Rumors spread quickly about this college professor. Freshmen were advised that if they wanted favor in her psychology class, they would be wise to remember two things: 1) Never wear yellow! The explanation given was that she hated mustard and the color of yellow reminded her of that condiment. Crazy story! But I didn't have a problem with eliminating yellow from my wardrobe, just in case. After all, it wasn't my favorite color either.
And 2) her favorite teaching quote was, "To be mentally healthy, one must feel needed, necessary, imported, accepted, loved and understood." Instructions from knowledgeable upper classmen were, "On any given exam, if you did not know the answer to a question, somehow use this quote." Since all exams were essay, I used this line on more than one occasion. So much so, that is in ingrained in my memory bank.
Now, thirty years later, I find myself pondering this teaching. My thoughts:
1) Love should have been number one on her list. In fact, real love includes every other thing on her list ... and so much more.
2) That being established, if a list is required, then I could add to her list. I could add chosen, connected, included and appreciated.
3) Aren't the words needed and necessary synonyms? Why did she include both words on this list?
The truth is, regardless of "feelings," we are necessary in God's economy. He created us with a plan for our lives and as long as we are breathing, He still has a plan for us.
4) "Important" ... what did she mean by that? Important to whom? Ourselves? Others? Mankind, in general? The truth is we have great value in just who we are ... not because of what we can do or will do. We are important because we were created in the Creator's image. We are important because we were created to know Him intimately.
5) "Accepted". Check! Through Jesus, we are accepted. We are accepted by the King of all kings, the Lord of all. In fact, we are adopted into God's family as His precious, beloved children. Does it get any better than that?
6) "Understood". Oh, we have One that totally understands. Jesus understands. He walked this earth with all of the trials and temptations that come with life. He wept on more than one occasion. He was betrayed by His closest friends. He was disappointed. He had no home. He was mocked and ridiculed. He was falsely accused. He was misunderstood.
7) And that brings me back to "love". God first loved us. Oh, how He loves us. "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). He loved us so much that ...
Yes, God has already shown us how much we are loved and he showed us at a great price.
Hmmm, if I could just remember that professors name ... I want to tell her that while I agree with her statement on one level, I have learned that I will never find fulfillment, contentment and peace that totally satisfy because other people make me "feel" good about myself. But I do find great joy in knowing that God tells me that through Jesus Christ, I am needed, necessary, important, accepted, loved and understood.
Oh...In case you were wondering, I made an "A" in that class!