Someone recently thanked me for being important in her life.  I appreciate the gratitude and, even more, appreciated the opportunity to think about importance.  Perhaps this is an issue of spiritual immaturity, but that’s probably where I am anyway.  I always hope to find things to ponder that might lead to some growth and a bit more maturity.  As I thought about the gal who thanked me, I would have agreed with her that in her mind I was important to her.  She was right.  I didn’t do that in order to be who I am.  But I was glad to help someone.

As indicated, the spiritually mature person probably never thinks about being important.  That is not their goal.  However, all truly mature spiritual people undoubtedly are important---perhaps in many ways.  But it would not register nor really matter, if they were to come to know it.  For those of us less saintly, perhaps it is a good exercise to think about importance.

Maybe our earlier ego development needs some sense that we are important.  Of course, I only have my own experience.  And I am not a psychologist, so I don’t know the official psychological perspectives on the matter. I do assume that having some sense of one’s importance is a healthy thing.  And probably even healthier is the capacity to recognize that others are important.  Let’s unpack that a little.

I cannot remember my own infancy, but I have watched my two girls and now some grandchildren.  And I have seen a ton of babies throughout the years.  There is little doubt in my mind that for a little one, parents are important.  Furthermore, in most cases I observe, typically the mother winds up being more important much of the time.  Of course, there are all sorts of exceptions that anyone can cite.  I know if you ask my youngest grandkid who is the most important person in the world, God would not qualify!  Mom wins---hands down.

That does not always change.  It is not surprising to me to watch some college students still relate to their mothers as if she were still the most important person in the world.  I know I have introduced a tricky issue into the equation: there is important and, then, there is the issue of most important.  Somehow the idea of importance can become competitive or hierarchical.

If I am honest, there usually are stages in my life where I could have told you who was the most important person in my life.  Early on it may have been my mother.  As a young boy, I think it would have been my father, since he and I spent so much quality time together on the farm.  At some point, I am confident some of my peers took over the number one slot.  This often is articulated as “my best friend.”  I laugh because some I know claim to have three or four “best friends.”  Grammatically, you can only have one!

For many of us adolescence comes and priorities begin to shift.  We may see our “best friend” become someone of the opposite sex.  There is no comparison to the puppy love stage!  In the fullness of puppy love one never feels more alive or more engaged.  There is no doubt who is number one---the most important.  In fact, nearly everyone else drops off the face of the earth!  We all know it does not last.  But in the middle of it, life does not get better!

I have seen myself go through progression.  If we get married, probably at some stage the spouse is the most important.  He or she displaces parent, siblings and others.  If and when we have kids of our own, it is not unusual that our children push our spouse down the importance ladder.  And then you come to my place.  I am very confident I am not the most important person in anyone’s life.  And that is exactly as it should be.  I am fine with that.  But it does not mean I want to be unimportant.  That is where it becomes a spiritual issue with me.

Spiritually I think it is quite fine to want to be important.  If we are dealing with the spiritual perspective, then our ego is not an issue.  Ego is a psychological issue.  Spiritually speaking, we want to be important, because that means we matter.  I would hate that I would live my entire life and not matter.  I don’t need to matter in any financial or egotistical way.  I don’t need wealth, fame or any other worldly accouterment.

Spiritually it does not matter that I am the “most important,” but I would like to be important.  And I would like to be important simply for whom I am—not something I have done or achieved.  That’s when I began to realize a significant truth: I am important!  I am important in God’s eyes.  God values me.  I am worth something and worthy.  The good news is my worth does not make you or anyone else less worthy.  It is not a competition.

In fact, I would argue that the nature of God is such that I can actually be to God the “most important” one.  And from your perspective, you can too.  God’s unfathomable depth, love and mercy make every one of us “the most important one.”  When I grasp the truth of this, I can relax.  I’ve got it made!

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