Now let the weeping cease; let no one mourn again. For the love of God will bring you peace. There is no end. — Sophocles
I don’t know about most people, but I’ve spent the majority of my life not feeling worthy of much. If I wanted to get really deep, I’m sure I could go back and come up with a myriad of psycho-babble reasons which would probably produce great sound bites but not really resolve these feelings of unworthiness. The problem with feeling unworthy is that one ends up acting out in ways that are self-destructive. If you are unworthy of loving even yourself, then it really doesn’t matter what you do or get involved with, no matter how harmful. Who cares anyway, right?
Whitney Houston said it best when she sang, “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all!” Since most of us have never really learned to love ourselves as we should, we are left with voids that need to be filled. In my own life, I sought to fill those voids with some pretty poor substitutes, abusing both drugs and sex. Unfortunately, as with any knock-off substitute, I was left feeling empty and even more unworthy. C.S. Lewis said that “Joy is not a substitute for sex; sex is very often a substitute for joy.” Whatever it is that we use to fill these voids, I would bet that it all springs from the myth that we are not worthy of real love, true joy or lasting peace.
I think that Sophocles was right when he said that God’s love brings peace and it doesn’t end. I would take it a step further and say that God’s love brings not just peace but also joy and love. And once we’ve tapped into that love that God offers to us so generously, we can begin to love ourselves and there won’t be a need for cheap substitutes. His love makes us worthy!
Recently I was flipping through a book of poems and came across one by Peter McWilliams that just knocked my socks off.
I am worthy.
I am worthy of my life and
all the good that is in it.
I am worthy of my friends
and their friendships.
I am worthy of spacious skies, amber waves
of grain and purple mountain majesties
above the fruited plain. (I am worthy, too,
of the fruited plain.)
I am worthy of a degree of happiness
that could only be referred to as “sinful”
in less enlightened times.
I am worthy of creativity,
sensitivity and appreciation.
I am worthy of peace of mind, peace on Earth,
peace in the valley and a piece of the action.
I am worthy of God’s presence in my life.
I am worthy of my love.
In my life, when things get a little bit topsy-turvy, it’s easy for me to fall back on that learned behavior of feeling inferior and unworthy. It’s at times like these that I remember that because of God’s love I am worthy of all good things! I’m not a second class citizen; I’m worthy!