|Me with friends Lee Davis and Jon Standifer|
Thomas Merton writes: "I think the chief reason why we have so little joy is that we take ourselves too seriously. Joy can only be real if it is based on truth... [The] starting point is the truth of our own insignificance in comparison with God. To penetrate the truth of how utterly unimportant we are is the only thing that can set us free to enjoy true happiness." (The Sign of Jonas)
"We take ourselves too seriously." Take God seriously, not your own self. The world does not revolve around you, but around God.
Joy turns into frustration and anguish when life is all about "you." Do not water the flower of your own self so that you might bloom before others. Lighten up about you. Your reputation is unimportant; God's honor is all-important.
Pray that people might find God, not you, because you are not such a big deal. God is a big deal. To be free of the cultivation of one's own persona is the gateway to joy. If through you we see God, that will be cool. Much better for us to see and find God than to see you.
We are insignificant in comparison with God. Out of the seven billion people on earth, not one of them is now thinking about you. To the world, you are a non-issue.
OK, maybe there's one person who, right now, thinks of you, of how beautiful you are, or of how intelligent and creative you are. Probably one or 2 or 10 people love you and think of you, now. And maybe there's one person who is now angry with you and hates you and thinks of how ignorant and irritating you are.
The statistically overwhelming majority of people (99.999999% of them) do not even know you exist; hence, ipso facto, they are not thinking of you. To the world and in this world you are near-totally insignificant.
God, on the other hand, is significant. In this moment, right now, many are seeking God, being found by God, questioning God, asking from God, arguing against God's existence, saying the name of God, worshiping God, ignoring God, reading about God, dreaming about God, standing in awe of God, saying God's name (not your's) in vain, singing God's name (not your's) in praise, writing about God, basking in God's presence, questioning God's absence, cursing God, and thanking God. God has been, is, and always will be the focal issue, the central Person, in life. God is the sun around which this world revolves; you and I are specks on that world. Is all this not true? And does not this truth and its realization set you free?
"To penetrate the truth of how utterly unimportant we are is the only thing that can set us free to enjoy true happiness."
Now, as you take this breath, God is going after all persons, including you, with a love that knows no limits, with a pursuit that is forceful and specific and effective. In your condition of great insignificance and worldly-nonattention the God who is creator of all and of you comes to you, personally, and whispers, "I love YOU." Let these words settle into the secret places of your heart; this becomes the moment of freedom and joy.
Psalm 8:4 says: "I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way? " (The Message) Who am I, God, that you are mindful of me? And yet You are.
You are a micro-self.
God is thinking of you.