As I pull back from various aspects of my life where I used to shout, “Look at me! Look at me!”, those areas are filled with a kind of silence, a silence that very gently transforms into the voice of God whispering, “Here I am.”
There is initially a sense of loss when we choose obscurity over self-promotion, a sense of regret coupled with anxiety as we watch others build their kingdoms larger than ours. The ego is clamoring for its own survival. The ego is worried that it will be annihilated. It becomes a small animal, scratching and clawing for attention, for life, for recognition. But the more we diminish and the longer we allow ourselves to travel down this peaceful path into obscurity, the calmer the ego becomes.
Fame and recognition are like drugs, and when we deny ourselves these temporary ecstacies, the ego experiences the pain of withdrawal. But then, after the tremors and the emotional vomiting, the begging and the anxiety, comes something unexpected.
It’s a wonderful freedom, those first few days after your self has come to peaceful terms with the idea that fame is not the goal. The world around you seems more calm and less frenetic. The critical voices in your mind recede because the things they are criticizing about you (your lack of popularity, your lack of wealth, your lack of accomplishments) no longer bear such weight. Those “crucial” beams you once thought were load-bearing turned out to be inconsequential, and in their absence, space opens up.
I found that, for myself, diminishing has allowed me to focus on the voice reminding me that “You are God’s beloved.” When I spend less time worried about what I am accomplishing, accomplishments become less important, and I can see with clarity, perhaps for the first time, that (as Henri Nouwen says), my identity is not found in what I do, what people say about me, or what I own.
My identity is this: I am God’s beloved.
What would it look like for you to diminish? What are some things you would need to relinquish? What are some areas where you would need to let go? How does the idea of traveling into obscurity make you feel?
6 Replies to “How to Find Peace in a Noisy World”
While I’m not searching for fame and recognition specifically, those two items could easily be replaced to fit my situation. Thanks for the reminder to let go and let God.
Shawn-i love love loved this writing. Your words
My identity is this: I am God’s beloved.
ring true for me also. I own a small art studio in a tiny beach town . i love what i get to share and teach and create on a daily basis. for 7 years i have worked to create a positive environment for women and children-a place to let it go and smile. Some people who have come to my classes have thought- I can do this bigger and better than Sheri. So they try to copy me. They open larger places, or cover a part of the market i do not. At first this bothered me. When I sat back and thought about it, prayed on it His one small voice echoed across my soul-this is not your calling Sheri.
I embrace every day the tiny place with the ocean view. The copy cats may find success-none have yet- but i let this roll over me and get washed out with the tide because i don’t need fame, fortune and success. I just need to give back to this world what God has given to me.
Loved this piece. Thank you
Yes and amen.
“Fame and recognition are like drugs, and when we deny ourselves these temporary ecstacies, the ego experiences the pain of withdrawal. But then, after the tremors and the emotional vomiting, the begging and the anxiety, comes something unexpected.”
I feel like this a lot while in the blogging community. That our worth is defined by what we do, and how many followers we have, but the only thing that really matters is our identity with God.
I really thank you for I needed to see this today. This message is so important and yet easily forgotten. We want to be recognized for our hard work, but at the same time we are addicted to it. The only way to get a hold on those feelings is the withdraw.
I found you today by from the Friday Finds of the Water Soul and I’m so very glad that I did. I hope you have a blessed day.
Wow… So true. If we humble ourselves God will always lift us up. I used to be afraid when Jesus talked about the Pharisees when He’d say, “They’ve already received their reward.” I want my reward from God.
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