For the last twenty-five years, Carol had been a full-time homemaker and found great satisfaction in that role. But after her youngest son left for a mission, she felt less needed. While her children were still at home, she knew she was of value to the family. But now she wondered about her worth. Perhaps, she thought, others would value her more if she changed her image. She considered buying some new clothes, or getting a new hair style. She even considered getting a job, or taking some college classes—although she didn’t know what she would study. These changes, she thought, would give her a sense of value or worth.
There is nothing inherently wrong in Carol’s wanting to make improvements in her life. Where she, and many other sisters are mistaken, is in judging their worth by their circumstances or how they appear to others. They have forgotten that we all have inherent worth simply because we are daughters of God! Though our lives and circumstances may change, our worth does not. The only thing that can change is our worthiness to receive the blessings our Heavenly Father wants us to have.
No matter what our circumstances, or appearance, or social status, our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to recognize our self-worth. Furthermore, the Lord values his children for reasons far different from the world’s, for he “seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7.)
The world would like us to believe that the requirements for self-worth are beauty, youth, wealth, and success. But as Patricia Holland, former counselor in the Young Women general presidency, counseled women college students “[we are] becoming so concerned about having perfect figures, or straight A’s, or professional status, or even absolute motherly success that we are being torn from our true selves. We often worry so much about pleasing and performing for others that we lose our own uniqueness, that full and relaxed acceptance of ourselves as a person of worth and individuality.” (“The Soul’s Center,” given at a Brigham Young University devotional 13 January 1987.)
When we struggle with self-worth, we need to remember the story of the widow who offered her mite in the temple. Jesus did not call attention to the wealthy, who made a great display of presenting their offerings; instead, he used her as an example of a beautiful woman of great worth who was willing to share what she had with others. The widow probably was a woman few people knew or noticed. She probably did not wear the latest fashions or associate with the rich and powerful members of her community. We know her worldly possessions were few. But the Savior was not concerned about these things. He did not look on her outward appearance. He looked on her heart.
Like this widow, each of us has a contribution to make to the Lord’s work and to mankind. We all need to learn to recognize our worth to the Lord. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “We are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 8:16–17.) That is the foundation upon which we should base our individual “worth”—not on what the world might think of us.
Share with the sister you visit a talent or quality that you can see that she has and with which she contributes to the Lord’s work. Invite her to continue to contribute to the Lord’s work.
(See Family Home Evening Resource Book, pages 7–11, 20–31, 36–42, 109–117, 146–155, 245 for related materials.)