When I got the flu as a kid, my Amish neighbors brought me freshly-brewed mint tea. As I brewed my own tea from freshly-picked mint recently, I recalled this memory and realized that I actually enjoyed being sick as a child. Well, not the sick part but the attention. I felt special… important… significant.
Being sick as an adult does not produce the same results. Well, that’s not exactly true. When I got my tonsils out, my husband kept me steadily supplied with iced coffee. And recently when I had a fever off and on for a week, my youngest son made sure I always had tea and water to drink. During these times, I felt special and enjoyed someone taking care of me.
These memories surface as my struggle with significance especially pulls at me. We all like to feel special and like we matter to others, yet so often we fail to regularly feel that way. We seem to only truly feel special when someone goes out of their way to make that happen, which never seems to happen enough.
To be significant means to be “important” or “of consequence.” When something is important, it “matters much” and “is entitled to more than ordinary consideration or notice.” When something is “of consequence,” it has “distinction” and deserves to be treated with special honor.
Think of the people you consider “significant” in your life. Do you treat them as important and deserving of special treatment? For me, I can honestly answer… “Sometimes, but not as often as I should.” And with that answer, I begin to wonder if the same struggle for significance lies within each of us.
Struggling for Significance
In my struggle for significance, I feel unimportant and often ask myself, “Does what I do and who I am really matter?” And the gauge I usually use to answer this question falls with my view of how others treat me. And really, that’s not fair to them or to me.
With busy lives and so much coming at us all the time, can we truly show significance to those who really are more than ordinary to us? Unfortunately, most people are spread too thin to adequately be able to do so.
Because of our human imperfection, we fail in truly expressing how important others are to us. As much as I struggle feeling significant, I equally struggle with letting others know they are significant to me.
My view of my own significance becomes skewed because I base it on imperfection. When I instead base it on a perfect, holy God, a completely different perspective emerges.
Matthew 18:12-14 tells the story of a shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep in front of him to find the one lost sheep to illustrate how important just one person is to our Heavenly Father who does not “will that even one of these ones should perish.”
Matthew 10: 29-31 talks about how if God knows when one sparrow falls to the ground and we are more valuable than they, and if He knows the number of the hairs on each of our heads, should we not feel significant to Him?
While we must keep a proper view of ourselves and not consider ourselves as more important than others (Philippians 2:3), we must also realize that WE ARE ALL IMPORTANT. God values each one of us enough to give us His very image (Genesis 1:27), so to think we don’t have significance means to reject the importance a perfect God places upon us.
DISCUSSION: Please share any thoughts, insights and perspectives you have regarding significance.