How would you express what makes a life significant?
What about your own life? What will it take to call it worthwhile?
Does it rest on what you achieve: your success or status, the great children you raise, the good you do, the fun you have, your number of friends, the extent of your influence, the mercy you extend, the power you achieve, your marriage, or the money you amass?
Or maybe you measure your life as many followers of Jesus do— numbers of converts, size of ministry, or successful mission trips. Or do your feelings of worth center in work faithfully done with children or the poor and suffering? Perhaps you find your value in giving money away or teaching large groups.
Be honest. Reread these questions. How do you truly access significance in others? What people would you highly rank? How do you measure your own worth?
I have been often guilty of feeling insignificant when I don’t achieve what other women I know are doing. Instead of resting in where God has me and the results that he brings, I have wrapped my value in people and achievement. I no longer do this as often, but now and then those feelings arise and I let them overwhelm me.
Tim Keller’s book The Reason for God recently reminded me that such feelings signal that I am looking elsewhere for what only God can give. When my value is bound up in what I accomplish, my work, or the people in my life, I face sure disappointment.
This side of heaven I know that I will never totally shake feelings of insignificance when I hear of others’ accomplishments, but I can let them remind me to refocus on God and not me. As Keller says, “Sin is not simply doing bad things, it is putting good things in the place of God. So the only solution is not simply to change our behavior, but to reorient and center the entire heart and life on God.”
When we get this wrong, those who watch and follow us believe the same lie. Let’s not fall for thinking that anyone or anything else, even ministry, will ever fill us up as God does.