The Fear of Insignificance

Erik Cooper —  August 22, 2012 — 1 Comment

I was always on the outskirts of the popular crowd in high school. Not necessarily shunned, just more indifferent. Liked but not looked to.

(It might have been related to my propensity for yellow suspenders and obsession with CCM music, who knows?).

I always found my acceptance, my voice, my significance – in the church. I knew my way around there. Understood the culture. Found a place to express my passions. Forged my deepest friendships in the ebb and flow of that community.

(Coulda had something to do with the yellow suspenders and CCM music there, too. Who knows?).

So even though I was dragged into full-time ministry kicking and screaming, all-in-all it was pretty natural. It just seemed right. I felt important. I knew I mattered. Dare I say that I was popular there?


Which has created an interesting gut-check as we prepare to step out of the pulpit and back into the marketplace. I’ve been nursing a nagging fear. An undefined anxiety. A mysterious worry. And this week it finally hit me.

I fear insignificance.

Not mattering.

Being liked but not looked to.

Like a pimple-faced 15 year old, I fear returning to the “unpopular crowd.”

Will people care what I have to say? Will my words carry weight? Will my blog traffic dissipate? Will leaving ministry steal my voice? Swallow me in anonymity? Turn me invisible?

How’s that for honest? How’s that for sinful? Which got me wondering….

How often do we avoid the only One that can give us true significance out of fear of becoming insignificant? How often do we find our importance in the accolades and admiration of things that will never truly satisfy? Even good things? Even godly things? How often do even our best motives and intentions become all twisted up with our own brokenness and insecurities?

I’m guessing a lot.

When we realize that all the acceptance and significance we long for we already have in Jesus, we’ll stop living for the approval of others. We’ll become better followers.

When we embrace what Jesus has done for us, we’re already part of the “in crowd.” That’s some seriously Good News.

Where does your fear of insignificance emerge?

One response to The Fear of Insignificance

  1. Melissa Burroughs August 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Dear Erik,
    I have been to your church several times and my belief is you are right where you should be.
    God uses you as you stand in front of the people who listen to you.
    I doubt God wants you to be perfect or extra special. I think He loves you because you are real.
    Listen to Him. Seek Him. Then keep passing on what you hear and see. God will bring the people who need Him to you. You are part of HIS plan! He does the rest. Listen, watch and hear.
    Peace to you! You are a blessing! And most of all God loves you just as you are!
    Melissa Burroughs, Daniel’s mom

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