The Search for Significance (Part 1)

It started in elementary school. What kind of shoes you had, the clothes you wore, and the hair cut you sported. What started out as a blank slate was simply overwhelmed with the increasing reality that not everyone was like you. Suddenly you feel naked… ‘perhaps I should clothe myself with the acceptance of others’? I need to fit in!

The search is on.

It continues into junior high where the awkwardness of growing into your body takes over. ‘What is my body telling me? They seem cool and pretty on TV… I want to be cool. Somehow the message at church doesn’t satisfy my deep desire for acceptance. I must be liked… or I will just die!’ *(Teenage over reaction)

It starts here. At this point in life you see the world as attractive. Your family is a prison where even your parents ‘don’t get me’ and you threaten to run away. The prodigal in all of us is revealed.

In high school you get a label. Nerd, jock, prep… etc. At this point you somewhat accept your lot in life. You begin to listen to what the world is telling you, you are. False identity, insecurity, and youthful pride lead you to the conclusion that you know everything. This amplifies in high school where freedom mixes with your first drink of cheap malt liquor. In a haze you have now reasoned the existence of the universe around you.

But you’re just dazed and confused.

College, the prodigal in all of us is now free to roam. You have your fair share of Animal House experiences that your kids ‘should never find out about’ and leave with a handful of regrets. But, at least you have a degree in hand. Now I know who I am!

Well…. maybe.

You get a job out of school, go out on Thursday nights, roll into work hung over on Friday and sit in a cubicle with a tie choking you as you stare at the computer monitor with a throbbing headache. Week after week, drink after drink, and bar after bar you end up even more lonely and broke than before. The lease on your new Tahoe still screams ‘Accept me! I am still as insecure as the first day of elementary school’. I just have a job now… and debt.

Maybe politics will help? Some guy on TV is chanting ‘CHANGE’. If He becomes the next President maybe he will help turn this country around? I am an American… at least that much is for certain. He can be my savior for now.

There is probably a piece here or there you can relate to. It is a conglomeration of life experiences that people have shared. Some are my own. But, there is a common thread –> we all search for acceptance. At the deepest core of our being is a need for acceptance. We find significance in the acceptance of others.

In junior high when our family was not cool, and the world was, we see the birth of our prodigal spirit. We the prodigal, who is everyone on earth at some point in their life, views the world as the source of their identity and leaves their family to find themselves in it.

(To be continued)

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