When You Feel Completely Insignificant (and honestly, don’t we all sometimes?)
Special Announcement: Today and tomorrow, September 17th and 18th, Donna will be a guest on the Focus on the Family Radio Broadcast. Click here to listen online or find a radio station in your area. To give feedback on the program, visit the Focus on the Family Facebook page and click “like” and/or “share” under the broadcast or call 1-800-AFAMILY. Now enjoy today’s devotion…
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, periscope crazy culture, it’s so easy to feel insignificant. Seen but not seen. Important but not. 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 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 that means.
Our struggle isn’t new. 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.
Significance comes not 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?
You, sweet friend, are significant. Every act of service is a significant one. Even the menial or the mindless. Even the ones no one notices and we’d never post on Facebook. Because after all, who posts a picture of themselves cleaning the bathroom, scooping dog poop or driving carpool?
Though maybe we should.
Why is this on my mind today? Because today and tomorrow I’m the guest on the Focus on the Family radio broadcast. I’m humbled. I’m honored. But it’s not what makes my life significant. And frankly, I need the reminder.
My life has significance for the same reason your life does.
And I’m clinging to my new definition of significance.
For more information on the September 17th and 18 Focus on the Family Broadcast click here. To purchase the book featured on the broadcast, Raising Kids with Good Manners, click here. You can also sign up for a FREE download “Seven Days to a Happier Home” by clicking here.
More than a Bible teacher, Donna is a self-described Bible explainer. A colorful storyteller who combines Biblical truth with real-life anecdotes, her messages not only help listeners understand God’s Word, but most important, grasp how to live it out in real life.