We stood in the hallway outside the third grade classroom door afraid to speak to each other, waiting for what felt like an eternity. Behind that closed door, the future of our stage careers was being determined by a room full of 9 year olds and the enormity of the moment had rendered us all silent. Or perhaps we just hoped that if we didn’t talk, somehow we would manage to hear a snippet of what was happening inside.
Only 5 minutes earlier, I had been sitting at my desk when my teacher announced that our class would be putting on a production of ‘Mother Goose’. She asked that all those who would be interested in playing the lead part raise their hands. I can’t say what exactly possessed me at that moment, but before I realized what was happening my hand shot up along with those of three others around the room. All eyes turned in my direction and I instantly regretted my implusiveness. We were told to go wait out in the hallway so that the class could vote for the winner without us seeing who voted for whom and thereby avoiding any hurt feelings.
As I stood there waiting, I looked around me at the other girls and wondered how I had gotten myself into this situation. Who was I kidding? I was the new girl, the one without very many friends. The one who simply wanted to fit in and be liked. I was fully aware of how high the odds were stacked against me. Suddenly, we saw the door handle beginning to turn and we knew that this was a defining moment. Only, we would have to wait a bit longer. We were ushered back inside and instructed to take our seats before the big announcement was made. I lowered my head and closed my eyes, wishing I could turn back time and not raise my hand. My teacher began by saying that no matter who won the lead part there would be roles for everyone in the production and then I heard these words, “But the winner of the lead role in our class play this year as voted on by the majority of the class is….Vanessa!” What? Did she really just say my name? Did the class really vote for me? I couldn’t believe my ears and yet all of the faces turned my direction confirmed that it was true. They had voted for me. Me! The newest girl in the class. Not the most popular girl or the one with the best clothes. Me! They had deemed me worthy of the lead part. And as I sat there basking in that moment, I determined to do everything in my power to live up to their expectations.
Weeks later, the big day arrived and as my mom still tells the story to this day, she and my dad had absolutely no idea when they sat down in the auditorium for my big debut, the sheer volume of lines that I had memorized. And, not only had I memorized my own lines, but also those of every single part in the entire play. I was at the ready to help my classmates if they needed a cue and there had never been a Mother Goose so well prepared. What I wasn’t able to express at 9 years old but felt so deeply in my soul was that the class had taken a risk on me.
And I had made it worth it to them.
The need to feel of worth is one that is so deeply embedded in our souls, isn’t it? But it’s a need that we often don’t quite know how to express. We easily confuse our longing for love or our longing for happiness with the longing to know that we are worthy when they are, in fact, very different things. One of my favorite Christmas songs is ‘O Holy Night’ and while each word, each lyric is as familiar to me as the back of my hand, there is one line that somehow, until recently, I managed to never really pay much attention to. It says, “Long lay the world, in sin and error pining till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”
Think about that for a moment. Our souls are longing to feel their worth. Prior to the arrival of the infant King in Bethlehem, the world waited, pined, engulfed in their sin and their error. And it was only through His birth, death and resurrection that our souls would experience their true value, their full worth. Titus 3:4-7 says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
The world tells us that our worth is based entirely on the external, on what can be seen. We’re not measured simply by our existence but rather by what we can offer. But, thousands of years ago, when our Savior was born, we were told something very different. Before he walked among us. Before he performed miracles. Before he challenged the leaders of the day. Before he was betrayed. Before he was sacrificed. Before he rose from the dead. Before all else, he simply appeared. And it was through his lowly, humble, anything but royal appearance that our souls were given the opportunity to experience the fullness of their worth. It is only through being in his presence that we are able to feel the full magnitude of our value.
Who he is allows us to know, really know, just who we are.
We are beloved.
We are cherished.
We are worth it.
My story today is an excerpt from our book ‘Life in Season‘ and if you enjoyed it, I hope you will consider purchasing a copy where you will find even more inspiration for your heart and ideas for your home!
Thank you so much dear friends for meeting me at the fence today and
MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours!!