Two significant lies about significance, part 1

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There are at least two lies Satan will whisper in your ear about your significance.

LIE #1: You’re not important.

There are 7 billion people in the world (give or take a few several handfuls of millions).

What makes you special? You aren’t significant, especially compared to that significant person over there.

Sometimes we’re able to shut down such thoughts…other times, we’re crushed. We follow the road most traveled. Destination, self-pity.

The answer to Lie #1 rests securely in your identity.

That you’ve been created in the image of God. You and every person you meet are image bearers of God. “We are God’s workmanship,” wrote the Apostle Paul to some folks in the 1st century struggling with identity.

Just like art curators and experts identify works of art based on certain characteristics or styles of an artist, you are identified as this remarkable work of God because you bear His image. You have the capacity to think and feel and love and imagine possibilities of what could be.

King David captures this beautifully in Psalm 139.13-14

For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well.

I know. It should say “fearfully and wonderfully…” You start using fearfully in everyday conversation and I’ll change it.

For now, though, you are awe-inspiring, worthy of reverence, distinct, distinguished, set apart. Just how you felt after your last screw up, right?

Think about the fact that the Spirit of the living God inspired David to write that about you, of all people! You. You are remarkable and wondrous. A work of God.

But sometimes you don’t feel remarkable, do you?

Our failures have a way of reminding us how unremarkable we can be. It’s in those moments we feel this thing called SHAME.

SHAME tells its own lies: (Brené Brown gave a TED talk on this that went viral)

  • Shame says you didn’t just make a mistake. You are a mistake.
  • Shame says you didn’t just fail. You are your failure.

And in those moments when shame or guilt or fear or insecurity crowds in and starts telling you lies, that’s when you have to proclaim these gospel truths:

  • I am a work of God.
  • I am loved by God.

Until you are able to embrace the deep reality that you are loved by God simply for being, you will always struggle to feel significant because your identity is not secure. More than likely you will seek identity in what you do, a responsibility of some kind.

But in God’s economy, identity precedes responsibility.

It’s why God came to Abraham and established a relationship before sending Him out. It’s why God established a relationship with Moses and Israel b/f giving the law.

You have been created by God…You couldn’t be loved by God any more than you are in this very moment. Drink it in.

I’ll post Lie #2 soon enough, so check back. Better yet, subscribe and have each new post sent straight to your inbox.

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Good Will Hunting and God

One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is in Good Will Hunting (set in Boston, starring Bostonians Damon and Affleck–#GetBeard–#GoSox!!) when Sean, played by Robin Williams, is assuring Will Hunting, played by young Matt Damon, that all the events of his past are not his fault. Sean begins: “It’s not your fault.” Yeah, I know. “It’s not your fault.” I know. “No, no you don’t. It’s not your fault.” I know. “It’s not your fault…” Good.Will.Hunting.1997.XviD.DTS.CD3-WAF.avi_001529070

The scene goes on until Will breaks down and his otherwise tough facade crumbles.

What if someone approached you and repeatedly said, “You’re not God.” I know. “You’re not God.” Yeah, I know. “No, no you don’t. You’re not God.” I know!

I feel like that’s what God does to me when I respond in a less than stellar way to the unexpected.

So much of life is unexpected.

Unexpected circumstances, be they tragic or triumphant. Unexpected people, be they pleasant or petty. Consider how much of your life is spent encountering the unexpected.

I like routines, schedules, plans, and honestly, predictability. But God is constantly messing up my plan and schedule and the predictability of life. And how do I usually respond? Anger. Anxiety. Aggravation. A litany of alliterative A-words.

But what if, in all the  unexpected, God’s doing something better than my plan? What if he’s growing me through the unexpected in a way that just wouldn’t have happened if I got my way? Can I possibly bring this back around to Good Will Hunting? You bet I can.

Will didn’t expected anyone to ‘help’ him because he didn’t think he had a problem. Eventually the barriers were broken down, as I so passionately illustrated above. But even more unexpected was the change in Sean–the bearded Boston Red Sox fan therapist.

See, Sean hadn’t taken any chances or really lived life since his wife died a few years before. But his unexpected relationship with Will changed him. He tried to resist the impact Will was having on him, but after a while he embraced it and stepped out with a renewed sense of hope.

The next time your plans are interrupted or someone slows you down, take a breath and consider whether the God of the unexpected is trying to do something unexpected in your life.