I've been thinking a lot about how the same fear can cause seemingly opposite responses in different individuals. Perfectionism, for instance, can cause some people to work themselves into a frenzy and others to procrastinate.
And though I do not recommend the book, one of the more interesting insights from the book Captivating was the observation that women who have been hurt in relationships often respond in one of two ways: by either becoming controlling or desolate.
The cure for these things is not a higher view of ourselves, but a higher view of God. I like how Hannah Anderson unpacks this in her book Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God's Image. In this section, Hannah is talking about feelings of insignificance. But isn't that the root of a lot of our negative emotions? I believe it is.
The fear that our lives lack significance, that we are merely specks of dust floating in the massive cosmos, can easily spark the search for identity. When you consider the enormity of the universe, when you realize that Earth itself comprises only an infinitesimal part of it, and when you recognize that you are only one out of the billions of people who have lived, it's easy to feel small. Add to this the fact that we must devote vast amounts of time on the basics of daily life (I once calculated that in my lifetime I will prepare nearly 50,000 meals for my family), and it's a wonder we all don't run off to exotic places in search of ourselves!____________________________
This fear that we simply trudge through our allotted days without ever making a difference drives some women on a never-ending pursuit of success and perfection. From the fast-paced executive always scrambling for the next deal to the tiger mom bent on shaping her child into a future Supreme Court justice, we are hounded by the thought that our existence will somehow e worthless unless we achieve quantifiable success. For others, this same fear causes them to retreat into their own zone of comfort and hide from the greater world, content to be a big fish in a small pond if it means avoiding the constant reminders of their limitations and irrelevance.
And yet the deeper magic is that no matter how small we may feel—no matter how small we actually may be—we are not insignificant. We are not lost in the grand cosmos. We do matter. But it's not because of anything we've done; it's because of something God did back at the beginning. Because back when God created all this beauty, all this life, all this splendor, He capped it off with one final masterpiece—one that He did not leave to words alone. No, for this final masterpiece, He stooped down and left His own fingerprints in the dust.
And that final masterpiece was us.
Hannah Anderson, Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image (Chicago: Moody, 2014), 31.
(In case you missed it, Kim reviewed this book a few months back.)