I Craved Significance
I grew up living for the praise of others – fellow athletes, classmates, and my family; living for trophies, awards, recognition, and popularity. At the root of it I craved significance. I wanted people to know who I was, to look up to me, and to value my presence. Not all of this was selfish – in fact, often I thought about how I could live in such a way as to be a positive influence on others – though many times it certainly was for the sake of improving my own self-image.
I tried fervently to be perfect.
I wanted to have the best batting average, the best arm on the team, the highest GPA, the right answer to every question the teacher asked – and when I didn’t, it bothered me.
What’s worse was when I achieved those things, my self-satisfaction ballooned. I wasn’t overtly arrogant, in fact I don’t think many people who knew me in high school or college would say I was conceited, but in my heart and in my mind, what mattered most to me was how others perceived me. If perfection was being achieved, I was elated, confident, and ready for the next challenge. If I failed, I got down on myself hard, didn’t talk much, thought often about how embarrassing my imperfection was, and wondered what people thought or said about me. My identity was wrapped up entirely in what other people thought about me. I had a deep-rooted fear that if I was anything less than perfect, the people in my life would no longer appreciate me.
When Christ entered my life, the fears of not being remembered or not being significant to someone disappeared. The Bible revealed to me God, who has forever been faithful to me, who never has nor ever will forsake me, and who will always look favorably on me because of Christ’s work. Nothing I could do (or fail to do) would make Him leave me. I learned that in my imperfection, Christ’s power is made visible to the world (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Pride and arrogance are scary things, and they defined my life prior to Christ.
But the Gospel has an answer to these sins. A passage that has comforted me, and illustrates the power of the Gospel to transform lives (mine in particular) says:
“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD” ~Jeremiah 9:23-24