There are few things in our world as painful as the blight of insignificance. We all want to know that we are valued by others—and not just for what we can do, but for who we are.
I remember a time when a local borough employee was vacuuming leaves on our street with what some of us locals affectionately call the leaf sucker. Upon hearing the monotonous hum of the large machine down the road, I ran out into my yard and began feverishly raking my neighbor’s leaves (which had blown into my yard) toward the curb.
Raking leaves sounds easy, but it’s actually a lot of work—especially when the pile is big and a person is in a hurry. After what seemed like an eon or two, I was only a few feet from the curb. By this time I was breathing heavily, my hands were beginning to blister and my shirt was stained with sweat. And there he came, the leaf sucker driver, a gray old guy about a 2 ½ days away from retirement.
Time froze momentarily as we stared into each other’s eyes, but alas, no heartfelt connection was to be made. Actually, it felt like the old geezer looked right through me! He simply kept on driving while I stood there exasperated—a mere 5 feet from the curb! In that moment a myriad of emotions flooded my heart—feelings of rejection, hurt, frustration and anger to name a few.
My guess is that we can easily come to a common consensus that insignificance sucks worse than that old leaf collector, but have you ever taken the time to wonder why insignificance and rejection are so painful to the human psyche?
Our ancient ancestors, Adam & Eve, were created in the very image of God. One thing is for sure about God—He is glorious! (My personal definition of glory is exalted greatness.) As long as they were in relationship with their loving Father, Mom & Dad were clothed in God’s glory. But as soon as they chose to go rogue, that covering of glory was removed and they found themselves naked and ashamed.
A helpful metaphor in understanding the nature of our relationship to God is the comparison between a moon and a star. A star has light (glory) within itself. A moon emits light only as a reflection of that star. Remove the moon from the star’s influence and it immediately goes dark. So it is with the human race. Our continued independence from God blackens the light of our individual and collective soul(s).
The problem is that we were created and wired for glory–our separation from God resulting in a never-ending glory deficiency. And so we crave glory. We crave it through an attractive appearance. We crave it through athletic prowess. We crave it through wealth and all of its accoutrements. We crave it through the pursuit of knowledge and college degrees. And most of all, we crave it through the approval of others.
Human glory is nothing short of intoxicating (at least for the moment), but like the unstoppable outgoing tide of the sea, glory flees, leaving the soul dark and empty. Of course, our natural response is to begin the pursuit all over again—laboring anew for yet another incoming tide of self-validation.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for glory!
I am so thankful that God has a better plan for each and every one of us! Stay tuned!