I have always wanted to have significance from the time I was young. As a child, I used to put a blanket on, cape style, and hold a spoon in my hand like a scepter, pretending to be Miss America as I waved to my adoring fans. My free time would occasionally consist of playing “office” where I would hire and fire people, write pretend checks and sit at a desk trying to feel important. I would rehearse my Oscar speech and thank all my young friends in the neighborhood for their early influence on me. I must have been convincing because afterwards they would say with solemn sincerity, “Don’t forget me when you’re famous.”
Why did I play that way? I guess the list could be long. But at the end of the day, I think each of us want to have a sense of power and significance. We want to know our lives matter, that what we do with our limited time here on earth has made an impact.
What the grown-up version of me has come to understand is that the search for significance in what we do is an illusion, a temporary fix that doesn’t fully satisfy the soul. It tends to come with a constant demand for what’s new and next. Now, I don’t care so much about what I’ve achieved. Yay, I have a list of atta-girls. Don’t we all in one form or another? But my list interests me far less than the difference I can make in someone else’s life. I love getting to give someone the right word at the right time, the hug they didn’t know they needed until they received it, or the wisdom and insight to take that next step forward on their life’s journey. I love empowering others to faithfully step into all that God has called them to be. That brings me deep joy.
Still, even blessing others isn’t the truest source of my significance. Think of the synonyms surrounding that word “significant.” Words like powerful, compelling, momentous, important, rich, eloquent, weighty, and having meaning. I find all of these things and more naturally flow out of my relationship with God. See, my significance comes from knowing the creator of the universe chose me. He didn’t have to. It’s not like heaven and hell were picking sides one day and somehow God got the short end of the stick and had to take me on his team. I was his first choice, his number one draft pick, the one person he most wanted to have on his side. And the amazing thing is so are you. He feels that way about each one of us. How profound is that?! It’s hard to feel like you don’t matter in light of the fact that Jesus literally gave his life to save you. Not just everyone, but you. Specifically YOU.
And the more we step into who God crafted each of us to uniquely be, not comparing ourselves to others but embracing the lane he placed us in, the more significant we begin to feel. I don’t need to have this huge impact. I just need to be who God has called me to be, and God will do the rest. Ironically, the more I embrace this attitude, the greater my impact becomes. It’s like the more I learn to be God’s conduit and the less I make it about myself, the more he is able to move and flow.
Nowadays, I don’t dream of making a big splash in this world. Whether I do or don’t doesn’t really matter. What I do dream of is walking closely with God, growing in my ability to discern his voice and grow in his wisdom, and to live out my life as only I can because there is only one me. No one else can run the lane God has placed me in except me. I am Plan A for my life and the people around me. There is no Plan B. The same is true for you. That’s where my significance comes from. That’s where my worth comes clearly into view. And if you’re willing, that’s where you will find yours, too.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT Are you ever tempted to feel like you don’t matter? Like you have no worth? Do those feelings come from what you perceive to be a lack of achievement or influence? In those moments, remember your significance before the Lord. He reminds us of our value through the prophet Isaiah: “I took you and choose you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (41:8-10).
Replace the lie that you don’t matter with his truth–you are incredibly significant to God. He has plans to make an impact through you in the lane he’s placed you in, whether it’s with your husband, your kids, your co-workers, your friends, your book club or your spiritual community. What you do is significant to God and he finds you worthy. And that’s something to smile about!
PRAYER Lord, thank you that I find true significance and meaning for my life in you. All I need to do is look around me and see that the world’s ways don’t work. You have destined me as your child to live a life that is full of joy and peace, not one that is fractured or ineffective. When I start to get sucked into thinking it’s all up to me and what I do, help me to remember your sovereignty. When I begin comparing myself with others instead of remembering that before the cross we are all the same, remind me of your truth. Would you empower me today to remember how much I am cherished by you. Thank you for a love that is so sweet, so powerful and deep, it literally transforms me from the inside out. May I experience more and more of you within me. Amen.
BARB LOWNSBURY is an author, entrepreneur, and single mother of three. She serves as the Executive Director for The Dented Fender ministry. Follow Barb and The Dented Fender community on Facebook and Instagram.