In these days following the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer's Conference (BRMCWC), I'm revisiting this slightly updated post - one of my most popular posts from last summer - when I compared myself to the writing and photography of others online. At BRMCWC, the tendency was for me to measure my gifts and abilities with the amazing and creative faculty and fellow conference attendees. The feelings of insignificance are the same.
In contrast to my relatively quiet, isolated life in the rural south, I've had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing a variety of well-known personalities, and one of the insights I've gleaned from these relationships is that feelings of insignificance can be common to us all.
It's not that we all want to be famous - we just want to know that whatever it is we are doing - the project(s) in which we are investing our time and energy - are somehow meaningful and not only making a positive difference in our lives, but in the lives of those within our circle of influence.
Every now and then, I catch a glimpse of how far the weight of our words and actions can travel - and it is both encouraging and sobering.
I may feel insignificant - but that's what the enemy wants me to believe
. He would like to discourage us in the hope that we will become apathetic and give up our momentary calling - whether it's delivering the mail, writing the next best-selling novel, raising godly children, or running for political office.
One day last summer, I decided to visit the blogs of some of my favorite writers and photographers and send a word of encouragement their way. Some where along that pilgrimage through cyberspace, I began to compare my writing and photography with each of them...and of course, I fell short.
By the time that "journey of encouragement" was over, I was ready to throw away my business cards, sell my camera, delete my blog, and disappear into the isolation of rural life on Pollywog Creek.
I'm sure you know where I stumbled.
When I cease to focus on encouraging others and begin to compare my gifts and the fruit of those gifts with the gifts and fruit of others, I also make false judgements about the value of those gifts and can easily be tempted to feel insignificant and covet.
What I need to remember is that He who began a good work in me (and you) will complete it, that His plans and purposes for my life are good and perfect for me, and that as I (all of us) stay focused on living a life worthy of my calling, I (we) can be confident that by His grace what I(we) do and who I am (we are), loved and chosen of God, is more than significant.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3.12-17
What about you? Do you compare your gifts with others? What causes you to feel insignificant?