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.