I am Worthy (and so are you!)

This past weekend, our friends Danielle and Mariah of The Habit Project, hosted a morning devoted to the subject of worthiness. I love that these lovely souls have a desire to go deep and create a place where others can feel supported and encouraged.

Friends, the topic of self-worth deserves some attention. How many of our actions or reactions are, at the core, a reflection of how we view ourselves? I’ll just go right ahead and say that for me, much of how I interact could be directly correlated with how I am feeling about me.  Sounds very “self” focused, doesn’t it? Ugggg. When I’m struggling with feeling down on myself, the focus seems to be exponentially on “self”…and conversely, when I am able to get back on the truth track, the more free I am to look outwards and give to others. I don’t know about you, but the latter of those is so where I want to hang my hat.

The worthiness event really gave me the opportunity to reflect on what being worthy means to me and to dig deep as to where I’m honestly at.  A list of questions helped prompt some good reflection…they also served to remind myself of some truths that had maybe faded a bit from my memory.

These truths are based on my faith. I have known from a very young age that God considers us to be of huge value. The disconnect has been in allowing others opinions of me (true or not) to chip away at that truth. The ups and downs were unpredictable: if someone praised me or thanked me, I could give myself a pat on the back and feel that because I contributed, I had value. On the other hand, if I had to say no to someone or if it was implied that I had either let down or disappointed them, I would beat myself up and try desperately to undo their feelings.

Feeling worthy is an area that will continue to require some work for the long haul.  But I continually keep coming back to the simple truth that God loves and values me…and when I derail, I just make my way back again and again. I thought I would share some tidbits that have had an impact on me. I hope you will be encouraged by it…because we are ALL worthy.

Here are some of the questions that we were given to help us reflect on our self-worth:

What does being worthy mean to you? Knowing that I am valuable…not based on merit, but simply because I have been wonderfully and purposefully created.

How do you find self/love? I’m a pretty visual person so here is a picture that reminds me of what I know to be true: My wedding ring is one of my most treasured possessions. It has nothing to do with a monetary value, but rather because the giver (my hubby, in this case) was extremely intentional in the ring’s creation. He was picky about the design….and cared about the details. He created it out of LOVE. That is why it holds so much value to me. It is a symbol of love.  With that picture in mind, I understand that I am just like the wedding ring…. created by my Heavenly Father. Designed with intention and purpose and with so much love.  Just like the ring that sits on my finger and does essentially nothing…I, too, don’t have to do anything. My value in based in being created by HIM. Is this freedom or what?

What practices/exercise/activities do you incorporate to help you feel your best? Taking care of myself is something that I place priority on. Rather than this being all about “self”, it’s more about that visual above. Just as I take care of my wedding ring and want to keep it in good condition, the same could be said about taking care of myself. Operating on a full tank allows me to be in a position to be more active with my family, friends, relationships and life. There are all sorts of forms that “care” can take.

Exercise is huge….partly because it’s a social outlet but also because the physical/emotional benefits can’t be denied.  Right now, I’m covering a bunch of bases and doing a host of different things…I’m the worst with trying to just stick to one thing! Barre, pilates and yoga help me with so many different things: flexibility, posture, working out the “creaks” as well as with my mind. I often tell my family that I’m a nicer person after yoga lol! I also enjoy taking spin class. It’s super challenging but when I meet a new personal goal in class there is an awesome feeling of  “I did this!”.

Being social is so healthy too. I am a social being and love being in the presence of friends and family (I sure hope they feel that way too hah!). Being with those who know and love you is a safe place to be.  Making time for friendship and fun is good for the soul.

Allow time by myself. As social as I am, I have learned that some solitude is also important in my day. Whether it’s a walk by myself or reading before bed or even going for a drive. This time is decompression, time to pray or reflect and I sense that I operate better with it. Walking and listening to worship music is one of my favourite things to do…and it’s not unusual for Pam to see me making my way around the farm crying! Lol…why does everything make me cry??

My encouragement to you is to practice doing the things that fill the “tank” and make you feel content with you. Practice it so that you are routine in doing these things..that they are part of your life.

What positive habits have you incorporated to boost your self-esteem?  I had coffee with a friend a number of months ago and she passed along a nugget of a great habit! Start your day speaking positive words OUT LOUD.  There is something incredibly powerful about the spoken word. I started beginning my day reciting audibly all of the things that I was grateful for in terms of my body. “I am grateful that I am able to take spin class…I might not be the quickest or fittest but I am able to do this class!” or ” I am so grateful that my body allows me to keep up with my kids” or “I am so thankful that I can carry my grocery bags and load them in my car because I am strong and healthy!”  or “Thank you, God, for my health!” It was a couple of weeks after beginning this new habit that I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I obsessed about my lack of a thigh gap. Whoah. Cool. Re-training the brain!

How do you begin to surround yourself with inspiration and people that lift you up? This might just be two-fold. First of all, uplifting people attract uplifting people. So, if I can be a friend who is encouraging and positive then I’m convinced that those types of people will be in my life. Second, when I went through breast cancer I became very hyper-sensitive to negative, hopeless or worst case scenario comments. I couldn’t share space with it. So, with the help of some key people who were ok with being the “bad guys”, we established some boundaries with those that might lean towards the Negative Nancy category. I needed to remain positive and I needed to be surrounded by the same. Cancer or not, being intentional about who you surround yourself is so worth it.

How do you eliminate guilt and shame from our thoughts and beliefs? It all starts with a thought, right? Another visual that I use was given to me by a counsellor. The mountain/snowball picture.  Picture a snowball at the top of a mountain. As it starts rolling down the mountain side it gains both speed and size. Left unchecked that snowball will end up huge and destructive and will take out everything in its way. The same goes with our thoughts. What we have the power to do is to take a stake and drive it into the side of the mountain and stop the snowball/thought in its tracks. It’s a choice to do it and not always easy. But here again, it’s all about practice!

I also find that when I have these thoughts, sharing them with my husband or a close friend is so helpful. Their perspective can be pivotal in deflating these negative thoughts. They can help remind me to drive that stake into the mountain. Scott and Pam know this word picture with me and often remind me of it.

What is a favourite song that has supported and encouraged you during the challenging times? I’ve been listening to Lauren Daigle “You Say” on repeat…her voice is so beautiful and the words just remind me that humanly speaking we will often feel like we aren’t enough. BUT we have a God who loves us and reminds us that our worth is found in Him. We are valued and loved and He wants us to find that freedom.

How do you measure your worth? When I’m struggling, I start to look at what I’ve done and then place a value on it. The inclination to slip back into that unhealthy measuring system is often hard to resist.  But, when I come back to truth I know that my worth doesn’t need to be measured. It just is! I am worthy…and so are you. There’s not a thing we have to “do” to earn it.

Psalm 139:13-15 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Thanks for reading this book lol! I guess I had a lot to say. If nothing else, let this be a huge bear hug to you. There is so much freedom in not having to “do”! Wishing you all a wonderful weekend xo Laurel

Ps here are some details: Necklace #lovenotes | Fuzzy Cardigan, avail online and in-store Sept 20th | Beaded bracelets (I ordered mine with a cross charm) | The Gospels Set – coffee table books | Heart Prayer Beads | Hand towel |