Where do you find your significance?
Or. . .are you still searching for it?
I want to share a bit of my search for significance here with the hope that it might help some reader to find the ultimate source of significance.
As I shared in an earlier post, I grew up without a father all my life (I met him when I was 22; he died 2 years later). There was always a hole, a void. I think I always longed to hear what every child should hear from their father:
I love you!
I’m proud of you!
You know what those words do for a child?
They give him or her an incredible sense of significance, value, and worth.
He/she doesn’t have to go searching all over – searching in vain, searching in all the wrong places – for significance.
I was one who went on that search for significance.
I remember that even as a child I always wanted to be famous some day. I thought if I was famous, I would be “somebody.”
This craving for significance created a lot of efforts to achieve, accomplish, perform – athletically, musically, academically, socially, and spiritually. To hear the approval and applause of people. To some extent, I did well in most everything I set out to do. I was blessed with quite a bit of “success.” But it never really filled the hole. I just always wanted something bigger.
As a boy, I wanted to be a pro football player. I truly loved football but there was something more involved than just the love of the game. Something deeper. I wanted to hear the “roar of the crowd.” As I grew, it became clear that a future in football was not an option (I just wasn’t big enough, strong enough, fast enough, or good enough – not even for college). I couldn’t do what guys like this could do!
As a young adult attending a university, I felt called by God to be a preacher – to take the “Good News” around the world. A beautiful calling to be sure. But the old desires for significance crept up again: desires to speak to big crowds in stadiums. Lead a huge church. Write books. Be on radio and television.
The search was on again.
The search for more approval. More applause. More. . .significance.
Finally, thankfully, something changed.
I began to learn about real significance. Value. Worth.
It wasn’t through achievement, accomplishment, or performance. It wasn’t through my old standards of success.
It was actually through. . .failure.
It was a very painful time that required a new way of looking at life. . .a new way of looking at significance.
And happily, with the help of my dear wife and some meetings at a church in Canada, I began to find what I was looking for.
It was there all along.
Rather, He was there all along.
I began to experience God again in a way that I hadn’t for a long time – as the father I always missed and longed for. The father that loved me regardless of my success or failures. No achievement would make Him love me more. No lack of achievement would make Him love me less.
I had found this at one point when I first experienced God’s love as a boy but the nagging yearning “to be someone” often choked out this knowledge of my perfect heavenly Father’s unconditional acceptance and approval.
Yes, we all need an earthly father to help us with significance. To hear your father verbally express his love, approval, and pride in you is amazing. No child should be without it.
But nothing compares to having a heavenly Father – God Himself – express His love and approval of us.
You can have it, my Muslim or Christian friend (or any reader). You don’t have to keep searching for it, performing for it, striving for it. You don’t have to be successful and earn it.
Turn to God with all your heart. Ask Him to show you His father heart – His father heart for you.
Give Him your life and receive Him as your perfect Father.
Follow Jesus. Trust him for the forgiveness of your sins because of his sacrifice.
And know real. . .deep. . .significance.
(Postcript: I still struggle at times with this old yearning to “be somebody.” I see old friends from college that are now on television. Other friends write books and even have some measure of fame. Jealousy can creep in. The old desires for significance can rise up. But then I repent and remember. I humble myself and repent of jealousy and the idolatry of desiring something more than God. And I remember who my Father is. A perfect Father who gives significance to His children.)