Recently, I’ve come to realization that I’ve been finding my worth, my value as a person, in the wrong things. I met with my spiritual director last week and we were discussing my relationship with the community I am discerning with, after them asking me to wait a year to enter. I was explaining my feelings and after I finished, my spiritual director pointed out that he sensed part of why I was struggling so much with the decision is because I felt like they were telling me I wasn’t good enough to be a part of their community. When he said those words my heart dropped because he was so totally right. I was hurt so completely by the sisters telling me I needed to wait a year to enter because I felt like it was a personal attack. I had been trying so hard to impress them and to be the perfect fit that I got lost in that and so when they told me I had some things to work on I felt completely crushed.
Since this conversation with my spiritual director, I’ve been reflecting a lot on where I’ve been finding my worth. I’ve always known that I’m a people pleaser. I like for people to like me. That in itself isn’t bad, but when it causes a lot of stress and leads to negative thoughts about myself unless I’m praised it’s an issue. I’ve become aware of the fact that I’ve been weighing my worth on what other people think of me.
Later on in our conversation last week, my spiritual director challenged me to pray about not feeling good enough. He told me that in the eyes of the Lord, I am good enough, I am loved just as I am. In further reflection, I’ve been realizing that his words are true. The Lord loves me just for me. He would have suffered and died if I were the only person on Earth. That’s how deeply He loves me. Even knowing this, I can get wrapped up in my sins and mistakes, the way I fail Him. I know even with this realization and reminder of the incredible love of our Lord, I will still doubt how He can truly love me just as I am, but what I’m forgetting when I choose to doubt is His mercy.
St. Therese is one of my favorite saints. She explains God’s mercy to a priest she corresponded with in her last couple years by using a story about two children: They both break some rules. Their father comes to punish them. One of the children runs away afraid, knowing he deserves to be punished. The other child throws himself into his father’s arms, apologizes, tells him that he loves him, and promises to be good from now on. Then the child asks his father to punish him with a kiss. St. Therese says, “I doubt that the heart of the happy father will be able to resist the childlike confidence of his son…he’s well aware that the child will often fall back but he’s always ready to forgive him, provided the boy always grasps his heart.” [quote from Maurice and Therese by Patrick Ahern)
This story, and all of St. Therese’s theology, points to the hugeness of God’s mercy. She encourages us to run into the Father’s arms when we fall. She is a huge advocate for complete and total confidence in the Lord always. After reading so much of her words this last week and placing it next to my reflections on my worth, I’m realizing that I have to find my identity solely in the Lord. I must place my confidence and worth completely in Him. By doing so, I won’t be able to be swayed by anyone or anything else because I am good enough in Christ.