Week 4 – You Matter More Than You Think

Interlude, Sea Glass, Band of Sisters, and Star and Starfish!

Welcome back to the weekly meeting of the online Book Group. We are in our 4th week of discussing the book, “You Matter More Thank You Think” by Dr. Leslie Parrott. If this is your first time here in Mel’s World or in the book group I just want to take a minute to let you know that you are in the right place and you are always welcome to join us.

This book has been such a blessing to me and I love being able to come online and share the “highlights” from each chapter as well as lead the discussion questions (called Ponder…) with the group. I am not 100% sure who is reading the book and who isn’t, but I can tell you this, even if you aren’t reading it you can benefit from the wisdom that is shared in these “highlights” as well as from the comments.

So, sit back, relax, crack open your journal, grab a nice steaming cup of coffee (with a little hazelnut cream in it…yum!), and let’s dive in.

“Our love is honed by our pain, enriched by our gratitude, revealed in our relationships, and expanded through our dreams.” ~Page 84

Chapter 7 – Sea Glass
Page 87
– “Let me try, for my own sake, if not for yours, to make my thinking simple: Everyone on the planet is designed to make a difference. No matter our age or stage, married or single, living in the city, the suburbs, or the country, with little education or a PhD, with lots of money or little – each of us, as a believer, is on this planet to make a mark. And the greatest mark we can make is to show others who God is.”

Holy moly, can I hear ya say Amen on that one…how true are those words?

Page 88 – “Here’s what it comes down to: God is love, so by default, if our purpose on this planet is to show who God is, we are born to love. That’s how we make our mark.
We make our mark when we…
Walk the floor all night with a crying baby,
Resist snubbing someone we feel deserves it,
Reveal our own insecurities to a friend who thinks we’re always strong.
Give gratitude to people who’ve helped us, or
Go out of our way to encourage a disheartened friend.”

Page 88 – “Each and every one of us, with our differing quirks, gifts, opportunities, networks, whims, and wishes – like the countless grains of sand on the beach – is designed to make this world a better place. God has made you for this purpose. You are created in his image, a precious gemstone.”

1) In what ways are you an “original”? (Remember that something that seems “usual” to you may be much more significant than you think.)
2) How does realizing that you are an original – truly there is no one like you – affect your perspective of yourself?

Chapter 8 – Band of Sisters
Page 95 – “But as surveyed my relational landscape, these were the women I wanted in my life. Not just one-on-one, but collectively. I wanted each of them, as well as myself, to know and to be known by each other. Believing that the collective whole is greater than the sum of its parts, I wanted my individual relationships with these women to come together and magnify the good I was enjoying one-on-one.”

“All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own.” ~Edwin Markham

Page 99 – “Sometimes it takes the observations and insights of other women to help us recognize how the pieces of our lives, when collected and displayed, are more beautiful and meaningful than we might have ever imagined on our own.”

Page 100 – “I was needing more than girlfriends. I was needing a collective female consciousness to help me better discern how to make a difference in my world. I needed a chorus of female voices to speak into my life with the kind of wisdom that comes from multiple perspectives. Knowing that I couldn’t always recognize it on my own or even with a trusted girlfriend, I needed the help of other women, together, to help me see how my life does, can, and should be making a difference in my world.”

1) Do you believe your individual relationships with woman friends can, when you meet together, magnify the good that you enjoy one-on-one? In other words, do you believe that the collective whole is greater than the sum of its parts when you gather with your girlfriends? If so, why?
2) Who is your “small chorus of female voices” that speaks into your life? What, in specific terms, makes these voices valuable to you?

Chapter 9 – Star and Starfish
Great Question – Page 105 – Would how you are attempting to make a difference with your life change if you were of the opposite gender? What do you think? How would you answer that?

Page 107 – “We think about difference-making more personally than men do. And if you’re anything like me, understanding this distinction between make and female perspectives can help you realize that you often matter more than you allow yourself to believe. Why? Because as women, we sometimes impose a more masculine measure on our own difference-making. In other words, we can sometimes fall into the trap of evaluating the difference we make in concrete and measurable terms – like a man tends to do.”

Page 109 – “I’m simply asking you to consider whether you sometimes fail to recognize the difference you make because you are measuring your difference-making with masculine measure. Remember my admittedly over-generalized proposal; Men tend to focus on more tangible outcomes – differences that can be achieved – than women do. Women, I’m suggesting, tend to innately value less measurable “accomplishments”, such as intuitively picking up on the sadness of a co-worker who needs comfort, creating an environment that raises the quality of life for a child, or quietly faithful prayer support for a person’s predicament.”

Page 112 – “If there’s anything I want you to come away with from this chapter, it’s knowing that the difference you make often may not be tangible. For example, you make a difference when you actively coax a good idea from another person rather than coming up with your own; when you identify with someone at their worst moment so they don’t feel alone (I remember when I wrecked the car, yelled at my daughter, etc.); when you choose just the right gift (not necessarily the most expensive or obvious one) that reveals an awareness of the unique interests of a loved one; and in many other ways that may not be measurable. But as we will eventually see, your everyday contributions, whether measurable or not, are a vital part of the difference you make.”

1) Can you imagine life as a man? If you were born into the same family and the same environment, the only difference being your gender, how would your life be different? Consider not only external trappings, but how you would feel.
2) What do you think about the difference-making that men do in comparison to women? Is it different, in your opinion? Why or why not?

I hope and pray that you have been enjoying this book as much as I have…next week we will be meeting on Wednesday 5/28/08 and we will be discussing Web of Connection and Playing Games (it’s only 21 pages).

Glad to be a Starfish,