On the “third day of Lent” the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd’s list of forty things to give up was to let go of “feelings of unworthiness.” Good grief! Isn’t that like a leopard changing it spots? Or maybe it is more like thinking tomorrow I will take care of the economy and find a way to solve all the world’s problems.
Sure, anyone can give up feelings of unworthiness, right after breakfast! It should be easy, and yet, who is not plagued with feelings that they are “not enough.” Not good enough, or smart enough, or talented enough or old enough or young enough, we are just not enough.
I find it interesting that the images I could find of “feeling unworthy” were 90% women. Now, I do not for a minute believe that men do not feel unworthy, but certainly women struggle with those feelings. In fact our culture thrives on selling us products to make us better. We sold products because we are “too fat, too skinny, too ugly, too tall, too short, too klutzy, or not talented enough.” And often our faith traditions thrive on telling us how “unworthy” we are.
In the Christian tradition, Lent is a time of “confession” and “penitence” where believers are invited to look at their own unworthiness. And yet, it is also a time to see in Jesus the amazing love and grace of God. Jesus did not shout at the people he was teaching, instead to the least, the lost and the lonely he shared God’s love. God like a shepherd with a lost sheep will search until that sheep is found or the woman with a lost coin, not content until she finds it. It is not that we are perfect, it is that we are good enough that God is not content until we are found and living in the midst of that Divine love and grace.
So I should give up any sense that I am not “enough.” I, we are unique and unrepeatable gifts from God. We are created and called for a purpose and loved deeply by God.
So today, I will give up those feelings of unworthiness so that I might live into who God has created me to be. I will quiet the voices who say I am not enough and listen instead to that still small voice who reminds I am loved more profoundly than I can imagine. With that love I am graced to serve.