Everybody wants to be somebody.
We desire significance. We want to be recognized; we want to be known; we want to be loved. We want to be important. This cry for value and dignity bubbles from caverns deep in every human heart. If we are truly to be whole people, we must understand our honest need.
We are not random collections of organic molecules that happened to develop consciousness; so our desire for esteem is part of our very nature, and it is good. But our consumption-obsessed society tells us we aren’t quite good enough. Make yourself better-looking, get more money, acquire more stuff; then you’ll be fulfilled and achieve real success. We desire outward signs to display our preeminence.
Unfortunately, when we seek at any cost to be important in the eyes of others, it is easy to lose sight of the beauty to be found in another person. We are too busy accomplishing great and mighty deeds. The world’s attitude is summed up in the famous line from Gilbert & Sullivan: “When everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody” (The Gondoliers).
But our Father turns that on its head, because in His great heart, everyone is somebody, and no one’s nobody!
As I have written elsewhere, when we lose ourselves in Him and His desire and purpose, we become more ourselves than we ever can apart from His will. But when we let rightful desires within us run wild and unchecked, they turn into cravings; and cravings, unchallenged, turn into addictions.
My craving for significance is calmed by realizing that it can never be fulfilled by another human, and it cannot be pacified even if I “improve myself.” My heart is at peace when I realize the truth that Yeshua, the Creator and King of the universe, “greatly desires my beauty” (Psalm 45:11). He is the one who created me, created you, created everyone who lives, and He has placed within each of us a tiny expression of His glory.
Somehow, although none of us can really understand it, the eternal tabernacles in the temporal.
So, why do I crave recognition from any person? If I spend my time and energy trying to receive honor from people instead of God alone, it short-circuits my faith and my ability to live truly as I was meant to.
During one of His encounters with leaders in Jerusalem, Jesus issued this stinging rebuke:
I do not accept glory from men, but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves….How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that comes from God alone? (John 5:41-42, 44 TLV).
If I scurry about seeking approval from others, I miss intimacy with the one true Source of life who alone can validate my existence. Connected with Him, I have the courage to live selflessly, full of love for others, desiring their good and being willing to pour out my life for them, as Yeshua poured out His life for me.
I will also find myself free to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.