In romance, we often write about the “Happily Ever After” ending once a single man and woman meet and navigate the waters of a romantic relationship. A lot of times the written pages stop after they exchange wedding vows. In real life, the romance continues and builds in the years that follow.
My husband, Gregg, has a rare ability to blend in like some kind of human chameleon no matter where we find ourselves. Several times when we are out shopping, I have witnessed other shoppers walk up to him and ask questions which only store employees could answer. Gregg always humbly smiles and gently explains that he isn’t a store employee. We were at a grocery store—actually checking out!—and another customer walked up to us, ignored the cashier, and asked him where she could find paper plates! He just smiled and then repeated the question to the cashier.
We have traveled all over the United States and to several other countries, and wherever we are he just confidently walks in as if he belongs there. Aside from the private chuckles we share each time it happens, this ability he has is something about him I have actually come to admire.
Most of us seek at least some kind of recognition. Some of us even seek fame. Our culture says we should promote ourselves, garner all the praise we can get, and get recognized at every opportunity in order to feel significant. As an author, I can personally testify that the cultural pressure to gain recognition and fame is tremendous.
The world is quick to offer dozens of yardsticks we can use with which to measure our significance. How many followers do you have on social media? How many likes did that get? How many shares? How many books did you sell with your last release? Did you make any best seller lists? Have you won any awards?
Meanwhile, my husband has anonymously judged dozens of contests, quietly edited or assisted so many authors over the years, taught at dozens of conferences and venues, and consistently refused to take any credit or thanks. In fact, he has never accepted so much as one red cent.
For people trapped in the myth of human significance, he is quite an enigma. They just can’t figure out his angle. They keep looking for the fine print. But there really is no mystery. God says until we, ourselves, feel insignificant, we can’t actually be significant. (Matthew 20:16, James 4:10) He says if we seek out praise for ourselves, we have our reward. We then have to choose, are we after the temporary praise of fallible people or the eternal praise of our creator God?
Romans 8:28 (NKJV) reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Years ago, my husband worked out that God has a purpose for his life, but working toward that purpose may fulfill a greater ultimate good that God has worked out, and not amount to any proximate personal gain for Gregg Bridgeman.
Being humble in God’s sight comes with an understanding that we are nothing without God. All of our talents, our jobs, our income, our skills, even our family members, are all a gift from God. It’s not because of anything we’ve done. It’s not because we are self-made people no matter what our pride might say to the contrary. Our lives can only become eternally significant when we recognize that God is the source of everything we have. When we recognize that, we cease to put such a priority on seeking glory for ourselves and start doing things for God’s glory.
One thing Gregg is never humble about is his love for me. He opens doors for me, pulls out my chair, tells me he loves me, puts his hand in the small of my back whenever we stand near each other, and a thousand other loving little romantic things every day that let me know how loved I am. The way he looks at me sometimes makes my heart leap.
I personally struggle with ignoring the world’s yardsticks and measuring my worth only as it is important to the world’s Ruler. Thankfully, God gave me the love of a strong and humble husband who covers me and loves me more than his own life. Thankfully, I can depend on him to keep me humble, too, and keep me working to heed the call of God’s purpose for my life.
Do you find yourself struggling to measure your worth by the world’s yardstick? How do you recenter back to the world’s Ruler? One commenter (regardless of where ypu live) will receive a signed paperback of my latest release, Valerie’s Verdict. Name will be drawn Tuesday, January 28th at 5pm EST.