Friday, August 27, 2010

What do I aim to do with my life? Who do I want to be? What image of myself do I want to project? These questions whirl in my mind today. Who is listening to me and what am I saying to be heard?

There is a desire in my heart to be noticed. To say something significant.

As I wrestle with insignificance, the words I rehearse in my head, I know should remain unsaid. I am twisting and turning phrases to accuse my husband of not listening, of not being interested. The words are more about inducing raw feeling in him than about bridging gaps between us. There is no satisfaction here, and I realise I want to be right, to be justified in my anger.

I want him to notice my effort, to see my sacrifice. I want to be thanked. And this is just one glimpse of my craving to be noticed and significant.

Even among Christians we have hierarchies of significance. People are revered for all sorts of holiness, or churchiness, or fruitfulness acheivements. And yet, who among them would take the credit for themselves?

So often, expectation builds in us that we will be the best at something, or at least noticeably good at some aspect of life. But what if we are not? If I live my whole life and I never win a prize or get noticed as someone significant. What then? If each one of us is precious to God, is recognition beyond his love important?

I don't want to belittle the great things people have done, that have brought them fame, or recognition, or worldly significance. There are people whose lives and achievements are breathtaking.

What I am wrestling with is that I am likely not one of them. I live a life of great blessing and privelege (I am in the richest 1% of people in the world, my house has never been destroyed in a natural disaster, I have a tertiary education and a good job, my children are healthy and happy), but I am not remarkable.

There is a deep well of pride in me that wishes I would be noticed, especially for some great, holy, inspirational gift or calling, or for the great fruitfulness of my ministry. Perhaps my life lesson will be to learn the humility that will drain that pride away. Or perhaps, like 99.9% of the world's people, my life will never be significant beyond the hearts of those close to me. But this in itself is a calling from God.

Make it your goal to live a quiet life,
minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.


soph said...

Hi Kath,

Thanks for this. It's something I've been thinking a lot about recently. I've just started being heard more on radio (i work as a news journalist), and it kind of irks me how much significance people put on my job and the fuss they make of being associated with "famous" people. But at the same time, it tickles my ego when people say "oh i heard your story on such and such", and when I'm on my way to a big story I get nervous and think, wow, "I'm going to talk to such and such..."

It's just as you said - there's a desire to be significant, to be noticed in all of us.

Have you read, "When people are Big and God is Small"? It's a good book on the same issue, but they use the biblical category of "the fear of man" vs "the fear of God" and how sad it is when we start fearing people more than God.


Kath said...

Hey Soph,
Thanks for your response. I'll check out that book. It's funny, I've just got another Ed Welch book i'm planning to read, too.
I'll listen out for you on the radio ;)

L.E. Fiore said...

Mmm, I've thought thoughts along these lines. And so true- what more than God (should) we want?

Good words, and good verse, too!


Jenny said...

Thanks for the verse Kath

Heather Mattern said...

I am so thrilled to have stumbled upon your blog from Ann Voskamp's site! I have truly been blessed by reading your words and look forward to perusing your blog a bit more! I see my self in your words as I struggle with this pride within me!