I AM SIGNIFICANT
By Erika P. Roberts
As Pastor Tre’ Roberts (Your Vine Connection Ministry) has been teaching on the rise and fall of Israel’s first King, Saul, I have been identifying more and more with the man, Saul. Yes, he was a King, but still just a man. The sermon “Why All This Hell” was about the hell that Saul put David through. David considered that he was as insignificant to Saul as a flea or a dead dog, certainly not worth the resources – 3,000 soldiers – Saul was directing to hunt and kill David. This sermon fit right in with the Freedom in Christ course Pastor Tre’ and I are leading. According to authors Dr. Neil Anderson and Steven Goss (Freedom in Christ: A 10-Week Life-Changing Discipleship Course), everyone has three main needs – acceptance, significance and security. Saul wanted to keep the kingdom for himself. But, God fired Saul as King and told him that He was ripping the kingdom away from him and his descendants. Saul had once seen himself as small, but after becoming King, which brought recognition to himself, his clan, and the tribe of Benjamin – all areas he would describe as the least of these – Saul wanted to keep the kingdom for himself. He had already tried to build a monument to himself. Saul made David promise that when David became King that he wouldn’t destroy Saul’s name or his legacy.
I have messed up a lot of opportunities and relationships because of my insecurity. I have fumbled my talents. I have used performance plus achievements, the world’s formula, to give me significance.
I have also put so much into being a mother and wife. I took pride in the family we created, the environment of love, provision and development. My children’s behavior and achievements were a source of pride for me. I found significance in being married, in being chosen and loved by my husband. Nothing is wrong with those things. It’s just that none of them make us significant. We already are significant. I already am significant.
When I turned 50, I did this big assessment of my life. Apparently, I could only give myself a pass or fail grade. I recounted that I had good jobs, professional growth and plenty of accolades. We lived well, never went hungry or lacked any necessity. Some of our kids were doing very well, others were in challenging stages of life. I felt like I failed my kids in some areas. I knew I forfeited some opportunities God laid out before me, and I squandered my talents. The result of my assessment was a failing grade. Failure for a performance-driven person is like a knife to the heart. I was depressed and felt worthless for months, while my friends were celebrating their milestone birthdays.
I should never compare myself to others. When I was growing up I compared myself, especially to people who seemed to have everything going for them. The moon and stars had aligned for them. But, they were not the standard for my life. No one is. God set the bar and the purpose for my life.
Don’t be mad when other people make good use of their one talent or many talents, opportunities and resources; but, you don’t. I also shouldn’t be mad if other people see and utilize my talents for their agenda, when I am unwilling to have the faith to work my talents for the purpose God has given me.
God has gifted me and called me to impact people through words, to write. I struggle to stay focused on being obedient to God, to be led by the Holy Spirit when He says go, move, do this. My natural bent is to seek opportunities to perform, to achieve, to do good deeds. When I feel low, I find someone to bless, something to immerse myself in. Then, I feel better, significant – for a moment. But it’s an empty and fleeting emotion.
Instead of focusing on getting another job, a better job, one that appeases my desire to make a difference, and that pays more money, I have to harness my flesh and be obedient to God, to go in the direction He is leading me in.
I am breaking the habits formed over a lifetime to be significant, accepted, secure. Now, I can rest in being authentic and obedient to God. My safe, significant place is in the will of God. I’m practicing walking in this rest.
Every year, a lot our employers ask us to prove our significance to the organization by providing metrics and examples of how we met the expectations or requirements of our job, and ways we went over and beyond. I track examples of my achievements and save accolades because I always complete a self-assessment to give my rating supervisor – just in case he/she didn’t know or forgot everything I did. I have a long history of receiving excellent ratings from supervisors over the last three decades. Many of the important things I handle in my current position are never seen by my peers, never discussed by me, never put on display. I accept this role, I serve with integrity and I dedicate my work to honoring God. Yet, I want those I serve to acknowledge the quality of my work in meaningful ways. I admit this gives me a sense that what I do matters and is appreciated. That sense is tantamount to me feeling significant, valued. The employer-employee relationship is set up to be quid pro quo, which is a Latin term that means “this for that.”
With God, we don’t have to keep a record of our achievements, we don’t need to be qualified for the call. He doesn’t take resumes, doesn’t accept recommendations, doesn’t have a hiring, firing or promotion board, doesn’t tally rights and wrongs to determine a numeric score for our value. He loves us all the same, perfectly, unconditionally, with tender-loving care and compassion. His thoughts toward us are good. We don’t have to be good or “perfect” to be loved by our Heavenly Father, accepted, significant or secure. He put an extraordinary value on us when He created us and fashioned us in our mother’s womb. He demonstrated His love for us when He sent His Son to die a cruel death that He didn’t deserve, so that we could be counted as righteous, blameless, forgiven; and the breach that sin created could be sealed. When we accept and confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are reconciled to God eternally. Our reward is significance, acceptance and security.
Prayer Point: Lord, thank you for creating me wonderfully, for giving me significance, acceptance and security. Help me to make right choices daily to live my life with the knowledge of Who I Am in Christ. I won’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but I’ll be transformed by the renewing of my mind with your Word, the Truth that will set me free indeed.
Who I Am in Christ (Below is a partial list of daily confessions, Freedom in Christ, page 34):
I renounce the lie that I am worthless, inadequate, helpless, or hopeless. In Christ, I am significant.
I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14)
I have been chosen and appointed by God to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I am a personal, Spirit-empowered witness of Christ’s (Acts 1:8)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6)
I am God’s workmanship, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10)
I approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! (Philippians 4:13)
I am not the great “I Am,” but by the grace of God I am what I am (Exodus 3:14, John 8:24, 28, 58)