“It was going to be one of Rabbit’s busy days. As soon as he woke up he felt important, as if everything depended upon him.”
— A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
“I’ll go and see if there’s anything [Christopher Robin] wants doing, and then I’ll do it for him. It’s just the day for doing things.”
Sometimes, A.A. Milne hits really close to home. I don’t really want to be like Rabbit; he’s not my favorite Pooh character, but I am afraid that I know all too well that bit of self-importance that Rabbit doesn’t even know he struggles with. Something inside of me wants to be important. Something inside of me wants to be depended upon or needed. God, what needs doing? Me! Me! Me! Let me do it! I’m like a first-grader with my hand waving wildly in the air. Let me be important.
But I think I may be falling into something that could be game-changing. The other day, I had the realization that God does not need me. I think I have to say that again: God does not NEED me.
This is so elementary if I think about it. It is also life-altering and freeing. Our egos (or at least my ego) want so desperately to be important–to be needed and necessary. I can’t describe the immense relief I felt at that the thought that God does not need me. This truth needs to work its way into my heart and soul.
God does not need me. God does not need me to save the world. God does not need me to be his right-hand (wo)man. Remembering this keeps me humble. It keeps me from grandiose and self-important thoughts. It relieves the pressure of wondering if everything will fall apart if I don’t figure out the secret code at the right time. Remembering this reminds me that I really am blessed as I rest in my nothingness.
God doesn’t need me, but God can and will use me to bring love and light and healing into this world if I am open to it. God doesn’t need me, but God moves through this world in the hands and feet and hearts of people. And I am invited to join.
The emptiness created by letting go of my own importance opens space in my heart for God’s love to flow in and out through me.
Being valued because of who you are is so very different from being valued for what you bring to the table. I may not be important because of what I do—but I have infinite worth. There is only one of me, and I bear the stamp of the Creator. Every other person has infinite worth; we are all loved as-is by the Creator and Sustainer and Author of Love and Life. Seeing through this lens changes everything.
As I was pondering the difference between importance and infinite worth, I opened up Richard Rohr’s book Wondrous Encounters: Scriptures for Lent. Of course, these are the first words in the book:
There are two moments that matter. One is when you know that your one and only life is absolutely valuable and alive. The other is when you know your life, as presently lived, is entirely pointless and empty. You need both of them to keep you going in the right direction. Lent is about both. The first such moment gives you energy and joy by connecting you with your ultimate Source and Ground. The second gives you limits and boundaries, and a proper humility, so you keep seeking the Source and Ground and not just your small self.
The paradox, of course, is that you find yourself anyways: your Big Self in God and your little self in you. God loves them both.
There it is: letting go of importance and embracing infinite worth. They go together. There is freedom and joy in this practice.
I am not Important to the grand scheme of things. If I never write another word, the stars and sunsets, the trees and fields, and a myriad of other voices will fill the void, expressing what my words so feebly try to convey. This is freedom.
But these words are my offering. A way of participating in the creation dance. They connect me with God and with others. They help me to know me. They are a thread leading me to the next step. This is joy.
Freedom and Joy.
I feel like I have stumbled onto something important here.