I have been trying to dive deeper into knowing who I am and who I am in Christ. In my pursuit of greater understanding, I discovered the book The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery by David G. Benner, who is a well-known psychologist and author.
A quote from Benner’s book that caught my attention included, “Being yourself would not make any spiritual sense if YOUR uniqueness were not of IMMENSE value to God.” As I continued to read, I learned that to know myself deeply was to know God, and to know God deeply was to know myself; and without the intertwining of these actions, we would be vulnerable. I also learned that it wasn’t simply knowing of, or believing in God, but rather it was experiencing God that was the key to self-discovery.
As I reflected on Benner’s words, and how they applied to my self-discovery, I was struck with a galvanizing example of my own life demonstrating that my uniqueness was derived from God, and that it positioned me to be of immense value to God. I am an expert on forgiveness. Not because I studied it academically; although that is true. I am an expert because I have done the gritty work necessary to offer forgiveness to those that abused me as a child; and I have been the recipient of undeserved forgiveness from those that I have sinned against.
With the joining of these life-changing experiences with my academic research, I am unique in that I now write about, facilitate seminars on, and coach others to achieve forgiveness. My uniqueness is derived from God’s amazing grace, and without His examples and guidance, I fear that I would still be a victim of abuse, consumed with hatred and fear. My uniqueness is derived from God’s delivery of forgiveness to the world in the form of Christ, where my sins do not irrevocably condemn me. And, my uniqueness contributes immense value to my readers, my students, and those that I was able to help.
I also know that I am of immense value to God. I know God has forgiven me when I am made mistakes in my life. I know God loves me. I have felt God’s love for me in the quiet moments with Him. I have that same love and forgiveness for my children, husband, close family and friends. As a matter of fact, I love so deeply that my heart feels like it could explode with joy.
We all have our own experiences of love, forgiveness, loss, pain, and indescribable joy because of our unique life-experiences, skills, and aptitude. We each have unique families, education, careers, and friends that record the stories of what makes us who we are.
I must confess knowing that I am valuable isn’t easy. It’s easy to see all my mistakes, my weaknesses, and let my insecurities cripple me. I am not alone feeling this way, but God make clear in His words that as children of God we are immensely valuable. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness” (Jeremiah 31:3). The Lord “fearfully and wonderfully made” us in His image and calls us His, regardless of our works, sins, thoughts, or feelings. He simply asks us to believe in His love for us and have faith in Him alone.