The next paragraph from Dallas Willard's The Divine Conspiracy:
Unlike egotism, the drive to significance is a simple extension of the creative impulse of God that gave us being. It is not filtered through self-consciousness any more than is our lunge to catch a package falling from someone's hand. It is outwardly directed to the good to be done. We were built to count, as water is made to run downhill. We are placed in a specific context to count in ways no one else does. That is our destiny.
Even more hope. I love this. It underscores the reconciliation that I already believe in but do not always feel the effects of.
I have been hungering mightily for a sense of significance. My faith says it is there but my day to day existence claims it is not. Whether we are overworked or underworked we are susceptible to the gremlin of meaninglessness. We reach out and try to connect. We look to our friends, pastors, family members, trying to see in their faces a positive reflection of ourselves that will show us we have meaning. Meaning, or significance, is even more important than health, comfort, financial security. I have found myself saying again and again, I can weather the hard times as long as I can see meaning in them. But I need to see meaning in my life as a whole. I need my life story to be meaningful. Maybe part of the trouble is I can't see the big picture; all I can see, hear, smell, taste and feel are the particular things that are right in front of me at any one time.
And so I rise and fall with the wind and waves. If I'm in a depression I can't see the horizon—I can't even see any hope in the morning for the afternoon. Sometimes I even feel guilty longing for significance, like it were one of those idols I must lay on the altar of God. But Dr. Willard's words refute that feeling of guilt for me. He reminds me that I was created for meaning, for signicance, in order to do good in my immediate vicinity as well as in the world at large. So I am supposed to look for significance. My friend Dave Durham said just last Sunday that seeking the kingdom of God is the same as looking for the kingdom. We look for the kingdom around us and we see it. In the same way we look for significance and see it in the love that flows from God—the love that makes good everything in creation.
Now the best part of this middle paragraph (the metaphorical cherry on this "word sundae", if you will), is the personal ID in the last part. We each have a "specific context" in which God has made us, and we each have a particular flavor to our life that no one else has, or ever will have. For me this is like a hand on my shoulder blessing me, letting me know in no uncertain terms that life is worth living for me, even for the ne'er-do-well, ne'er-'er-gonna-do-well melancholic me.
So why did I even mention (in the previous entry) the film "The Girl in the Cafe"? Because it is a parable of meaning coming out of circumstances that had no apparent meaning and, for a person like me (or like you), that is well worth noting.
To the Next Part