Significance Vs. Fame

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“If anonymity was the price you would have to pay for significance, would it be too great a price?”

I’ve been pondering this question, posed by Erwin McManus in his book Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul.

I long to live a life that matters. A life that impacts the world, far beyond my own little existence. One that changes the course of history, yea even eternity.

I think this longing is normal. Everyone wants to know that their life has meaning and purpose, that what they do and how they live makes a difference to someone else.

I also long to be known. I hunger to be seen, to be noticed, to be understood. To be on the forefront of someone’s mind. For my company to be sought. For my opinions and preferences, my dreams and desires, to be valued.

I think this longing is normal as well. I think the hunger to be known and to live a life that matters are part of the “God-shaped hole” Blaise Pascal spoke about. I believe God placed this longing—this need to be Significant—in the heart of every person, in part at least, to woo us to Him: the only true source of Significance.

God promises that He sees me. That my life matters to Him, and to history.

So why am I often seduced by Significance’s counterfeit, Fame?

Why do I sometimes hunger for someone to write on my Facebook wall or “like” the picture I posted more than I labor to seek out and bless others via social media?

Why do I sometime revel more in seeing that X many people—or Person X—read my blog post, than in dreaming about how something I wrote might change someone’s life by drawing them closer to the heart of Christ?

Why am I sometimes jealous when others receive recognition?

Why do I sometimes feel desperate when my name isn’t even mentioned among others as a possibility to fill a role?

Why has the descent into stay-at-home-motherhood so often been a struggle for me?

“If anonymity was the price you would have to pay for significance, would it be too great a price?”

I don’t know. I’m still wrestling with this question.

3 thoughts on “Significance Vs. Fame

  1. I can so relate to these thoughts and feelings. I have (at times) prayed for “anonymity” and then when I go unnoticed… I am mad, hurt or frustrated. The truth is that His recognition alone is many times not enough for me…The motives behind numerous things I do are seemingly always for selfish gain and recognition from others. I wrestle too. Thanks so much for sharing these thoughts, friend.

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  2. “I also long to be known. I hunger to be seen, to be noticed, to be understood. To be on the forefront of someone’s mind. For my company to be sought. For my opinions and preferences, my dreams and desires, to be valued.”
    This is what you should have gotten from your parents and no doubt didn't. That longing is the most painful I know. With proper therapy (which is hard to find) it can be healed – at least that's what i'm trying to do. And i see some progress. The hole inside you is probably a parent-shaped hole. I think once that is healed the longing for fame etc would probably disappear, the critic would greatly disappear (who in your past does the critic sound like), and life might feel a whole lot better. Check out the need for attachment and attunement in child development.

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