Do you long to live a significant life? We want our lives to count, but we feel minuscule, like our ordinary everyday moments will never amount to anything. We take stock of the families we were born into, the towns we grew up in, and the positions we serve in, then determine they are of little value.
If we aren’t careful, we can start to believe that who we are, where we are, and what we are doing doesn’t really matter. However, nothing could be further from the truth. A significant life is actually simpler than you think. Here are 10 simple steps to a significant life.
You are inherently significant. The word inherent means a permanent characteristic or attribute that already exists (Oxford Languages). You were born with intrinsic value. We know this because in the beginning, God created mankind in His image (Genesis 1:27). And when He created male and female, He said it was very good. He spoke His approval before Adam and Eve had ever done anything. The Bible says we are created in God’s image and are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14). So, we realize that God loves us for who we are, apart from what we do. We can rest in that assurance. This truth is our foundation. However, as Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them “ (ESV).
“Yes” is a small three letter word, but it holds tremendous impact. The best “yes” we can ever say is a yes to acknowledging Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Because this yes will determine all of our future yeses. When we say yes to God, the Holy Spirit resides in us and serves as our guide. It’s important to slow down and get quiet to listen to His still small voice, so that we can discern His personal direction for each of us. After all, what God asks me to do may be very different from what He is leading you to do. Once we know what He is leading us to do, we simply have to trust that He has our best interests in mind and be willing to do what He asks. He only asks that we are willing and available. Ask God to reveal your next step of obedience. Then say yes.
Do a little at a time.
We can get overwhelmed by the size of the task in front of us. It feels too big and our impact feels too small, but if we stay stuck and don’t do anything we will never make any progress or see our dreams come to fruition. Beginning something new takes humility and courage. The key is to just begin and faithfully continue one step at a time.
Whatever your goal is, you will likely achieve it little by little. We can have a tendency to look at our beginning and compare it to someone else’s ending and forget that they too started at square one. What is one little thing that you can do today to move closer to realizing your goal tomorrow? Consider how your interactions and effort can have a cumulative effect and grow over time to make a big difference. Reflecting on the impact of your collective acts can help your gratitude and perspective.
One of the main threats to undermining our life of significance is comparing what we are doing with other people. God has specifically created each of us with unique gifts, talents, strengths, and resources. No one else can do what you can do in the place God has you with the people He has surrounded you with. If we compare ourselves to what others are doing, we can get discouraged and decide to do nothing at all. If you are feeling discontent and longing for someone else’s life, make a list of how you think God has uniquely made you. If you have trouble seeing yourself in a positive way, ask a trusted friend or family member to offer insight on your behalf.
Tangibly give love.
The greatest commandment can be summarized in 5 little words: love God and love others (Matthew 22). This is our common purpose and should be the lens with which we view every decision and interaction through. There is need all around us and likely we have something to offer to meet that need. Oftentimes when we meet a physical need it can open the door to meet a spiritual or emotional need. What could happen if you took the time to deliver a gift, call someone to talk, text an encouraging message, write a letter, invite someone to share a meal, or simply offer your time to let someone know you care? It could change their day for the better and as a result, likely change yours too.
Value every encounter.
We were made for relationships, yet so many people are lonely and in need of companionship. Every day we encounter people–at work, school, church, the gym, the park, the store, and at home. You likely have many possible interactions on any given day. However, we don’t always make the most of these opportunities to truly connect. We can be so self-consumed, busy, uncomfortable, introverted, and distracted we allow people to pass us by. The challenge for us is to not just be physically present, but mentally present wherever we are. Building relationships will take intentionality and vulnerability, but they can start with actions as simple as a smile, eye contact, and a hello. From there be ready to ask questions to keep the conversation going. Who knows where your next encounter may lead? You never know what kind of connection can develop and may continue years later.
There is such power in something as seemingly small as our thoughts. If we think positively, this will affect our words, actions, habits, character, and eventually our destiny. The same is true if we think negatively. Think about what kind of life you want to live and the person you hope to be. Then, find truth in Scripture to lead you in that direction. Make sure to intentionally fill your mind with positivity through what you read, watch, listen to, and who you surround yourself with. Those thoughts will be contagious and affect not only you but spread to those around you. Share encouraging and kind words with others to fill their thoughts with truth and help them to renew their minds (Romans 12:2).
We aren’t perfect on this journey and neither are the people in our lives. Since we live in a sinful, fallen world we will make mistakes. We are human and that is why we desperately need Jesus as our Savior. He knew we couldn’t rescue ourselves and so He died on the cross to save us eternally. He has forgiven us as far as the east is from the west and remembers our sins no more (Psalm 103:12). When we fall short, we simply must ask for His forgiveness and repent. Oftentimes, we take this step to be made right with Him, but we fail to take the next step to restore our relationships with mankind. Is there someone in your life who needs mercy and forgiveness? Do you need to say sorry and ask for forgiveness? Do you need to forgive yourself? Try saying sorry, asking for forgiveness, and extending grace.
Be faithful in the small.
God doesn’t waste anything, in fact, He multiplies everything and is using it all in ways beyond what we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Our whole lives are God’s training grounds. Each experience is preparing you for the next experience you’ll have in the future. He is preparing and sanctifying you to slowly become more and more like Him which is our ultimate goal. Jesus taught that, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much (Luke 16:10). He wants us to steward whatever He has given us. As you are faithful to persevere, I’m confident God will be faithful to take your little a long way.
Our effort won’t always result in the outcome we anticipate or in the timeline we hoped. This is where faith comes in. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews11:1). We simply must offer all we are and all we have and trust Him to make much of it, no matter how small it may seem. We can choose to believe that when we partner with God, He can use even the most minute things to affect eternity. We can accomplish great things in our everyday moments and trust that we are making an eternal impact even when we don’t see tangible results.
In these small steps, the goal isn’t for you to do more, but trust in the little you are already doing. God is the One who turns our ordinary lives into something extraordinary. In Him, we have significance and everything we do for Him is meaningful.