Feeling Insignificant

Every once in a while I need to heed my own words. Yesterday was one of those days. I found myself wondering (more than once, I might add), what’s wrong with me today?

Can you relate?

If so, you’ll want to read on. I actually googled my own blog post–one I wrote a few years ago–because I longed for the encouragement (and the kick-in-the-pants) I thought it would provide.

It did not disappoint.

Boy, I needed this reminder! If you do, too, share it on Facebook, IG, Twitter, Email, or wherever your people hang out. 

Several years back I shuffled sleepy-eyed into our kitchen earlier than usual. My husband was already awake and stood pouring himself a cup of coffee.  Although I hadn’t had my coffee yet, my soul was already brewing.

“I lead a completely insignificant life.”

It was one part declaration of what I believed to be true and the other part self-pity.

JP looked stunned.

I thought he might try to comfort me or talk me out of my way-too-early-in-the-morning personal revelation. Instead he turned, looked me square in the eye, and responded deliberately.

“Donna, you need a new definition of significance.”

Wow. Totally didn’t see that one coming. But he was he right. And oh, how I needed to hear it!

In our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Selfie, Pinterest, crazy culture, it’s so easy to feel insignificant.

Seen, but not seen. Wanting to be in, but often feeling out. Striving to be enough, but never sensing we’ve arrived. Too old and irrelevant. Too young and not taken seriously.

Invisible, sometimes even to ourselves.

It’s so easy to base our significance on our accomplishments, our positions, our possessions, or even those of our children. It’s easy to compare and come up short.

Is what I’m doing important? Is any of it making a difference? Do I matter?  Am I enough? What in the world am I doing with my life?

You’ve had these thoughts, haven’t you? I know I have.

Our go-to response is to get busy and do more. Set goals. Reach high. Fill our schedule. Do good. Look good. Be good. Make our spouse, and our house, and our kids do the same.

Or just give up, shrug our shoulders and settle.

Sometimes we vacillate between these two responses (at least I do). Both are crazy-makers and neither address the real issue; they’re simply behaviors that mask something deeper in our souls—the need to feel significant– which, by the way, is a God given need.

It’s just that often we need a new definition of what significance means.

Our struggle isn’t new.

In the Bible, James’ and John’s mom had had the same issue. Her boys were two of Jesus’ twelve disciples. You’d think she’d feel like she’d scored on the “my-kids-are-better-than-your kids” mom-o-meter. But it wasn’t enough. She wanted her boys to earn special recognition, even among the twelve.

“Jesus, grant that my sons may sit, one at your right hand and other at your left, when you come into your kingdom.” (Matthew 20:21)

Her boys must not have minded the request all that much. There’s no record of them saying, “Moooom, how could you?” the way our mortified kids do when we step over the line and cause embarrassment. Nope. They were stone silent.

But Jesus wasn’t.

“If you want to be great in the kingdom you have to be the servant.”

In other words, You need a new definition of significance.

The way to significance isn’t signing autographs it’s serving sinners. The way up is down.

In God’s economy, significance doesn’t come from accolades, or adoration, or accomplishments. Significance comes from sacrifice. This is the way of Jesus. If the cross teaches us anything, it’s this.

Our life become significant the moment we stop living to get, and start living to give.

It’s a hard lesson, because it’s completely counter-cultural.

And counter emotional.

We want what we want, when we want it.  Some of us even whine and complain, wondering when all the serving of everyone else will end so we can finally get busy doing something really significant.

And this is precisely the point at which we get the whole thing wrong. Because the serving is the significance.

So let me ask you a question:  what did you do today?

Did you make someone breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Did you help a co-worker or client?

Did you offer encouragement or godly advice?

Did you kiss a boo-boo?

Did you teach, instruct or guide a child?

Did you wash dishes, sweep the floor or do the laundry?

Did you change a diaper?

Did you give a hug?

Did you pray for someone other than yourself?

Did you lighten another’s load, physically, emotionally, socially or spiritually?

I’m guessing you can answer “yes” to at least one of these.

May I whisper a truth in your ear I so often need to hear?

If you serve someone–anyone–you are significant. Even if they don’t notice. Or say, “thank you”. Or care.

Because God notices. God sees. God cares.

From God’s vantage point, every act of service is a significant one–even the menial or the mindless ones. Or the ones no one notices, and we’d never post on Instagram or Facebook. Because after all, who posts a picture of themselves cleaning the bathroom, scooping dog poop, or driving a family member to a doctor’s appointment? Though maybe we should.

We don’t have to be significant by the world’s definition to be significant by God’s definition.

“If you want to be great in the kingdom of God, then you must be the servant.” -Jesus

The serving is the significance.

PS. If you feel overwhelmed because your serving is never-ending and you’re about to lose your marbles, check out my Weekly Wisdom video on Instagram or Facebook on 9/3/20. It will encourage and equip you in ways you need!

You are loved,

Donna

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