Know Your Value

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious are your thoughts, oh God! How vast is the sum of them.” Psalm 139:16-17

There is so much pressure in the world today to be successful; it overwhelms us.  That pressure and stress have become unbearable for some. You can feel it in the atmosphere.  Sometimes you hear about it in the news because the story is about someone committing suicide and the aftermath.

Our niece is a high school senior.  She has many wonderful qualities: kind, intelligent, athletic and beautiful.  Her grades are perfect, and she has many extracurricular activities.  She wants to be a surgeon someday, so she has to be tough and be able to handle a lot at once.  Over the holidays, I heard her extensive schedule for the next semester, and it floored me.

A few days after seeing her for the holidays, I learned of a popular newscaster who died of a drug overdose.  Even though it was not a suicide, he allegedly used drugs to cope with the stress in his life. Sadly, many people deal with stress through the use of drugs, alcohol, smoking, video games, eating disorders, etc.  The pressure becomes too much to handle.

For some reason, God put our niece heavily on my heart when I heard about this newscaster. I felt like I needed to tell her that she is valuable, I was proud of her,  and no matter what, she would be successful in all she planned to do. I sent her a text. She responded that she needed to hear that.

Whether you are heading into college, getting a job in a career that you want, finding a spouse or even planning a birthday party, they are so many expectations-real and unnecessary.  The competition alone can bring people to their knees. In my daughter, just as a Fourth Grader, I saw the stress of the state testing week make her physically ill. I know she prepared the best she could, so I told her, that I did not care about the outcome of this test as long as you try.  She relaxed and tested at her grade level. I do not need her developing ulcers, worrying about a test score.

In January 2018, there was a suicide of a high school student in South Orange County, CA.  He wrote a letter about his discontent of living a pressure-filled life and trying to attain a perfect grade point average.  He enjoyed playing a sport, not the constant drive to achieve championships. It broke my heart.  He wanted to be a teen and have fun and try his best.  He felt he could not be himself.

Our worth should not be defined by the world, but by God.  God has a unique plan and purpose for each of us. Death and destruction are not a part of His purpose for us.  No matter how difficult life gets, God wants us to finish well. Let us relax the unrealistic pressure put on ourselves by the world.  Pursue God and seek His will. If we fail, then it will not be devastating. God loves us, and we are all valuable and worthy.

Lesson Learned: My value and worth are in the Lord, not the world.  In knowing that then I will be free.

Worry Accomplished Nothing

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

 

Worrying is not of God.  Yet, worrying is my constant companion.  Somehow, it brings me comfort. I believe that if I worry, bad situations will not catch me off guard and I am prepared in some way.

 

My only child, my daughter, recently went on her 5th grade Science Camp Trip.  I worried about this trip since she was in Kindergarten, approximately 5 years of worrying.  The worrying was not a daily occurrence. But some worrisome thoughts popped into my head every so often.

 

Last year, when my daughter was in 4th grade, the parents began to talk about fundraising for the Science Camp.  I began to collect information about the camp, with my thousands of questions to the teachers. Even with the information, I was negative about the camp.  I was subconsciously sabotaging any desire my daughter had of going to the camp. My husband, who knows me quite well, said, “your worry is ruining a great opportunity for our daughter, it will be great for her, and she will go!”  Not only was my husband right (don’t let him know that he was right…) but I did not believe that God would protect her. I had no trust in God.

 

My worry and fears stemmed from when I went to Science Camp in 6th grade and it was a terrible experience.  We had to take a boat to Catalina Island, about 26 miles from the Southern California Coast to camp. It poured rain the entire trip, the food was terrible, and I witnessed a classmate vomit about 10 times during that weekend.  It was the worst, but I survived. I knew I could not let that experience be a factor for my child. I decided to be positive about the trip, prepare her in every way: clothing for every type of weather, giving her anti-motion sick meds, write her notes, and pray.

 

The day arrived for the trip.  All the students attending were healthy and ready to go.  The parents watched their kids board the bus. When the bus engine turned on, I felt like I could not breathe. Then, I noticed one of the teachers come off the bus and get into her own car.  At that moment, I realized the teachers planned for every scenario, good and bad. Somehow, I relaxed and finally released the worry and trusted that everything would be fine.

 

The five days went by quickly and we were ready to have our children back home safe.  We received pictures every day, from the teachers, which I believed helped me out a lot.  The bus arrived and my daughter came off the bus. She came running over to me and gave me the biggest hug, I didn’t want to let go of her.  I asked her if she was glad that she went camping and she said, “Yes! It was awesome and I will tell the 4th graders not to miss the chance to go!”  Everything I was afraid of happening; motion sickness, homesickness, physical sickness or hurt, none of it came to pass.

 

Most of the time, the things we fear or worry about never happen.  My focus is usually on the bad, not the good. This made me realize how much better things can be when you trust the Lord and look forward to the adventure that lies ahead.

 

Lesson Learned:  Focus on the positive, trust the Lord, and know I am capable of adjusting to any scenario.

 

Prayer: “Dear Heavenly Father, forgive for not trusting you in all areas of my life.  I ask for guidance and wisdom. Help me adjust when situations change and not to lose my composure.  Thank you for your protection and provision. Restore my mind from negative thoughts. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”