"To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved."
Ephesians 1:6, King James Version
"Acceptance" - Willingly received. Approved.
"Learning to live with what you're born with is the process.
The making of a life."
Do I accept that I am a person of infinite value?
"Acceptance of one's life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary it means accepting it as it comes … To accept is to say yes to life in its entirety."
Self-acceptance. What does the word mean to you? Do you shudder when you think about what it means to accept yourself - just as you are? If there are little places in your life that you don't like, do you find yourself defining who you are by what's broken rather than what's beautiful.
Let's say you were the woman at the well and Jesus just told you the man you were living with wasn't your husband - how would your self-worth meter have moved? Up or down?
Today in our continuing study of the word "acceptance," we will look at what it means to accept ourselves, and why we should, often times, place a much higher value on ourselves than we do. Let me add, I'm not referring to arrogant conceit - I'm talking about the way we pick ourselves apart - feeling as though we don't measure up to the mark - and the result is we find ourselves languishing in the valley of despondency
Rather than viewing ourselves from a distorted angle let's take a look through God's eyes. We will see what He sees when He looks at us. We will find out what He tells us about the value He finds in us and the acceptance He gives to us. Hopefully, as you begin to better understand your worth to God, you will come to accept your personal worth. For if, as Jesus instructed us in Matthew 19:19, "You should love your neighbor as you do yourself," it is imperative we value ourselves or else we will not treat others as God wants us to.
I'd like to share five reasons why I am a person of value to God.
Reason #1: God had me in mind from the beginning. Ephesians 1:5 tells us that God "planned for us in love" in accordance with His intent. I am part of His plan from the beginning - no matter how my life started - I am part of His ultimate design! WOW! We could stop right there for this fact alone is enough to send our self-worth straight up!
Reason #2: Not only was I part of God's plan, then He took the time to create me. The Psalmist David says, "You did form my inward parts: You did knit me together in my mother's womb" (Psalm 139:13, The Amplified Bible). You didn't just happen. You weren't an accident. God created you. As Isaiah wrote, "Bring back my sons and daughters … everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, whom I have made" (Isaiah 43:6, 7, The Amplified Bible).
Reason #3: God says I am His child. I belong to Him - to the Creator of the universe! "See what an incredible quality of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we are named and called and counted the children of God! And, so we are!" (John 3:1, The Amplified Bible). No question about it. No wondering who my Father is. God has claimed me. My birthright belongs to the King of the universe.
Reason #4: God has a plan for my life. He values me enough to chart out a blessing-filled path for me. "For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says, the Lord, thoughts and plans for peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome" (Jeremiah 29:11, The Amplified Bible).
Reason #5: My Heavenly Father will never stop loving me. His love for me lasts forever - and that's a long, long time. "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you" (Jeremiah 31:3, The Amplified Bible).
I don't know about you, but God's five reminders of my value in His eyes - help me improve my vision of the worth of my life - a worth given to me, not by what I can do or be, but by what God has done and is doing. That's enough to make each of us love ourselves a whole lot! And not only to feel accepted by God, but also accepted by ourselves!
"Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: "You are accepted."
Paul Tillich (1886-1965)
"Accept me, O Lord, just as I am,
in my frailty, my inadequacy, my contradictions and my confusions.
Accept me, with all those discordant currents
that pull me in so many directions.
Accept all of this, and help me so to live with what I am,
that what I am may become my way to you."
Based on a prayer made by a novice entering a Benedictine community.
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00.
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