Monday, September 24, 2012

What Women Want—Significance


Several weeks ago I asked you what women want. Security received the majority of votes. Next in line—significance.
Significance.

My confessed Holy Grail.
Flip it and you get the big lie. You know, the one that whispers at your weakest moments “You don’t matter.”

Pretty confident we’ve all heard that one a time or two.
The best way to fight off that whisper stab is to discern what realistically and truthfully attributes to our worth. By weeding out distractions and not allowing ourselves to be misled by validation holograms we position ourselves to better understand our place here.

What’s a validation hologram?
Anything that fools us into thinking our time on earth is all about us. Anything that fuels our sense of pride.

Anything. (Youch, I know I felt it too.)
Our natural inclination is to achieve significance by filling ourselves up—gorging on success, momentary highs, affirmation or popularity. However, acting inversely and counter intuitively by pouring out—serving, giving, guiding, leading courageously, and encouraging, we end up making boku deposits in our bank of significance.

These acts of love can never be taken back. Just as the opposite holds true.
Here’s a crazy thought: What if our words and actions trigger a butterfly effect through time? What if our investment in someone years ago still impacts that person in ways we’ll never know? What if the sacrificial kindness we bestowed upon a stranger back in 1985 inspired that young woman to incite incredible change in Africa? What if…

I’m thinking of Max Lucado’s memorable character Punchinello. I’m thinking of a children’s book about filling buckets and Bible verses. I’m thinking about all the simple messages that communicate what I’m trying to today—this path of life stuff I still wrestle with and care to explore further.

What reminds you of your significance here?
*Literary agent, Chip MacGregor shares some profound words about significance in this post

**photo by stock.XCHNG

24 comments:

  1. I love that the kingdom of God is about serving others and lifting them up.
    I find that when I focus on others I am happier and more at peace. When I take my eyes off serving and place them on myself I'm discontent with what I have and who I am.
    God's kingdom is an oxymoron, but it works!

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  2. Wow, beautiful post and so true! My kids remind me the most. I know they'll grow up though and so I can't rely on them for significance. I believe entirely in sowing and reaping, in pouring ourselves out, like you said.

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  3. Excellent, worthy thoughts.

    What reminds me of my significance is the thought of a nameless college student who spent her Sunday mornings teaching a bunch of squirmy little girls about Jesus. Her love for the God-man made me fall in love with him. That was almost 50 years ago. I have no idea who she was. But I'll be with her in Heaven because of her sacrifice and grace.

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  4. Wonderful post. It's so easy to feel lost in the crowd. I some times have to remind myself that God can use me--even if I don't recognize the ways.

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  5. What reminds me of my significance here...my parents. They are the most encouraging, wonderful people I know. I've definitely called home whining before, wondering if I'm wasting my time and God's, what my purpose is beyond slogging through a stressful dayjob...and my mom and dad never fail to remind me that my significance is found in Christ. My purpose is to honor and glorify him. And that can sound all trite or even spiritually pompous, but it's the plain simple truth of life and why I'm here. And when I really believe it, even the daily, boring stuff becomes significant.

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  7. I remember the people at the church we used to attend who wrapped their arms around us when we had a car accident and were just beginning to attend there. Today, twenty years later, I walked back into that church after being gone for 12 years and they did the same--it was their love that brought us back home.

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  8. I wrote on the idea of significance a couple of years ago. You can read the piece here: http://juliecoleman.org/http:/juliecoleman.org/dogwooddigest/one-middle-aged-woman-priceless/

    We have value because God thinks we are valuable. He paid the ultimate price for us!! And if He attaches significance to us-- we can find our need met in Him.

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  9. Love this, Wendy. I so often have to fight the lie that tells me my significance comes from what I do and what I achieve. It's one of my biggest battles.

    So reading things like this--truth that resonates with me--helps me to remember where my true significance is found.

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  10. That's such an interesting response because I hardly ever feel insignificant. In fact sometimes I feel overly significant. I worry about the impact I'm having on the planet, my children, my friends, etc. Those are the moments I have to step back and remind myself that I'm much LESS significant than I think I am.

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  11. Beautiful, Wendy. Worship definitely reminds me of my true significance here.

    Missed you at conference!

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  12. I'm with Jessica -- my kids remind me of my significance and the significance of my RESPONSIBILITY to raise them in the shadow of Christ!

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  13. It's so true, sometimes the best way to gain some self worth is to serve others.

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  14. I feel significant in God's eyes when I know I have done what He wants me to do. I spent time yesterday afternoon making a visit to a funeral home and to a hospital with a friend. The couple we went to see at the funeral home are people we don't really know except to see them at church. The lady in the hospital is a long standing friend who has been very ill for almost two weeks.

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  15. Whenever I feel insignificant, I think of the Bible stories of the humble "nobodies" God used to tell the story of His love. Being a writer helps me with this because I think of every character I use in a story and how there is a reason for each one of them to exist. I struggle more with the flipside of what you call the "whisper stab:" I'm content being small (as many shy introverts are). But dreaming about the butterfly effect is certainly inspiring.

    I'm curious about this: "These acts of love can never be taken back. Just as the opposite holds true." I don't think I understand what you mean about the opposite?

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  16. TC, It always amazes me how necessary it is to push through our natural instincts and behaviors in order to get to the deeper, and more fulfilling ways of life.

    Jessica, Love it when one of them throws out a random comment that reminds me of the good plans for me. Sometimes it takes the simple to crumble or stir up the not so simple.

    Jeanette, It's these kind of sacrfices that I was talking about. And oftentimes we don't or won't remember the names. But it's such a reminder, and I'll always believe this, there is more going on here than we know.

    Julie, There's a fun Rusted Root song with that title. We all feel it--have our seasons. Spotlights only shine for so long.

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  17. Melissa, Oh man, I pray my kids can say this about me someday. Such a tribute in your words!

    Terri, Feeling embraced in church is a truly rewarding experience. Glad you had those hugs waiting.

    Julie, Ultimate reminder right there. Thanks for your comment & for the link.

    Lindsay, It's easy to get swept up, sidestep, or slip. So many messages out there. We have to choose moment by moment which ones we'll believe.

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  18. Johanna, Now you've really got me thinking. :D I swear I'm one big dichotomous mess. I get your point. There are times I'm way too caught up in me (thinking I can control and influence things). Thanks for having me look at this topic from this angle.

    Heidi, Yep, I was just telling a friend on the phone today worship and nature are giant flag posts for me.

    Jaime, First, I just love how you could write this. Second, I forget this. Though it's so true, it often happens so discreetly I'm not even sure it's happening. So many subtleties in parenting.

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  19. Patti, I learned this cool lesson about seven years ago. Kicked me out of a major funk.

    QS, I play such head games with myself about what He wants me to do. Still trying to become more discerning. Those folks are blessed to have you in their lives!

    Barb, I was referring to the hateful things said or done...they can stick whether we want that or not. Reason to be careful.

    Not sure if this is going to make a lick of sense, but I'm okay feeling small. It's the 'I don't matter' thoughts that corrode. It's one thing to realize my place here and quite another to be fooled into thinking I don't have a place or meaning here. Make sense?

    And I love your point about the humble nobodies. Did a Beth Moore study where she points out the hall of somebodies--hall of faith, where she highlights people we'd likely overlook today...but by their faith...(Hebrews 11)

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  20. Wendy, I think you're absolutely right that our first inclination is to fill ourselves up, to believe it's all about us. I fight this inclination all the time. And yet, I always find I'm truly fulfilled when I'm giving to others and lifting my gaze upward. Thanks for this post!

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  21. Great post, Wendy! It's so true and realistic! We can't measure our sucess by popularity but the thought and kindness we give to people.

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  22. What a powerful message, Wendy. I love the idea of helping to fill others' needs for significance as a way to make a positive contribution in their live--as well as our own.

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  23. Amen. God's been teaching me so much about this lately. Emptying me of myself gives Him room to fill me.

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  24. wendy it is so good to "meet" you... thank you for your encouragement. i completely agree that we as women long for significance... thank you for reminding me that what matters is how we treat others. you have treated me with such kindness today. bless you friend. e.

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