I write myself thousands of letters. Some I keep, folding them into tight, tiny pieces; some I toss down creeks and streams, attempting to let go of my misery. I walk along the creek line following the letter, until it’s floating so far I no longer see the damp words on the page.
In one letter I wrote to myself, I was begging God for significance. You see, I have longed — and am longing, and will continue to long — to do worthwhile work.
I have never been satisfied with what feels ordinary.
I scratched out a list of what I want to achieve. I don’t need to write a dozen novels, but a few really good ones would be nice. I want to create documentaries and be an advocate for girls who have been raped and trafficked. I want to write and illustrate children’s books for my sister’s baby.
In and between all these things, I want to take huge risks and meet remarkable people and do meaningful, worthwhile things.
I wrote this to myself and I wrote this to Jesus.
Last night I talked with one of my good friends. We’re working at a camp for the summer, and as I spoke with her, Jesus spoke to me. He’s been communicating with me that way recently, whispering words I need to hear through the lips of people He’s tenaciously placed in my fragile life.
My friend is seventeen and extraordinary, and as she looked out at the trees that cast shadows against the willowy grass, she said, “I’m afraid I won’t be significant.”
For a split second I wondered if she’d been reading my letters. Did she know how insignificant I always seem to feel? Did she understand my doubts about living a seemingly unremarkable life?
I found the same spot in the trees she was staring at. The moon shone white bright and the stars were wide awake too.
I told her the truth. “You already are significant.”
She let out a long breath and Jesus sat next to me on the steps and said: Aliza, so are you.
I felt cold even beneath the warm summer night sky, and I turned to view her profile, desperately wanting to get through to her what I believe deep within me: that nothing she could do or say or prove could ever lessen her significance in this world.
The moon watched me. I felt Jesus whisper softly, kindly, that still small voice: Aliza, what you want to tell her is exactly what I’ve been telling you.
I’m petrified I won’t be remarkable, that instead I’ll simply be ordinary. My friend was brave and vulnerable, and she voiced her fears not realizing she was also voicing all of mine. I’m six months into this year of no fear, yet I’ve been scared more times than I can count.
I weigh significance in my hand as though it’s something I have to earn, yet I know the truth that I should tattoo across my heart is this: we’re already significant.
Jesus weaved significance into our every fiber from the moment we were formed. He looped value like a necklace against our collarbones, declaring with a symbol the shape of a cross that we are a people worth loving. When I allow myself to let go of my fear and pain, when I drape my body across His love and lean in to who He is and who He says I am, I can believe — truly — that He created me significant.
I pulled my friend close and thanked Jesus. Even in my longing, He placed someone to remind me of my worth. I often forget how well He knows me. As I left her porch steps last night, I walked down the pathway and was reminded that when we follow in the steps of Jesus, begging to live a significant life so that He may be glorified, He will grant us the desires of our hearts.
I wrote another letter. Some I float down the creek, and some I keep tucked in secret spots, but this one I gave away. To my dear friend who sat on the porch with me alongside the moon and stars and Jesus, and I scratched down words to remind her of her significance because Jesus reminded me of mine.