passion for vindication. St. Augustine prayed, "O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself." Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul's faith in God. Don't say, "I must explain myself," or, "I must get people to understand." Our Lord never explained anything - He left the misunderstandings or misconceptions of others to correct themselves.

—Oswald Chambers
Sent by Judy Martin

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