While Lent brings us the message that we are dust and to dust we shall return, it is not intended to be forty days of minimizing our worth. Yes, it is a time of confession and repentance. But it is not a time for self-denigration.
Why do we often have trouble honoring ourselves? Why do we doubt the wisdom that is within us? We have such a tendency to devalue ourselves. To do otherwise, we sometimes believe, is to be arrogant, to be self-centered. But there is more than enough going on around us to bring us down. There are plenty of people who disparage us along the way. The truth is that many of us struggle with our self-image for a variety of reasons.
The messages are many . . . you aren’t smart enough, or attractive enough. You aren’t outgoing enough, or athletic enough. Somehow, from some place very early on in my life, I bought in to the idea that I’m just not good enough.
Gaining maturity, unfortunately, does not erase those early messages. But there is good news. God honors us from the inside out. Created in the image of God, we are good enough! We just need to believe that about ourselves. I love this quote from Bishop Steven Charleston:
Honor yourself for the vision within you. It is both who you are and who you are always becoming. It is the reflection of your soul, the mirror of your deepest faith. It grows and changes, but at its core is an abiding wisdom, an understanding of life that escapes the grasp of words to explain. You have an intuitive spirit, one that sees as only the spirit can see, not limited by time, but beyond the physical, out into the wide reaches of sacred reality. Honor yourself for the vision within you, for no one else sees exactly what you see.