I believe people were created with an innate desire to make a difference.
To change their sphere of the world in some way. To be heard by those around them. To be cared for deeply by those who know them.
To be significant.
To what degree people desire significance is what varies, but I truly believe each person was created with a God-give passion to matter.
And this manifests itself in so many different forms.
Some people desire this at work and in their “9-5”. They need the labor of their hands to be something worthwhile. They need to be a person of influence and do something that, to them, is more than a job. It’s for the greater good of people or a corporation or a cause. Their labor cannot be in vain, and they need to operate out of their convictions and beliefs and what they think will make the world around them a better place.
More than a paycheck.
Some people need this in their relationships. They need to be poured into and invested in. They need to feel one-in-a-million and share in a deeper level of intimacy. They need to be needed and wanted, and to do the same for someone else. They need to feel fought for and pursued, like they bring something to the table that no one else can in that exact same way.
But regardless of the avenue, I believe we all have one thing in common: the desire for significance is the desire to have our gifts and abilities and who we are by our very nature acknowledged, appreciated, and valued.
And because this applies to me on my deepest levels, I will address how this looks from the vantage point of my heart. Maybe you feel the same?
I need to know that I am talented.
That I posses skills and abilities and gifts that are truly special.
I desire to be valued. That the things I do matter to someone else. That the time I invest in others is worth it to them. I want to feel like I have wisdom to offer and kindness to share and jokes to tell that no one has heard before.
I long to be unique.
And sometimes… this gets me tangled.
Because instead of just being noticed for how good I am at something, I need to be the best.
I often fight off the desire for the words “only”, “most” or “better than” to be used in the description of me. I am trying to tell myself that my significance does not need to be a solo spotlight, but that I can share in this with others who desire to be significant as well.
“So many people I know are blogging now. That’s fantastic. I must have a lot of friends who are great writers!” ….which is what I would say if I had any maturity in me. Instead I think, “Oh great, now that she’s blogging, no one will ever want to read my blog again.”
Because my success can only be successful as long as no one else is?
“He is speaking again? I’m so glad! I learn so much every time I hear him talk. He has great thoughts and wisdom and wonderful insights.”….is how I should talk. Instead I go straight to, “Well, it looks like I’ll never speak again. He is older and wiser and more mature and no one will think my thoughts have any value compared to his.”
Absurd, I know.
“That pie! It is SO good!! I need to get the recipe from you!” is said to some of my friends every time they bring a baked good to an event. It’s like whatever they touch in the kitchen turns to gold. And I assume since their dessert tasted like a slice of heaven, the food I brought might as well be thrown away. Why do I even bother?
Okay, I’m getting a bit dramatic.
But it’s to illustrate the ridiculous thoughts I have, and how my desire to matter–which in and of itself isn’t bad–can morph into this need to be queen–which is not okay for about 1000 reasons–and not who I want to be.
I don’t know why I feel like my significance is made small by someone else’s. But I want to call it out and deal with it before it damages my relationships, or even my self esteem.
Part of the issue might be that comparison seems to creep in and begins to battle it out with my desire to be significant (more to read on that topic in my previous post Robbed By Comparison).
Another part of this is my own insecurity.
That if someone else is good, they must be better.
That if someone else is talented, it’s most likely more than me.
That if someone else received a compliment on their outfit, it must be because I look like I rolled out of a cardboard box this morning.
Can I hear myself??? What in the world does their success, their abilities, their talents, or their choice in fashion have to do with ME?
Why do I assume that the world is too small for more than 1 person who can bake or write or draw or parent or work or love or entertain like a champ?
Why can’t there be a whole bunch of us, good at so many of the same things, all existing in the same circles? Why do I put myself next to those around me, and assume that we’re all in competition for each other’s significance? Like it’s the Hunger Games of crafting and only one of us will come out alive, victorious and clearly THE BEST at all things creative.
I admit it. It’s ridiculous.
I want to celebrate my friends in their many talents and accomplishments. I want to admire the things they do well and shower them with praise. I want be someone who lifts others up rather than fighting to win out in a competition for something we both can have in our own ways.
These things tug at us from our core. Our longing to be known and cared for, to change our world in someone way. We need to matter to someone in someway. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
What becomes bad is when we’re edging others out and dimming the lights so that instead of a bright room full of life and talent and light, we create a darkness with a spotlight to fight for. We make someone else’s success a threat to our own, when it was never meant to be that way.
So live life intentionally. Multiply your talents and care for your natural abilities by putting them into practice. Because what you say matters. And what you do matters. And who you are carries importance. And know that people around you are watching what you do with what you have in your corner of the world.
Because I guarantee… you are more influential and more significant than you think you are.