~by Jenny Pocock

In today’s society we are supposed to be sorely afraid of aging. I mean SORELY, as in going through massive amounts of pain (and money) to look younger than we are. I think this is messed up. Age has it’s benefits. Not that I’m over the hill or anything, but I’ve got a few years on me. My husband and I will celebrate our 17th anniversary this summer. I am a mother to four children, the oldest being 14. There are qualities that come with those years I wouldn’t trade for anything. So I warn you in advance, I will be keeping my wrinkles to prove it.

Today I realized one of those qualities, gained from the passage of time – I no longer have an urge to prove my worth. Seriously. There have been times in my life I claimed this, not true then. I did hope to make it true though.

The number of hours and overburdened thoughts that went into proving my worth: inestimable. Everyone was a participant in my value contest: family members, friends, church leaders, casual acquaintances. I wanted everyone to like me; it felt necessary for them to like me and to think I was an amazing person. Now I know that to be happy = truly being myself. Which means I cannot be happy guessing what other people think I should do, so that they will think I am good.

It has taken me this many years to realize what Popeye told me all those years ago on Saturday morning cartoons, “I yam, what I yam!” (translation for you non-Popeye speakers: “I am what I am!”)

This is me (not the yam!). I’m a work in progress. I don’t claim perfection. I’m doing the best I can. I think you’re doing the best you can too – so let’s just get along. If you don’t want to get along, I’ll do what I can to find common ground because I like people.

Honestly, not feeling the need to prove myself may have come from more than just the sheer accumulation of years. My chronic health problems have pulled me down a peg or two and opened my eyes to the fact that I wasn’t fooling anyone. And if I was, I don’t have the energy or time to continue foolin’.

For example, yesterday when my niece exclaimed, “I can’t sit on that chair, it’s all sticky!”

I smiled and said, “Sorry sweetie, we have a lot of kids in this house, things get sticky.”

That was the moment I knew something had changed inside of me. Because the old me would have rushed over with a sponge, embarrassed, coming up with some story of having pancakes that morning or something. It is what it is. I do hope that people won’t put off visiting with us because they get stuck to the chairs!

Another factor in my calling it quits to the value game is my relationship with God. I’m no saint, I’ve got a lot of work to do (some days I wonder how He looks upon backward progress). But, I know He looks at a person’s desires, at their heart, in the grand scheme of things. He is the only judge that really matters. And honestly, I don’t feel much judgment coming from Him, mostly love and encouragement (sometimes by way of a kick in the pants).

Don’t get me wrong though. I still care about others’ feelings and their comfort in my home. I care that I am a friend. I just don’t base my value as a human being on it any longer.

So now that we’ve come to the end of this and you are sick of hearing about me, I will say:

You do know all of this applies to you, too. Keep your wrinkles, stop overthinking what others think, you’re a work in progress, find a way to be OK with God and let’s just enjoy sticking to each other’s kitchen chairs. Because in the end there’s no proving it, it is a known fact – you are worth something. A lot, in fact.

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