“And what I’ve realized is that I cling to stress because I fear I am not worthy unless I am busy. I maintain an overbooked schedule because it makes me feel needed and successful. To give up the sensation of feeling stressed, for me, would be to give up feeling significant.”
These words really caused me to think. I’ve been consciously trying to stop hurrying and to build more margin into my days. I don’t like being “busy” for the sake of it, and there are few things I enjoy more than a lazy afternoon spent reading a good novel. But what about this idea of “feeling significant”?
This is a question that seems to plague almost everyone I meet: what makes you feel significant? What makes you feel like you matter? Where does your worth come from?
The difficulties (some of which are considered in the article) come from living in a culture that values productivity over being. We tend to value doing things – if someone can do many things, the more the better! And the better they are, as a person.
As a culture, the opposite is also true: we don’t value people who can’t do a lot, whether it’s ourselves, or someone else. Think about it: what’s worse than having an “unproductive” day?
We don’t value the power of existence. Of just being. Of being present: to others, to ourselves, to God, to the world around us. The “with-ness” of a God who is “God with us”, is lost on us.
But what if we stopped thinking about our significance in terms of productivity? What if our list of “accomplishments” (see—even having such a list reveals our values!) included things like: “I didn’t multitask”; “I noticed the sky”; “I sat with my friend as she talked, and not once did I want to reach for my phone or some other distraction”? Would we consider our lives—and ourselves—more valuable for such things?
Maybe we should.
What about you? Do you struggle to root your worth in something other than accomplishments?