Do you know how important you are on this earth? You matter. A lot. There was a very specific moment in time when the God of the universe called you into existence. Whoever you are. Whatever you have done with the life you were given. You matter. Life can beat you up and wear you down to the point where you forget you really matter. You have many precious and wonderful characteristics which uniquely belong to you. Have you stopped lately to think about that?
I would guess mostly nobody does that. For one thing, it is easy to spend time comparing ourselves to everyone else. We take comfort from knowing he/she is wider, heavier, slower, poorer, older, or less-able than us. On the flip side we see those who are narrower, lighter, quicker, richer, younger and more-able than we are. And our ego is checked. But comparing ourselves to others is exhausting. And trying to become less or more like them can cause us to take the focus off what really matters about us.
In a classroom one time we were having a discussion about what the students' favorite thing to do with their spare time was. Often a person's favorite things to do in her spare time are things which reflect her individuality even if she doesn't identify them that way. After a lively discussion with the first five students, it was time to hear from the sixth. That individual said, “I don’t do anything in my spare time. I am a boring person. I’m just boring, that’s all.” And no matter how much we tried to dig a little deeper, the seventeen-year-old continued to shrug and hold onto the belief he/she had no interests, there was nothing special about him/her and he/she was just a boring person. Maybe that person didn't want to speak up after hearing what everyone else had going on. Or maybe that person really believed they were not unique at all.
It frustrated me so much, because I know every individual is special, but we risk losing our sense of that when we compare ourselves to everyone around us - and I was trying so hard to convey that to the class. Who defines a boring person? Who defines you? Who defines me? There shouldn't be anyone else in my life allowed to do that because my niche in this world is not yours and yours is not mine. If I spend too much time examining the lives of people I meet and know and comparing mine to theirs I risk becoming lost in the hopeless knowledge I will never be what they are or have what they have. Or I will start pursuing an image that was never mine to pursue in the first place and will lose a lot of time figuring out my unique purpose and contributions to this world.
I think another reason we don’t take time to examine our lives and appreciate our uniqueness is because we are so busy. We don’t spend much time alone and when we do we are exhausted from our schedules and just watch TV or read or do something mindless to occupy those moments. But I think developing our understanding of who we are and how our differences can contribute something new and fresh to life is critical to achieving the full and satisfying existence we are meant to have. And we should accept the fact what we bring to the table might not be something that will rock the entire world, but our unique contribution is essential to the weave in the tapestry of life.
I believe if we impact even just one person in an unusual way because we are unique we have tweaked eternity and mocked those who would make us feel we are not quite what we should be. You matter. You are important. You are unique. You can contribute. How? Make time to figure that out. You have something you are not sharing as you should. Don't let anyone or anything else define you. Share the unique gift you have. Let's see it!