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How do you rate yourself?

SOME years ago I felt trapped by feelings of inferiority and of not being worthy to be loved. I was fond of an individual who I felt liked me. A rude awakening came when I saw him date other women. Marriage was much on my mind and I felt heartbroken. ``Guess I'm just not good enough to make the grade,'' I thought. This lack of feeling worthy pulled me to withdraw from social life. It was a hard struggle to maintain self-respect. Although daily study of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,1 helped me to see myself as something much more than a sad mortal struggling so hard to find happiness, I still felt I was a failure. It was especially hard to see people walk hand in hand, and I tried not to let feelings of envy grip me.

``It's a trap,'' I thought, ``to believe that man can be outside God's benevolent presence and blessings. Now, you have been reading the Bible teaching that God made man in His image.2 How are you applying this truth to your need to gain a true feeling of worth? Are you really accepting this highest sense of wholeness as your birthright, and valuing your true, spiritual identity?'' I must say I really wasn't. Oh, yes, I did believe that in absolute truth I was the image of God. I had no doubt about that. But don't the Scriptures say that ``the Word was made flesh''?3 Doesn't this indicate that the power of the Word must be made practical in human experience? I needed to see the spiritual fact as law to my present experience and understand it to be so. How? That's where prayer comes in.

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Prayer includes listening to God's voice, listening for His healing ideas regarding man's spiritual completeness and worthiness. Prayer enables us to cultivate the spiritual sense of being, which views man as the child of God, reflecting His nature, expressing such qualities as love, intelligence, joy, beauty, purity, strength. These are eternal, indivisible. Qualities are not parceled out to some and not to others. Our true being embodies Godlike qualities.

Our true self, then, is always worthy in God's sight. It's unlimited in scope, complete. A feeling of incompleteness comes from viewing ourselves as limited mortals subject to the highs and lows of esteem that a false, mortal sense of man measures.

There is nothing stable in the moods of mortal thinking. A consistent sense of worth comes from the inside, from feeling loved by the Father. This recognition of our worth as God's child is totally independent of others' approval or dis-approval.

Prayer is the avenue through which we can feel a closeness to God and more readily discern our worth. Deeply felt prayer lifts thought away from self-centeredness to unselfishness, spiritual poise, gentleness, which naturally attract us to good, wholesome associations and attract others to our Christliness.

Christ Jesus' words ``I and my Father are one''4 point to the spiritual reality of everyone's inseparability from God and consequent worth. We prove more and more of our own unity with God as we strive to follow Jesus' example, however modestly, in every thought and action.

Our inherent spiritual sense is always in accord with the truth of being, is always conscious of our worth. True being has nothing to do with macho appeal, social status, fashion fads, body building, sensual attraction. And so these have nothing to do with our worth. What makes each of us important, and indispensable, is our spiritual individuality, our distinct, incomparable expression of the divine nature. As we come to understand this, and prove it, our thought is increasingly lifted above the mortal sense of personality, and we discern our unity with God as His idea, already satisfied, whole, perfect.

We can move in the poise of knowing that we are, in truth, the loved image and likeness of God. This is not to disregard sins and shortcomings but to discover the best way of healing them -- through a realization of who we really are.

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Under the marginal heading ``Divine nature appearing'' is Mrs. Eddy's statement ``The periods of spiritual ascension are the days and seasons of Mind's creation, in which beauty, sublimity, purity, and holiness -- yea, the divine nature -- appear in man and the universe never to disappear.''5 We can see more of this appearing each day as we look to God for an assessment of our worth, and express our God-given nature.

1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2See Genesis 1:27. 3John 1:14. 4John 10:30. 5Science and Health, p. 509. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. Romans 8:16

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