Who's the best?
A Christian Science perspective on daily life.
There's so much focus in the media and in individual conversations about who is the most beautiful, most successful, best dressed, or most powerful or influential. Implicit is that there is only one best. It's as if everyone in the world were stacked in a vertical pile, with the best person on top all the way down to the least valuable person. It's easy to get caught up in such a mind-set and then feel that you're not of value because you're way down in the pile.
But one way out of that feeling is to ask, "What if everything were the color blue?" How dull would that be? That's what I asked myself one day while wrestling with thoughts of being unworthy. I'd been comparing myself to a powerhouse of a woman. And there was no comparison. She was brighter, more productive, more of every good thing than I was. Or so it seemed. The comparison left me flat.
Many of us have had to face this sort of personal put-down. In the past whenever these feelings came to me and made me unhappy, a trusted friend would say, "Those are not your thoughts." Finally I understood what he meant, and that has helped me move beyond those feelings of being unworthy. He was telling me that those thoughts had their roots in a distorted view of myself, as not being created by God. Therefore they had no validity.
My friend's comment made me realize that I'd been looking in the mirror of the world to see who I was. Soaking up a limited and material view of what it is to be worthy, I was believing a lie about myself.
The Bible offers a different mirror. The first chapter of Genesis describes how God created everything. It records that He made man, and not just one best man in His image and likeness, but a whole species of "best," that includes both male and female. Later, after His creation was complete, God looked at what He had created and saw it was "very good."
God's spiritual creation is not a vertical top-to-bottom, best-to-worst creation, but is, in a way, horizontal. Each identity is of the same value – perfect and in a glorious array – presenting the infinite variety that is God's man. Each has an individuality made up of talents and a full measure of wonderful qualities of character. So each has a place and purpose and is needed for the full presentation of God.
To be the image and likeness of God is to be wonderful. God is Spirit, so His image must be spiritual. Consequently, each of us has a spiritual identity that reflects the completeness, perfection, and glory of God. Writing about this creation in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the author, Mary Baker Eddy, said, "All that God imparts moves in accord with Him, reflecting goodness and power" (p. 515).
Much of the Bible's message shows that the facts of our spiritual identity are practical here and now. God is always sending us thoughts that correct the lie that we're something other than His creation and that show us the wonder of what He made us to be. God is pleased with us. Knowing this inevitably brings satisfaction and peace. And there's more. That assurance of being valued by God shines through our thinking and acting. Others naturally respond positively. Things change. New friendships develop. New opportunities surface. Life takes on freshness and joy.
So, back to the earlier question: "What if everything were blue?" Blue without any color variation would be boring. And the color spectrum without blue's tones and complementing hues seems inconceivable. The same could be said of every color. Like the colors, each of us is significant to a complete creation because of our own individual contributions and as we complement the work of others.
We are each important to God. Recognizing who we are as witnesses to God and seeing ourselves in that light free us from the lies that say we're not good enough. Doing so frees us to be the wonderful creation that God made us to be.