I write myself thousands of letters. Some I keep, folding them into tight, tiny pieces; some I toss down creeks and streams, attempting to let go of my misery. I walk along the creek line following the letter, until it’s floating so far I no longer see the damp words on the page.
In one letter I wrote to myself, I was begging God for significance. You see, I have longed — and am longing, and will continue to long — to do worthwhile work.
I have never been satisfied with what feels ordinary.
I scratched out a list of what I want to achieve. I don’t need to write a dozen novels, but a few really good ones would be nice. I want to create documentaries and be an advocate for girls who have been raped and trafficked. I want to write and illustrate children’s books for my sister’s baby.
In and between all these things, I want to take huge risks and meet remarkable people and do meaningful, worthwhile things.
I wrote this to myself and I wrote this to Jesus.
Last night I talked with one of my good friends. We’re working at a camp for the summer, and as I spoke with her, Jesus spoke to me. He’s been communicating with me that way recently, whispering words I need to hear through the lips of people He’s tenaciously placed in my fragile life.
My friend is seventeen and extraordinary, and as she looked out at the trees that cast shadows against the willowy grass, she said, “I’m afraid I won’t be significant.”
For a split second I wondered if she’d been reading my letters. Did she know how insignificant I always seem to feel? Did she understand my doubts about living a seemingly unremarkable life?
I found the same spot in the trees she was staring at. The moon shone white bright and the stars were wide awake too.
I told her the truth. “You already are significant.”
She let out a long breath and Jesus sat next to me on the steps and said: Aliza, so are you.
I felt cold even beneath the warm summer night sky, and I turned to view her profile, desperately wanting to get through to her what I believe deep within me: that nothing she could do or say or prove could ever lessen her significance in this world.
The moon watched me. I felt Jesus whisper softly, kindly, that still small voice: Aliza, what you want to tell her is exactly what I’ve been telling you.
I’m petrified I won’t be remarkable, that instead I’ll simply be ordinary. My friend was brave and vulnerable, and she voiced her fears not realizing she was also voicing all of mine. I’m six months into this year of no fear, yet I’ve been scared more times than I can count.
I weigh significance in my hand as though it’s something I have to earn, yet I know the truth that I should tattoo across my heart is this: we’re already significant.
Jesus weaved significance into our every fiber from the moment we were formed. He looped value like a necklace against our collarbones, declaring with a symbol the shape of a cross that we are a people worth loving. When I allow myself to let go of my fear and pain, when I drape my body across His love and lean in to who He is and who He says I am, I can believe — truly — that He created me significant.
I pulled my friend close and thanked Jesus. Even in my longing, He placed someone to remind me of my worth. I often forget how well He knows me. As I left her porch steps last night, I walked down the pathway and was reminded that when we follow in the steps of Jesus, begging to live a significant life so that He may be glorified, He will grant us the desires of our hearts.
I wrote another letter. Some I float down the creek, and some I keep tucked in secret spots, but this one I gave away. To my dear friend who sat on the porch with me alongside the moon and stars and Jesus, and I scratched down words to remind her of her significance because Jesus reminded me of mine.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Beautiful Aliza…does it help to know that I am 54 years old and some days I am still searching for my significance in all sorts of other things and Jesus has to whisper to me, like He does to you, “You are significant because you are Mine!”? Grasping that amazing fact that our significance is found only in being God’s creation is a journey that lasts a lifetime. Yes, I feel more comfortable with the fact than I did when I was 20 something, but I look forward to continuing to grow in the knowledge and love for how ever many years I have left on this earth. Then, when I go to Heaven, I will finally grasp it fully…right now I see dimly. God has given you those dreams in your heart. He as also given you a lifetime to live them out. He doesn’t expect for them all to happen in the next year. Be patient with yourself blessed one. God is doing, and will continue to do great things through you. I have found that He moves more slowly than I do, a lot, so that I may grow in patience and expectation.
Love and ((hugs)) on a beautiful post!
I chuckled reading this. I was overwhelmed with this very thing last night, with Aliza’s very heart desires for children’s books, helping girls, traveling and even connecting with extraordinary people. My thoughts tired me. I surrendered to bedtime to give my head and my emotions a break. I arose this morning to this sweet devotion from Jesus through you.
Thank you for reminding me that I am significant.
This morning I woke up feeling very insignificant, unloved and not worth very much. I was completely focused on “me” and I let myself brew in my own pity pot. And then I prayed, “Lord, please show me that you love me!” He did. He brought me to your post. Thank you for the reminder that we ARE loved! That we ARE significant, no matter what we’ve done, no matter what’s been done to us – we are always loved and we are significant! Thank you for sharing your heart and for letting God use you to help others. You are a blessing!
Ellie Stailey says
This is so true, Aliza!
I was recently dealing with this same issue, wanting significance and purpose in my life, holding onto this hope that I would one day do something great. I was overseas on a missions trip, doing what should feel like something important and significant, but I still didn’t feel like I was doing or being anything that could be considered great. And then I stumbled on this verse in Psalm 18:35. It says, “(His) gentleness has made me great.” Yeah, crazy. My definition of “great” has always been the bigger and the better. But His definition of great is completely different. Gentleness. The slow pace, the ever-so-slight incline, the ordinary and the seemingly insignificant. That’s great in God’s eyes. It’s saying yes to the here and the now no matter what that looks like.
Anyway, I think you’re onto something. 🙂 Keep at it!
Nanci Umphres says
What a beautiful post this morning. I have missed you in the last several weeks; was curious what you have been up to.
As women, at least, if not as human beings, we struggle at every stage of life with significance. You are not alone by any stretch of the imagination.
Your post spoke directly to me today too, as to these other women who commented before. This response by itself points to just one way Jesus is using you today to minister to each of us.
You are a beautiful child of God; filled with His Spirit and an inspiration and joy to follow through your posts.
Thank you for sharing your heart with us.
Love this post so much! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Aliza, you have an amazing gift. This writing is wise and beautiful! May you know that you know that you know….into the depths of your heart…that you ARE significant!
Oh, Aliza. What a beautiful post. Such words of wisdom here.
I suspect most every woman struggles with the fear of being utterly insignificant. We each must come to the place that you’re journeying to. That place where we understand our significance doesn’t come from what we do, or achieve. It doesn’t come from how well we serve. Our significance comes simply because Jesus says we are His, therefore we are significant. He loves us, and that is enough.
I still struggle with this fear some days. It’s getting easier, the older I get. As I lean into Whose I am, it’s easier to rest in who I am.
Loved your post today.
Angela Sangalang says
Beautifully said Aliza. A great reminder to all of us, but it spoke directly into my heart. Thank you!
Madeline Osigian says
Rebecca Jones says
Aliza, I’ve been writing since I was little, I have some things in the works but I put some poetry out on the web just to be a blessing. I wanted you to know that you are very significant, you have a way with words and turn a beautiful phrase, never doubt the gift you have been given, it is blossoming. Jesus can use that to benefit so many young people.
Lisa Petrarca says
Thank you for sharing your heart Aliza! It speaks to mine and so many other people who wonder if their life is making a difference. Continue to sit quietly with JESUS as HE always reveals truth. Hugs beautiful girl. Keep writing. Keep sharing. Keep letting The LORD shine brightly in and through you…for HE is always more than enough.
Beth Williams says
Such wise words from a young person. Everyone wants to be significant and do great things. God says it’s in the little ways that we serve Him that we are significant. The world gives us a different view…make money, be famous, etc. But God says it’s in the minute small stuff of everyday life. My significance is visiting my aging dad at the assisted living 3X weekly. Everyone has something they can do and God loves cheerful workers!