This is one of my favorite things to remind people of, so below lies some reasons why your life is valuable.
1. You are you.
And there is no one else like you on this planet. No one can fill your shoes. No one laughs just like you do, and no one can be everything you are. You are unique, and you are special. You are alive, and you are breathing. You have left footprints all around this earth, and no one else has walked your specific path. You have your own perspective of the world; you are an individual. As Dr. Suess once said, “there is no one alive who is you-er than you.”
2. You have purpose.
Your breath proves this. You are alive, you are here, and you have purpose. You are continuing to breathe and live, and you have purpose. It may seem obscure, it may seem little, it may seem nonexistent at times, but you have purpose. Your life alone gives you purpose, and your experiences further shape your purpose. And hey, sometimes your purpose changes along the way. Sometime you have a flawed misconception of your purpose. Sometimes you need to define your purpose.
I once read a blog post called “How to Discover your Life Purpose in about Twenty Minutes.” In it, the author gives a simple exercise: open a blank document, write the words “what is my purpose in life?” at the top, and begin writing until one of your reasons makes you cry, or rather sob. The author listed over 100 before he found himself emotionally moved, and he noted a few reasons along the way which also resonated with him deeply. Maybe it won’t take you twenty minutes. Maybe it will be more like a week, a few months, or even a decade. You have purpose.
3. You are talented.
I wish I could tell you each individually how talented you are. Some of you are talented leaders. Some of you are talented at being bold. Some of you are talented at speaking out and standing up for your beliefs. Some of you are incredibly talented at loving others individually and often. Some of you are talented at serving relentlessly and bringing awareness to needs. Some of you are talented at guiding others and being someone they can rely on. Some of you are talented at art, music, drama, singing, and dancing. Some of you are so talented at making food. Some of you are talented at always being loyal and dependable. Some of you are talented in subjects like chemistry, physics, math, english, history, economics, psychology, and writing. Some of you are amazing at memorizing things and making people feel special when you remember little details. Some of you are so talented at listening and caring for others. Some of you are talented at remaining calm and bringing peace into situations. Some of you are talented when it comes to athletics. Some of you are talented at bringing joy with you and making others around you laugh. Some of you are talented at telling stories. Some of you are talented at knowing where you are and giving directions. Some of you are talented at understanding others and having empathy for them. Some of you are talented at asking questions. Some of you are talented photographers and snapchat users. Some of you are talented in being with different groups of people, like children, high schoolers, or the elderly. You are talented in so many more ways. I promise.
4. You are a blessing.
You are a blessing to me, you are a blessing to those around you. I am thankful for you, and I am not alone in that. My friends, you bring unique qualities to the table. You bring “new” into my life and the lives around you. You bless others with your story, your presence, your passions, your talents; you bless others with you. Because you, just you and nothing more, are a blessing to many.
5. You are absolutely irreplaceable.
You are a beautiful masterpiece. You are uniquely special. You are one-of-a-kind, a hidden gem, a precious treasure. You are precious, and your life is irreplaceable. Your life has such value simply because it is yours. Your life is not an accident; it is not to be lightly lived. You only live once. Your life has irreplaceable, incomparable value.
6. You are loved.
Oh, how you are loved. You are so loved. You are loved by me. You are loved by people in your life. Sometimes, it’s hard to feel loved. It’s hard to respond when people don’t react the way we expected or show love in ways we are not responsive to. It’s hard to feel loved when it seems that you are the only person reaching out. It’s hard to feel loved when you are alone. Trust me, I’ve been there. However, I assure you that you are incredibly loved and cherished. If you ever, ever doubt this, reach out. Send me a text that says “love me.” I’ll do my best. Talk to someone. Write down moments when you felt loved. Do not doubt this, because, oh, you are so, so, so loved. Words cannot express.
7. You are enough.
I’m going to remind you that your life is enough. To put it simply, you are enough. You are strong enough. You are smart enough. You are good enough. You are pretty enough. You are thin enough. You are brave enough. You are funny enough. You are creative and good and organized. You are open enough. Your love is enough. My friends, you are enough. You are not perfect, and neither am I. But you, just you as you are, are enough. You are enough for me, even if you don’t think you are ___ enough.
8. You are an inspiration.
Golly, I wish I could express how much everyone around me inspires me. So many of you inspire me to be a better person. I am constantly inspired to be more present. I am inspired to serve and listen attentively. I’m inspired to study more and laugh more.
I think we don’t tell people that they inspire us enough. Today, I was scrolling through social media, and I paused on a post of a girl who went to my private school. She’s five years older than me, and she was my book buddy when I was in first grade. Many years later, I watched her lead songs in chapel when she was a senior in high school. I watched her create community and make beautiful music. She’s been someone I’ve strived to be for the last twelve or so years. The post expressed an organization’s gratitude for her, and in the moment, I got consuming chills like never before. For some reason, I started tearing up and smiling huge because I knew for a fact she was changing lives. In that moment, I reached out to her and essentially told her “hey, you inspire me a lot, and God is doing something cool in you.” Sometimes, we don’t know the impact we have on people. I’ve admired her character from the distance for a majority of my life, and I’ve never brought it up until today.
I guarantee you inspire someone. My internet friends, you inspire me to blog more often and write better and be vulnerable. My friends back home, you inspire me to work hard and love well and create a community here at school. My friends at school, you inspire me to laugh more and make music and be me. My leaders and mentors, you inspire me to lead and listen and return the love I have been given. You all inspire me more than you will ever know.
9. You have passions that impact others.
Your life is valuable because you have individual talents and desires. You have such distinct thoughts and values, and your passions have the capability of helping others. For those of you who want to go into health services, you have immediate impact on lives. For those of you who participate in #blacklivesmatter and women’s marches, you have the potential to impact lives around you. For those of you who desire to volunteer, you can bring hope. Passions as simple as music, sports, travel, food, exercise, animals, you name it, impact lives. Maybe you’re an inspiration to someone. Maybe you bring immediate hope. Maybe you spark passion in the lives of others. We shape each other, and your passions are capable of influencing the lives around you.
10. You have a voice.
Your life has value because you have a voice, and this voice should be heard. You have stories and thoughts and ideas unique to you, and sometimes sharing your story is one of the best things you can do. Your voice has the ability to bring hope and love through the words you speak. You can encourage others and make them laugh. You can have deep conversations about the world. Your voice has the capability of bringing about new inventions and thoughts. Your voice deserves to be heard, not stuffed away and disregarded. You can use your voice to impact others. Do not be afraid to use your voice, because your voice matters.
There is something freeing about using your voice. It gives you a sense of belonging and contributing to society. Freshman year of high school, I didn’t talk all of first semester. At home, I wrote in my journal obsessively and refused to share my thoughts with others. Halfway through high school, I started this blog, and it became a way for me to indirectly communicate. Later, I became more comfortable sharing my thoughts and engaging with others. Through this url, I’ve seen just how much words carry value. Sometimes, certain sentences have spoken to people in ways I would never imagine while writing. Since then, I’ve learned using your voice is important. I’ve learned your thoughts have value. And my friends, your voice is important, and it gives your life value.
11. There are so many little things about you.
I love learning about people. I love being “compassionately curious,” as one of my leaders would call it. I love to ask people what their favorite scent is. I love to know how much ice you like in your water. I love to know what you’re passionate about and what you would do if you were more bold. I have a list of 60 questions on my phone to ask people just because I want to learn about them. I genuinely love learning about your quirks and story and the little things that make you you. These preferences and attributes give your life meaning. They shape you as a person, and they bring value into relationships as you begin to learn about one another.
12. You have a beautiful opportunity to change opinions.
You are capable, and you have just as much potential as Abraham Lincoln did. Promise. I think sometimes we set our expectations too high. We expect that we can bring about world peace or create a extremely influential organization. Sometimes, we don’t need to do that. Sometimes it matters in the little moments and in your immediate community. You can make others feel loved by refuting common negative opinions about them. You can change outlooks on the world; you can bring hope and joy. You can give others a reason to live.
Last month, I was volunteering in a three-year-old room at my church, and there were about ten three-year-olds and one six-year-old. This six-year-old had down syndrome and was at the functioning level of a three-year-old. I was playing with one of the three-year-olds, and our conversation went a little bit like this:
girl: i don’t like when she’s here. she’s mean and doesn’t share and doesn’t listen to the rules.
me: hey now, did you know that sometimes she has trouble understanding what the rules are? just like how you’re learning to read, she’s learning the rules in the classroom. sometimes, we mess up, just like you mess up in reading, right? she’s still learning.
girl: she’s not like us though. she looks funny and acts mean.
me: what? well first, i think she is still learning the rules and isn’t trying to be mean. she just doesn’t know what’s right or wrong yet! (girl: oh). and hey, i think she looks a lot like you! (girl giggles). how many eyes do you have? (two). how many ears do you have? (two). how many noses do you have? (muffled “one” among more giggles).
This continued until the girl looked me in the eye and said “I’m going to go play with her now goodbye.” And for the rest of the service, she sat by her and played with her. Whenever the girl would hit her, she would say in a soft voice “that’s okay,” and proceed to give her a hug.
You don’t have to change opinions about big things. You don’t have to bring every single person in the world hope. You don’t have to create unity of political beliefs in America. You don’t have to stop wars. You don’t have to be the next Socrates. That might not be completely attainable in the time you have here. Instead, be realistic. Focus on what you can do. You never know what you are capable of. Find value in influencing others and impacting the world.
13. Lastly, You are called son or daughter by the King of the World.
I’ve waited until now to bring Christ into the picture, because I want you to believe your life is valuable even if you don’t believe in Jesus. I respect that, and your life matters equally as much as the lives of people who do believe in God. You are valuable. Extremely valuable.
When we bring Christ into the picture, our value starts to come from Him, instead of from our own selves. He is the one who made us. He is the one who gives us purpose, and His purposes give us life. He gives us talents to use for Him. He calls us a blessing and promises to care for us. He made you unique and wants you to be His son / daughter. He loves you more than you are capable of understanding, and He will love you unconditionally with a perfect love that is incomprehensible. He says you are enough and you don’t have to do anything to earn that title. He gives you the capability of inspiring others. He places others in your life so you may impact them. He created every little quirk, passion, and desire of yours. He created the world, and He created you in it intentionally. He is the reason you are here, and He is the only way you will find joy, grace, and love in this life. All good things come from Him alone. He is the reason you are here. He is the best reason for you to live your life.
So tonight, if you are searching for answers or value, seek Him. I love you all dearly, and I hope you will always remember that your life has incomparable value.