Never take something away from yourself without replacing it with something satisfying. ~ Evelyn Thompson
When there are people depending on us, whether it’s our kids or the team at work or a significant other, we feel like heroes when we live up to, or even sometimes exceed, their expectations. Again and again I’ve had women tell me how much value they feel they have, how worthy they feel, when they’re taking care of the people in their lives, when they’re keeping all the balls in the air that keep life moving for their families or their jobs or both. Particularly for women, the voices around us reinforce an understanding that our purpose, our reason to be here on this earth, is to tend to others, to be the nurturers, to be the do-ers.
To contemplate giving up the things that make you feel valuable and purposeful is frightening.
You’d think it would feel freeing to understand that our value isn’t dependent on our ability to tend to everyone else. Funny how it doesn’t work out that way. When you’ve spent a lifetime deriving your value from what you do, rather than who you are, beginning to change that understanding can leave you feeling exposed and a little anxious.
To change how we assess our own value and purpose is hard work.
Changing these core beliefs takes time, and happens only as the result of consciously choosing to replace our existing ideas with a new understanding of our intrinsic worth as being someone who bears the image of our Creator. Everything starts with this. As long as I see my worth as the result of what I can do, living within the margins is incredibly difficult. When I believe that the more I do then the more valuable I am, why would I ever choose to place limits on what I do?
This is Day 31 of 31 Days of Soul Tending and the focus is living within the margins. The quote today is a paraphrase of something my mentor and good friend, Evelyn Thompson, taught me. When you choose for the good by letting go of the unhealthy, replace it with something that rewards you and tends your soul. My encouragement for you today is to take a look at where you might be misunderstanding your value as being the result of what you do, and begin the process of replacing that idea with the knowledge that you have worth because you carry the image of God.
Today is the last post in my month-long series on Soul Tending. In the spirit of living within the margins, I’m taking next week off. I won’t be writing here. Instead I’ll be spending some time absorbing my experiences over this past month. Look for a post the following week about what I’ve learned, and what I’m planning next.
The previous post in this series is Transfixed by beauty