Searching for Significance
My good friend, Jon Malstrom, wrote this post about some of his struggles and some truth God has shown him. I wanted to share this post with you because we all struggle with believing lies that tend to derail us. The truth Jon outlines can help each of us focus on what God intends for us. -Brandon
I’m in one of those awkward, uncomfortable places again. I continue to wrestle with the meaning of “significance” for my life. My head is filled with lies that I’ve allowed to infiltrate my heart, making me restless, discontent, and anxious. Covered by a smothering blanket of depression.
I’m cursed with a 45 minute commute each way to the office, which actually has the decided benefit of blessing me with some of my best thinking time. I’m a thinker, a processor of information, and I need this thinking time to make decisions and come to conclusions. This morning I made a little bit of sense out of what I’ve been feeling. It all comes down to lies and truth.
I’ve surrounded myself with a bunch of ideas that reflect popular viewpoints in our culture today.
It’s about who I know. Being part of the “popular” crowd, aligning myself with influencers, seeking shallow friendships with “cool” individuals who by association will make me appear to have it all together. Investing my time and energy in the wrong places.
It’s about how I feel. If I allow myself to “feel” useless, unwanted, incapable, and untalented, then I must be those things.
It’s about what I do. Being a vice president, owner, partner, author, speaker, or having another “prestigious” role will clearly make life worth living. Not having any of those titles just proves how insignificant I am.
It’s about what I have. The latest technology gadgets, new clothes, big house, and feature-rich cars mean that I’ve made it.
It’s about my image. Revealing only the parts of myself that won’t embarrass me or show my weaknesses. Hiding behind masks of composure, style, physical appearance, and carefully scripted interpersonal engagements. Keeping up with the Joneses. Or maybe the Kardashians.
I’m slowly beginning to shatter those lies. My value and worth is based on an entirely different standard.
It’s about Who I know. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and know that He lives within me. My relationship with Him gives me my identity – not my things, my job, or my friends. All of those things won’t last, but my security with Christ is for eternity.
It’s about believing without evidence. Much of the time I don’t feel like a child of God, deeply loved and cherished. But the Bible says that I am: “No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” (John 16:27) Feelings are deceptive. God’s word is unfailing.
It’s about the richness of my relationships. I have the most amazing wife who puts me first, loves me when I’m unlovable, and believes in me when I can’t believe in myself. I have two amazing kids who challenge me in every possible way, daily chipping away at my impatience, intolerance, and selfishness. I have deep friendships with a handful of guys that I would label as “2 AM Friends.” Brothers I can call on any time of day or night to walk with me through pain and sorrow, pray with me and for me, and give me wise counsel.
It’s about making a difference. Most of the time it’s not about the job or profession that I have or the position that I hold, but about the people surrounding me. Jobs are temporary – people are forever. Showing compassion to a co-worker with serious health or family issues, being available to listen when a colleague’s marriage is crumbling and pointing him to the truth of God’s love and hope, or rejoicing with a cubicle neighbor whose child was accepted to an Ivy League school – this is what it’s all about.
It’s about my character. The consistency (or inconsistency) of my behavior at home, at the office, or in Sunday morning church has a lot to do with the willingness of others to trust me. Am I living what I say I believe? Or am I a hypocrite and a liar? My behavior should reflect the purity and intentions of the Holy Spirit living in me.
It’s about being real. When I dig deep and find the courage to reveal my true self, I find freedom. Realizing that no one has their act completely together gives me comfort to just be me. The real me that I’ve been ashamed of, embarrassed by, and scared of for most of my life is becoming a close friend that I enjoy time with. I don’t worry so much about whether others feel the same. To not be me is to deny God’s work in my life. I just can’t do that anymore.
I’m a work in progress. I need these truths to infiltrate my heart each and every day, but it takes intentionality and discipline. I guess that’s the next area I need to focus on!
What lies do you tell yourself? What are the truths that overcome those lies?