At some point in your life, you may have come across the painful feeling of insignificance. Maybe you felt unappreciated at work, ignored at home, or invisible to the world. While everyone will feel like this at some point in their lives, it’s important to move beyond those feelings and reclaim the life you were born to live.
Why do I feel insignificant?
I am the middle child of three boys in my family and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I’ve felt overlooked. Not because my parents were bad (actually, they were super awesome!), but because the people in our lives just happened to be more interested in the things my older and younger brothers were up to. I remember that as a kid, during long days at church, I would ditch the youth group to do my own thing. I loved having my own alone time to explore and learn about the world that was UNLV in Paradise, Nevada. Looking back on it, it wasn’t the safest thing for a teenager to do. Somehow, I would always return after hours of being away with no one noticing I was gone. That feeling of not being thought of painted me with a pain I bore for years that left me thinking that I wasn’t important to the people in my life.
I’ve often found myself suffering alone in life - even when I knew my family, friends, and God all surrounded me with love I could not feel worthy of accepting. Loneliness is the most terrifying feeling I have experienced. The pain of surviving a tragedy or carrying a burden but never being able to express it hurt the most. Nevertheless, I was wrong.
Suffering in silence or in loneliness are troubles I would never wish upon my worst enemy. You’ve probably been there too. Some days I stop myself from thinking about my puny life and miniscule problems. I look up at the stars and wonder if anything out there can relate. Do my feelings, my problems, my life even matter in this infinite space?
Do I matter?
Hanging on my wall at work is a gold foil replica of the Golden Record cover that was attached to the Voyager probes, which were launched into space 40 years ago by NASA and the UN. For background, the golden records were 12-inch gold-plated copper disks meant to be played on the phonograph attached to the spacecraft. The record contains images, music, sounds and greetings of Earth and the human race. Jimmy Carter, then US President, had this to say to who or whatever may come across the disc:
Carl Sagan and his team wanted to remind humanity that our place in this great big universe is insignificant and unimportant. Personally, I must admit that I have always agreed with Dr. Sagan’s teachings that we have a false belief of privilege in the universe. Yet somehow, at the same time, I believe that the rarity and impossibility of the accident of our creation is the only proof I need that a God who loves us so much decided to whisk us all into this universal plane to live, laugh and love together. I used to ask myself “why even worry about making a difference if life is so insignificant?” Although, with time, I have learned to ask, “If the Earth is so small, why haven’t I changed the world for the better yet?”
Know this: God absolutely loves you. There is nothing you will ever be able to do lose that love. God’s grace stretches so much further than a cosmic microwave background radiation map can illustrate. The undeserved love we are flooded with is more than enough to justify your existence and significance in this universe.
You. You reading this right now. You are important. You matter. Your story matters. Your experiences, thoughts and dreams matter. All that’s left for you to do is live into your story – constantly creating, editing and rewriting. Regardless of how many days you have breathed on this planet, you have to make the most of each and every breath.
I wrote this as a satellite call to the ones who feel separated from the world around them. To the ones who are heart broken, to the forgotten, the lonely. I wanted to let you know that I do think about you. Someone cares about you. God loves you.
Paul Gomez is the Manager, Hispanic/Latino Seeker Communications at United Methodist Communications. He hails from Las Vegas, NV and currently lives in Nashville, TN.
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[Posted October 26, 2019]