Everybody in some way struggles with wanting to feel like they belong somewhere. But when you move around a lot and your home life looks so different from anyone else’s, it might be hard to find friends who understand what you’re going through. And when friends are slow in coming, it’s easy to feel like they will never come, leaving you with a sense of insignificance and abandonment.
This clip from Tangled shows the insignificance Flynn felt as an orphan and what he did to try and overcome it:
In this clip, we learn that the seemingly strong and confident character of Flynn is really a lot more fragile than he lets on. Flynn hides his true name of Eugene Fitzherbert and the fact that he is an orphan from the world, and instead tries to change who he is by adopting his hero’s name of Flynnigan Ryder. While gallivanting about, thieving, and overall trying to live the life of someone else, Flynn doesn’t feel that Eugene Fitzherbert is worth anything to anybody. It’s not until he meets the flamboyant and accepting Rapunzel that Flynn starts to realize that Eugene might actually be worth someone’s time.
The thing is, many of us often feel like Flynn at some point in our lives. Maybe you have a complicated or sad past that you would rather no one know about. Or maybe you feel like your real personality isn’t what the world wants or approves of. Soon you find yourself trying to become a celebrity the world does approve of in order to make the friends you want. Feeling like you are not wanted by anybody is never a good feeling, but God gives us a much better solution than being somebody you’re not.
The following passages of Scripture brings us into the middle of Moses’ story. There is some part of Moses’ story we have all heard of – the baby found in the river by Pharaoh’s daughter, the boy growing up in an Egyptian house, the man who God chose to rescue the Israelites from Egyptian oppression. After all this, how could Moses ever have felt insignificant or abandoned? A hint to the answer is found in Exodus 2:11-16. Here we find Moses knowing he is a Hebrew and, after witnessing an Egyptian kill a Hebrew slave, kills that Egyptian in turn. Moses did this in an act of trying to protect his people, but what is the response of a fellow Hebrew Moses finds fighting with another man? The slave mocks Moses and asks if he’s going to kill him too! How’s that for gratitude? When Moses realized that everyone knew what he had done and that the Pharaoh was out to kill him, he ran away. Of all the people who should have been grateful for what Moses did, it would be the Hebrews! But Moses found that he was so unwanted by his own people that he left town fast.
So is that the answer to whenever we feel unwanted or abandoned? To run away? The answer to that can also be found in Moses’ story in Exodus chapter 3. In this chapter we catch up with God calling Moses through the burning bush, telling him to return to Egypt in order to free the Hebrews, God’s chosen people. God knew Moses couldn’t stay away forever and had chosen him to be the means in which the Hebrews would be freed. Moses obviously wasn’t thrilled at this turn of events, yet – and this is the key – God told Moses that he will be with him. God told Moses not to pay attention to what anyone else said, and to listen only to what God was telling him. God calls us to do the same thing in our lives. When the people around us give us the cold shoulder, we should give that hurt to God, listen, and trust that he is with us.
11When Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his people, the Hebrews, and he saw how they were forced to do hard labor. He even saw an Egyptian kill a Hebrew, one of Moses' own people. 12 Moses looked all around, and when he saw that no one was watching, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. 13 The next day he went back and saw two Hebrew men fighting. He said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why are you beating up a fellow Hebrew?”
14 The man answered, “Who made you our ruler and judge? Are you going to kill me just as you killed that Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said to himself, “People have found out what I have done.” 15-16 When the king heard about what had happened, he tried to have Moses killed, but Moses fled and went to live in the land of Midian.
There are many times in my life when I feel like Flynn and Moses – that nobody wants me. Please remind me of what you say about me, and the unconditional love you give me freely. Thank you so much for the proof of this love in sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins and rise from the dead so that I can have hope in eternal life. Help me keep my focus on you and not on what others may think of me. You are so awesome to care so much for me!
While I have a very good group of friends who I know all love me, I have faced my own set of feelings of insignificance. You see, I am the youngest sibling, with one older sister – who, by the way, is an awesome big sister to have! But the trouble starts with our personalities. My sister is very organized, responsible, and an introvert while I am very energetic, outgoing, and an extrovert. My sister also happens to be very creative and has grown to be a great artist who teaches at an elementary school. Growing up with such a big sister was not easy. I often felt overshadowed by her superior Christmas presents, ability to not forget things, and especially by the more grown-up way my parents treated her. I felt like, compared to her, I couldn’t do anything right. While I have mostly reconciled with those childhood feelings, in college another form of feeling insignificant popped up – comparing myself to others. I started comparing myself with my classmates, which nearly always led to me feeling inferior. Thankfully I didn’t try to recreate myself like Flynn did, but instead didn’t do much of anything except feel sorry for myself. Yet one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 139, always managed to turn up to remind me that God noticed me and valued me more than anyone ever could.
I can imagine the author of this psalm praising God for his love and intimate knowledge of everything the author does. It’s as if the author also needs to remind himself that even if all others abandon him, God never will. Like the author of Psalm 139, we all need a reminder of what God thinks of us and of his constant presence in our lives. Whenever I felt like nothing, I would read this psalm and be comforted that even with no one else to turn to, God was always there waiting for me with open arms. In a life where change is a given, it is so comforting to know that there is one thing amidst all the rest that will never change – a God who loves you so much he showed it by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross and rise three days later to forgive all sin – no matter what.
Lord, you have examined me and you know me.
2 You know everything I do;
from far away you understand all my thoughts.
3 You see me, whether I am working or resting;
you know all my actions.
4 Even before I speak,
you already know what I will say.
5 You are all around me on every side;
you protect me with your power.
6 Your knowledge of me is too deep;
it is beyond my understanding.
7 Where could I go to escape from you?
Where could I get away from your presence?
8 If I went up to heaven, you would be there;
if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.
9 If I flew away beyond the east
or lived in the farthest place in the west,
10 you would be there to lead me,
you would be there to help me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
or the light around me to turn into night,
12 but even darkness is not dark for you,
and the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You created every part of me;
you put me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because you are to be feared;
all you do is strange and wonderful.
I know it with all my heart.
15 When my bones were being formed,
carefully put together in my mother's womb,
when I was growing there in secret,
you knew that I was there—
16 you saw me before I was born.
The days allotted to me
had all been recorded in your book,
before any of them ever began.
17 O God, how difficult I find your thoughts;
how many of them there are!
18 If I counted them, they would be more than the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.
19 O God, how I wish you would kill the wicked!
How I wish violent people would leave me alone!
20 They say wicked things about you;
they speak evil things against your name.
21 O Lord, how I hate those who hate you!
How I despise those who rebel against you!
22 I hate them with a total hatred;
I regard them as my enemies.
23 Examine me, O God, and know my mind;
test me, and discover my thoughts.
24 Find out if there is any evil in me
and guide me in the everlasting way.
Here is a quiz that, while it is worded for girls, works for guys too. It takes a quick look at where you are at with confidence and if you need a “makeover.” Regardless of what you score, if you feel like confidence is an issue for you, talk to your leader, a parent, or another adult about what lessons they have learned about confidence in the face of feeling insignificant. And, above all, find confidence in what God thinks of you:
“Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing:
The Lord's unfailing love and mercy still continue,
Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.
The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.”
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"
The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."
"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,
"It made a difference for that one.”
- Loren Eisley
Perhaps one reason you feel insignificant is because it seems like you have no ability to influence anything. You can’t pick your parent’s next post, or your next school. You have no way to influence where you’ll grow up or who you will meet, but that does not mean that you have no impact on the world. Pray and ask God to reveal the ways that he has already used you to influence the world for him and ask him to show you more ways to be a positive force in the lives of those around you.
[Jesus said]: “You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
2 Corinthians 4:6-12
Take a look at this video clip from Chicago. Chances are your situation isn’t the same as his but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel the same way. Consider as you watch how a relationship with God and finding your identity in his opinion of you changes things:
“I have cared for you from the time you were born.
I am your God and will take care of you
until you are old and your hair is gray.
I made you and will care for you;
I will give you help and rescue you.”
Isaiah 46:3b & 4
O Lord, our Lord,
your greatness is seen in all the world!
Your praise reaches up to the heavens;
2 it is sung by children and babies.
You are safe and secure from all your enemies;
you stop anyone who opposes you.
3 When I look at the sky, which you have made,
at the moon and the stars, which you set in their places—
4 what are human beings, that you think of them;
mere mortals, that you care for them?
5 Yet you made them inferior only to yourself;
you crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You appointed them rulers over everything you made;
you placed them over all creation:
7 sheep and cattle, and the wild animals too;
8 the birds and the fish
and the creatures in the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
your greatness is seen in all the world!
Now grab a paper and a pen and write down some things that you have seen that speak to you about the greatness of God. Perhaps even reread Psalm 8 or look up nature pictures on Pinterest/ Bing/ whatever you like to use. Take a moment to consider the intricate detail of design that went into this whole world. Now put your name at the top of that list and reflect on that fact out of all the things the Lord created, he made you in his image, with love, care, and purpose. He adores you! If feeling insignificant is a struggle in your life, make a daily habit of looking over that list or other portrayals of nature and ask God to speak the truth into your heart - that out of all these things, he loves you the most!
Here’s a clip from Megamind showing his early childhood when he felt insignificant, especially in the shadow of Metro Man. Notice how he responds to his feelings of rejection by others with anger and bitterness. In order to keep yourself from doing the same things, be sure to talk to the Lord and share your anger, hurt, and confusion with him. Ask him to lead you to a healthy community where you can experience the Body of Christ.
How Tangled Should Have Ended :)
"But the people of Jerusalem said,
“The Lord has abandoned us!
He has forgotten us.”
So the Lord answers,
“Can a woman forget her own baby
and not love the child she bore?
Even if a mother should forget her child,
I will never forget you.
Jerusalem, I can never forget you!
I have written your name on the palms of my hands.”
Isaiah 49:14-16 is a piece of a conversation between God and his chosen people of Israel. When we read these types of Scriptures we may as well substitute our own names for “Israel,” “my people,” and “Jerusalem” because we are all God’s chosen people and his words of love now apply to us all. As you read this, consider what is being said here about how important you are to the Lord. Ask yourself what things or people in your life are deciding your value for you right now. Why are they the ones that determine how you feel? What has made their opinion so dominating? Consider the wisdom in allowing God, someone who actually does deserve to have authority over our thoughts, hearts, and lives, to determine how valuable, significant, and precious you are.