The ultimate purpose of human life is to be fulfilled at the resurrection. That does not mean God neglects the present physical life. The fulfillment, abundance, happiness, and success of this human life are an integral part of God’s plan. The entirety of the book of Proverbs is filled with instruction and exhortations explaining how men, women, and children should act to achieve the maximum success in their lives. God truly wants all of us to prosper. He wants everyone to achieve in all areas of life whether it be socially, economically, intellectually, family, or personal. So why then do we compare ourselves with others and allow a feeling of inferiority to overtake us?
When I was a young mother, I became very involved in volunteer work at my children’s schools. In addition to volunteering for the school, I did community service. Throughout the years I have had the privilege to meet and work with some exceptional people. These individuals are mothers, entrepreneurs, authors, attorneys, judges, teachers, administrators, dental hygienists, and computer whizzes. Many of them not only held undergraduate degrees but also Master and Doctorate degrees. Working on projects with them allowed for opportunities to get to know one another better. I would always cringe when someone asked me about my education or what my career was. Listening to all they did made me feel extremely inadequate. I had the silly notion that because I did not have a college degree or fabulous career, I was a nobody and served no real purpose in life. I was sure my peers thought being a wife and mother was not impressive work, because anyone can do that. After all, I didn’t bring home a paycheck.
This attitude has since changed. While today, I do bring home a paycheck; I now realize the most satisfying work and the greatest position I have ever held is being a wife and mother. I have been married for 27 years and God blessed us with two wonderful children. The volunteer work I have done over the years and do today allows me to exercise my talents while fulfilling a need.
God does not create unless He has a purpose in mind. God places value on everyone’s life and our self-worth is grounded in that value. God created us only a little lower than the angels. “For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5). God has committed a tremendous amount of trust in all of mankind. Any honor that we hold is only a reflection of the greater glory of God. We, humanity, bear the stamp of our Creator because we are in His image (Genesis 1:26:27).
I was guilty of putting a low value on myself because I based it on what my peers thought of me. Our value is what God estimates our worth at and He estimates it high. God cares about sparrows, He knows how many hairs are on our head and He values each and everyone of us above the sparrow (Luke 12:6-7). Peers and friends evaluate us according to how we look, our achievements, degrees and possessions. To criticize ones self for lacking physical beauty, lack of a degree and/or lack of possessions is wrong. Have you ever said to your parent, “I am ugly or dumb?” If you have, what was the first thing your parent responded to you with? They were probably a little bit angry with you and set you straight about how you are not ugly or dumb. Just as a parent doesn’t like to hear his child denigrate himself or herself, neither does God like hearing us malign ourselves. When we belittle ourselves, we belittle God.
We have been made in the image of God, which means we share His characteristics. We have been given the ability to reflect God’s character through our actions of showing love, kindness, patience, faith and forgiveness. We need to realize that secular education; the establishment of a career and subsequent professional development are all vital keys for building a successful life. But, it all must be done by exemplifying the characteristics of God. If it is not, the success is empty.
The opportunity to become professionally accomplished and prosperous by the world’s traditional standards, to gain a good reputation in one’s field, a position of responsibility, social recognition, and financial rewards are not only good but desirable, as long as God and His laws always come first.
The next time you discount or think you have a reason to malign yourself, remind yourself of Whose image you are created in. Do not neglect or belittle yourself, rather give praise and glory to your Creator for all He has given you to accomplish your dreams.