Recognizing my own worth has never been easy for me, and I guarantee I’m not alone in the struggle. Why is this such a difficult battle for women? We learn in our homes and at Church from a very young age that we are children of God. We are taught the Plan of Salvation. Our Young Women study Divine Nature and Individual Worth. And, yet, strong self-esteem eludes many women and girls. Why?
I think we can lay the vast majority of the blame right at Satan’s feet. He wants to render us ineffective in our eternal mission and this is a winning strategy. If he can succeed in making us question our individual worth, then we are likely to become shy wallflowers in the dance of mortality. I know that in my own life, this is probably the single most prominent way that Satan tries to throw me off my game. I am constantly tempted to think that I’m not good enough for a particular task, or that someone is always better or more talented than I. And herein lies the problem – so many of us base our worth on what the world thinks is important. We rate ourselves in various categories like financial success, beauty, talents, or how exciting our life is compared to what we see from others on social media.
None of that is relevant. None of that determines our worth. It only serves as a distraction from what we should be focused on, which is how our Heavenly Father sees us.
Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President, addressed the topic of our individual worth in her address at the recent General Women’s Session. She had this to say about recognizing who we are: “While it is often easier to be spiritually passive than it is to put forth the spiritual effort to remember and embrace our divine identity, we cannot afford that indulgence in these latter days.”
It does take effort to know and understand our divine nature and identity. After all, as Sister Jones went on to say, “Satan is the father of all lies, especially when it comes to misrepresentations about our own divine nature and purpose.” Overcoming his craftiness and negative influence takes time and energy but it is worth the effort.
Once we know and embrace our role as daughters of God, it will lead us to action. We will understand that Heavenly Father knew us before we came to this earth and He sent us here at this time for a specific purpose. He needs us to know that we have a job to do in building the Kingdom of God in the latter days. We have a part to play in preparing the world for the Second Coming of the Savior. We have so much to do, and it doesn’t matter how we see ourselves. It doesn’t matter if we can’t think of a single talent we have to contribute to the effort. All the Father needs is a willing heart ready to serve and He will enlarge our capacity beyond anything we thought we were capable of. We are partners with the God of Heaven in fulfilling an eternal mission. That is why we cannot be spiritually passive. We are needed right now and embracing our divine identity will keep us focused and devoted to the Father’s work.
Sister Jones taught: “If the love we feel for the Savior and what He did for us is greater than the energy we give to weaknesses, self-doubts or bad habits, then He will help us overcome the things which cause suffering in our lives. He saves us from ourselves.” As with everything in life, we have a choice to make. If we focus on the Savior and draw near unto Him, then He will help us overcome all things. However, if we focus on doubting ourselves and our divine worth, we will slowly inch away from Him and His ability to save. I love Sister Jones’ counsel to cling to the Savior, for clinging to Him and the enabling power of the Atonement is the only way to reach our full divine potential. We simply can’t do it without Him.
Sister Jones made this promise in her address: “Truly knowing that you are a daughter of God will affect every aspect of your life and guide you in the service you render each day.” I can think of no greater gift than to be guided each day as I strive to serve my Father in Heaven and do His will. Every aspect of our lives will be better if we only remember who we are and who we are trying to become, and then go to work to achieve our divine potential.