That’s me. There. Where the arrow is pointing. What do you mean, you can’t see me…I’m there if you could look closely enough. Waving? Yellow T-Shirt. Just left of Ascot? No….?
This is a picture of earth as viewed from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft as it passed Saturn (you can see the rings at the top of the picture). Saturn is over a million miles from earth. You and I are one of 7 billion people on our planet. 7 billion of us on that pin prick of light in the distance. So when talking about significance, this brings a certain sense of perspective.
This week I’ve had the privilege to be leading another worship team as we work towards holding a joint event with a local church. We’ve had several meetings to plan the event, to share out the jobs, create an order of service and pool the bands together. Yesterday we had our final rehearsal before Sunday, with a mix of musicians from both churches. And while we made a joyful noise, and worked very well together, there was still a sense of apprehension on my part. In my head I was thinking; “am I good enough for this”, “someone else could probably do it better than I”, “maybe I should stick to drums” and “what do the rest of the band really think about me?”. But we had a great rehearsal, the songs sound great, and Sunday is going to be fantastic.
All of us have self doubt at points, some more than others. Many of us question our significance, especially in today’s media driven society where our self is so often measured by our jobs, our income, our looks and our possessions. When you meet someone for the first time the opening questions are frequently based on what you do, or where you live, maybe the car you drive, even the clothes you are wearing. “Because you’re worth it”! But my life isn’t defined by the clothes I wear or the car I drive, and my significance isn’t coupled to my job or my income.
All of us want to make some sort of a difference in our lives. Whether we have the ambition to do something on a grand scale, to “Change the World!”, or something closer to home. Or to simply be a great friend, a fantastic parent, a loving sibling, the choice is ours. So often all we need to do is to see the need, have the courage to step up, and just be available…to have the confidence to take action, and to give ourselves the permission to do so. I ummed and ahhhed for a while before I started this blog…as everyone blogs, everyone probably does it better than me, and who am I to do this? And I put it off, and I thought I wasn’t interesting enough, or experienced enough, not quite cool enough…(and clearly even just using the word cool automatically means I am not). But then I just gave myself permission (and a kick) to start it, because if I don’t do it, no-one else will. And here it is. And if it’s read by 1 person (currently my wife) or 1,000,000, whether it helps 10 churches or 100,000, whether it inspires one leader or a whole congregation, it will have made a difference.
This clip, from Notting Hill, (one of my all time favourite movies…I think Julia Roberts has never been better) illustrated the point when we did a Sunday on insignificance. All the friends have just suffered another badly cooked meal and are competing over the last chocolate brownie as to who is the most deserving of it. But to win it, they have to argue as to who is the biggest failure. Including a multi-millionaire film actress who is a surprise birthday party guest.
Significance. Self-Worth. Importance. We all have the ability to make a difference, create an impact, and to make something of ourselves. But do we need to first give ourselves permission, and the confidence to carry it out? I am going to lead the band on Sunday with confidence in my ability, knowing that I am doing the best I can do, with a team behind me that are following my lead. There are 7 billion people on this planet, but only I can lead the band this way, only I can write my blog, and I am the only husband to Hannah and dad to Abi, Naomi and Joel. That’s pretty significant to me.