The yearning to be appreciated is natural -- as natural as the yearning for health or security. And it has its roots in an even deeper desire: to discover true selfhood, man's priceless identity as God's child.
Feeling unable to live the qualities people appreciate may cause us to suffer a certain emptiness. Yet this stems not so much from our own shortcomings as from a failure to identify ourselves correctly. Christian Science shows who we really are: not material, but the offspring of the very source of all good -- God, Spirit.
Spirit is immortal, and the qualities of goodness that flow from God to man are genuine and eternal. Matter, on the other hand, is mortal, a temporary, false sense of bustance that can't be relied on to furnish anything lasting or good. Mary Baker Eddy n1 writes: "The realm of the real is Spirit. The unlikeness of Spirit is matter, and the opposite of the real is not divine, -- it is a human concept." And she continues, "Nothing we can say or believe regarding matter is immortal, for matter is temporal and is therefore a mortal phenomenon, a human concept, sometimes beautiful, always erroneous." n2
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 277;
Theories of heredity and psychology, stemming from the belief that man and his character, thoughts, and feelings come from matter, can only echo the erroneous and unreal. Material theories can give us no grasp on the genuine nature of man. Real good comes into our lives and shines through our characters as we discern and begin to manifest the spiritual, immortal nature of our being -- our unity with God as His expression.
Whatever we may think of ourselves materially, we have never actually been anything but what God knows man to be: His image, or reflection, always expressing the divine nature. And the image of God is anything but stale or self-centered. Man is the forever full and fresh manifestation of Life, Love, Mind, and Soul (four synonymous names for God). Man includes all the qualities of Life: vitality, vigor, activity, freshness, and so on. He includes the affection and beauty of Love, the intelligence, perception, and strength of Mind , the variety and fullness of Soul. The list is endless.
As we express more and more of God's goodness, we are bringing to light what already has the stamp of His approval. In reality man does express all good -- now. We can begin to prove this, to discover our true, spiritual goodness. If we doubt our ability to do so, we can turn to the Bible for the reassurance that God will help us. Speaking of Him, Deuteronomy says, "He will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee." n3 The multiplication of good in our lives and characters comes through the power of God. Our task is to give up material misconceptions and accept spiritual reality. Christ Jesus exemplified and taught real manhood and clearly proved that this reality is demonstrable -- that you and I can be "perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." n 4
n3 Deuteronomy 7:13;
n4 Matthew 5:48.
Put simply, we could say that to be appreciated we first need to appreciate -- understand -- ourselves as God's perfect expression. This doesn't mean being egotistic or self-righteous. Rather, it involves being humbly aware of the divine nature and striving to bring our lives more into accord with it. As we do, we'll be happier and more at peace. We'll appreciate ourselves, and perceptive people will value us and our work. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:30, 31