The red dot popped up again so I dropped what I was doing to check my notification only to realize that I was invited to yet another direct sales group. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t something more exciting. Something more pressing. Something more significant.
What is it about that red dot? Why do I feel the need to drop everything, whether I’m reading my Bible or having a sweet conversation with my daughter? Why is it so compelling?
When I was little, there were no red dots. There was a mailbox on the porch and a phone with a cord but nothing quite so instantaneous – nothing that beckoned my attention so strongly and discreetly.
This stage of life has been a challenging one. As a stay-at-home mom and blogger, I have struggled with remembering that my significance is in Christ alone. In my prior life before motherhood, I had a high-profile job on a church staff. To a degree, I put my identity in my role and my seminary training. As a result, I often find myself grasping for significance where it simply cannot be found.
When I get to the heart of the matter, I get excited about the potential of someone on the other end of the red dot who related to something I said, looked at my blog or just liked the funny meme I posted. My true intention is never to seek the approval of others but sin is subtle and the enemy knows our weaknesses.
Especially as women, who think 12 thoughts while simultaneously juggling just as many tasks, the enemy likes to fly under the radar. Our most destructive thoughts are the ones we are least aware of and it is absolutely no coincidence that these temptations emerge when we least expect them – usually at the most chaotic of times.
It’s difficult to admit that those dots gave me a subtle, but present, feeling of being needed, wanted and valued – nevermind the fact that it was in a social media realm that doesn’t truly exist. All the while, my Creator and Savior sits waiting for me to open my eyes to where my true significance lies. He beckons me to cultivate the one relationship that matters most but I’m too caught in my own web of self-involvement that His grace-filled invitations often go unnoticed.
As an experiment, I decided to delete facebook from my phone at least for a time. I left it on my computer because it is still a tool I use it to keep up with friends and to share blog posts. Deleting it from my phone made is much less accessible and therefore less enticing. Here are some things I discovered:
- Drug-like Habit – Even after deleting it from my phone, I would mindlessly pick it up with the intention to scroll through my newsfeed. Almost like an involuntary reflex, I picked it up over a dozen times the first day out of pure habit.
- What I Missed Out On – At the end of the day, I looked forward to going to my computer to see ALL the amazing content I must have missed. To my surprise, I missed nothing – unless you count some empty notifications and the chance to learn about these beauties from a friend’s post.
- New Focus – I completed tasks faster and was much more focused as I worked on them.
- Mental Excuse – My mornings were smoother. I realized I would lay in bed and scroll through my newsfeed purely out of hesitation to “start my day”. I would often use my phone as a mental excuse to not do something I dreaded or feared.
- Pray Instead – When I got the itch to check my phone, I decided to pray instead. After just one week, my prayer life has been much better am giving my fears to God instead of just avoiding those situations by checking my phone.
The problem isn’t social media so much as what social media provides – instant gratification – quick and easy access to the things we desire most. In our eyes, it can be a catalyst to what we hold dear – but in reality, it only supplies quick delivery on flawed goods. Like hoping to find a rare diamond in a gumball machine, we look to the wrong place for what we need most.
The things that give us true meaning and fulfillment take time, work and commitment: Relationships, job fulfillment, contentment – “there’s no app for that”.
So often, we fall into the trap of seeking good things in the wrong location. This is the very crux of our humanity. Just like Eve who sought knowledge – but from the forbidden tree, or Sarah who sought motherhood – but in her own time-frame by having her husband lay with her maidservant.
Fortunately, our significance doesn’t come from how much others notice us. It’s quite the contrary. What God has called you to do, although seemingly insignificant is important simply because He has called you to do it.
We are significant because our connection to Him and Him alone, no matter our status. Don’t confuse your significance with your station in life. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a CEO, we all play an important role in God’s plan.
What if we evaluated Mary’s significance by her station in life at the time of Christ’s birth. She was an average Jewish woman giving birth in today’s equivalent of a barn, and not the white shiplap type. However, her intrinsic value as a child of God and the mother of our Savior makes her an invaluable tool for God’s purposes. Our surroundings and status are independent of our worth as they are props on the stage of His divine plan to bring about His will in our lives.
Our significance comes not because of how many see what we do but significance comes because of our connection to Christ. God loves to use ordinary things and make them extraordinary. Simply say yes to God’s plans. Use your ordinary life to serve and extraordinary Savior.
If you find yourself constantly checking your phone often and for no apparent reason, what are you hoping to get from it? Is it significance or something else entirely? What do you feel like you are missing and where are you running to fill the desires that only Christ can? Take a minute to pray about that and you’ll be amazed at the freedom of remembering where your significance lies.
‘Til Next Time,