Worthy Now, Lee women take on the issue of female self-worth
Sara Watson, Staff Writer and Kaley Schwab, News Editor
On Nov. 12, Lee University women attended the Worthy Now event in The Chapel. The women on Lee's campus had the opportunity to listen to female speakers, watch an interpretive dance by Unity Dance Troupe and enjoy a discussion led by Lee alumna Bonnie Cretton speak about female empowerment and self-esteem.
The event, put together by a committee made up of members from Student Development, Residential Life and the Counseling Center have been talking about the event for two years.
Michelle Steffenhagen, assistant director of residential life and an organizer of the event said female worthiness was something the committee wanted to put on when they were looking at different needs in the student body and it was something they wanted to address after speaking with many Lee women throughout the years.
'As women we wrestle with [worthiness] in different ways, I think as women in our culture, in our society, in our school [what] is missing are those of us who are willing to engage because they are scared of how it might be perceived,' Steffenhagen said.
In a 2013 freshmen survey conducted by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, they surveyed freshmen at private universities and other religious four-year colleges. In the survey, women consistently rated themselves lower than men in categories such as self-confidence [social], problem solving and leadership abilities.
'I think if we're honest, even the people on this committee who helped put this together, this question sits at our core too. I don't think anyone is exempt from this question, which makes it kind of necessity for us to open up a conversation about it,' Brittany Gates, staff counselor for the Lee University Counseling Center, said.
As Cretton came to the podium to speak she told the crowd she too has struggled with self worth issues, both as an involved student on Lee's campus as well as a successful teacher in the area after graduation. She still felt, despite her accomplishments, she was never enough.
'I come to you tonight as a wounded healer,' Cretton said. 'I am not coming here as an expert on worth.'
Cretton said that theory we should be finding our worth in Christ, but we're not and it has become such a hard issue. In the Christian community in general perhaps, the issue is we should be living out of worthiness given to us through Christ, so why aren't we?
'I think as Christians we have a hard time believing or choosing to believe [in our worthiness]. We wait to feel worthy but if we keep waiting I think we're going to be waiting for a long time, [instead of] choosing to believe what God has told us [that we are worthy],' Steffenhagen said.
Cretton said in her speech that human beings were born into a world of disconnection. Because of this, she said people strive to find connection and self worth in others as well as acceptance and belonging.
'There was a disconnection that happened at the very beginning of the fall [of humans],' Cretton said. 'Human beings were right and were at one with the Father and had a relationship with him [before the fall.]'
With a packed chapel the event was able to speak to a core audience of Lee women who were given the opportunity to hear the message of self-empowerment and self-worth through a Christian lens.
'It is an ache in our bones that won't go away, we must let go and trust and find real abundant love in Christ.' Cretton said.
Sophomore Halley Mullins, said the event was a re-establishment of her knowledge about her own self worth.
'This is an extremely important subject. [It is important] for a woman to realize their self worth no matter what age they are,' Mullins said.