When I was a kid, I liked to watch the Beverly Hillbillies. For those of you who are way too young, this was a situation comedy about a poor mountaineer family who struck oil on their property, became rich, and moved into a Beverly Hills mansion. Each episode portrayed their confusion, ignorance, and occasional wisdom, as they encountered some aspect of Beverly Hills life.
Jed Clampett was the patriarch of the family. He discovered the oil when he shot into the ground, and “up came a bubbling crude.” Prior to the discovery, he and his family had lived in a little shack, with just enough food to survive.
The irony was that Jed Clampett had always been rich. He had always owned the oil. He just didn’t know it. The riches were just under the surface, waiting to be discovered.
Through the years, I have seen many people who are rich, but don’t know it. They suffer because they can’t see the gifts they already own. They mistakenly perceive themselves to be poor, so they life like they are poor.
These people aren’t living on an oil field. Their riches aren’t material or financial. Their gifts are actually much more valuable. Recognition of their gifts would certainly change their lives, even more than the Clampett’s.
Their unrecognized gifts may be personal abilities, character strengths or relationships. They fail to see these riches because of earlier self-esteem wounds. At some time in their childhood, they were led to believe that they were inadequate, defective or unimportant. Because they were just children, they believed these messages and failed to see the truth.
There was the very intelligent high school senior who never considered college because his father called him an idiot and told him that he would never amount to anything, or the talented musician and singer who never shared her music because a critical piano teacher told her that she lacked talent.
Then there was the sensitive, compassionate woman, who saw her caring nature and empathy as a weakness, because some mean girls in school made fun of her for being too emotional, or the boy who was ostracized because he his values prevented him from joining in on bullying a classmate.
There was the depressed, suicidal man who believed his family and the world would be better off without him, despite the fact that he had a loving family and many caring friends, who worried about him. Fortunately, his suicide attempt was unsuccessful, and he was able to discover the truth.
Finally, there was the woman who had been repeatedly abused and rejected in childhood and adulthood. She believed the abuse to be her fault, assuming that she had some defect that made her unlovable. She told me that she prayed every day that God would love her. I pointed out that this prayer was part of her problem. I told her that she was praying the wrong thing, because God already loved her. I suggested that she pray that God would help her see how much He loved her. She started praying this way, and initiated her healing.
Are you missing out on gifts you already possess? Are you living a life of emotional poverty, when your gifts are just below the surface? You can discover these riches, and your life can change. Just ask Jed Clampett.
Question: What talents, characteristics or love have you missed, because of your self-esteem wounds? How would your life change if you opened those gifts?