Where Does Your Significance Come From?
“Where does your significance come from?” is a “who” question. Start trying to figure out where your significance comes from and it’ll lead you to a “who”.
A friend of mine is a CEO (It doesn’t really matter what company he for). The company he worked for was sold and he stopped being a CEO for a while. He was miserable until he went back to work… as a CEO. He has commuted for years, spending weeks away from his family. But dog-gone-it, he’s a CEO!
Who is he trying to please, whose expectations is he trying to live up to, and who is he trying to impress by holding a title or having initials after his name?
In my case, the “who” was “they”.
I spent the first 12 years of my career trying to please “they”. “They” thought it would be good if I had an MBA. “They” wanted me to take a new job and move to round out my experience. I never figured out who “they” were, but “they” had a huge hand in my life. Figure out who “they” are, and you’re getting close to the source of your significance question.
“They” was a combination of my dad, my peers, and my wife. Getting ahead in my career, making a lot of money, having a nice house and nice cars showed “them” I measured up….that I had what it takes. I wanted affirmation very badly and I thought I could get it by having more and achieving more – and more, and more.
At age 33, my life blew up. Career blew up. Marriage blew up. I found myself totally alone with God. In the first real conversation I ever had with Him, He let me know I was significant to Him. He let me know He loved me with or without career success. He let me know that I mattered. I mattered enough that He would have sent His son to die on that cross if I’d been the only one. He’d have done that just for Me. I was that significant to Him!
For the first time in my life, I knew I was significant. And it wasn’t because of anything I had done. It had nothing to do with my title, my performance, my stuff, my MBA, my achievements- none of that. It was because of Him loving me and giving me a fresh start. It was because He had offered to adopt me into His family for years and I finally accepted. In an instant, we connected. I said “O.k., it’s you and me God. You’re my dad. You’re my audience. You’re replacing “they”. From here on in, I’m going to focus on what you think, what you would have me do and what matters to you”.
Isn’t it amazing that the God of the universe (the God who created the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth and everything in it) would reach into a group of 6 billion people and choose me to be an adopted son? Could anything top that?
Try to be significant by being successful, smart, famous, rich, strong, popular or handsome and there will always be someone who is more successful, more famous, more rich, more popular or more handsome. Anything you do to be significant, if it’s defined by comparison with others- dead or alive, you’ll always wonder if you’re really there.
But when God defines you as significant, you really are significant!
The key is to accept it. Embrace it. Relax in it. Appreciate it.
Once I grasped God’s love for me, my default setting became gratitude. The significance question was answered and the pressure went away. My wife says “he stopped dancing”. I relaxed in my own skin. I settled into the passenger seat and let my (heavenly) Father drive. Yeah, I try and take the wheel out of His hands every now and then. But it doesn’t take long to realize that He’s God and I’m not; that I need to keep trusting Him, following Him and being grateful.
There’s a huge difference in believing in Jesus and making Him the “who” you live your life for. I’ve done both and being "all in" is better. Significantly better.