How to be Insignificant

While there’s a wit to this series, I’ll admit, it’s actually kind of hard to write…

I’ve chosen particular topics that hit deep to the core of myself and the areas through which God has been walking with me to freedom.

I’m taking next week off of blogging while I travel. I hope to bring some new direction and inspiration when I return.

I was asked once “what’s so wrong with wanting a nice, stable, comfortable life? why can’t I just live my life, make money, buy a house, have a family and just be happy?”

It was an intriguing question.

My response was this: “what if that’s all some people have the potential for? what if other people had the potential to make a legitimate difference in the world… is it their responsibility, if they can, to do something that matters?”

And in that case…which type of person are you?

Living a life of insignificance is absolutely more comfortable than living a life with a contribution that matters. If you find yourself deficient in the “potential” category or simply don’t want to do any more work than what it takes to fulfill yourself in blissful hedonism, here are a few guidelines for you to stay passive, benched and insignificant.

1) Stand firmly in the conviction that ignorance is bliss. You’re responsible for what you’re aware of so a great way to live a distanced, insignificant life is to remain uneducated and unaware of the realities of the world. Don’t think about starving children, poverty-stricken areas, refugees from war-torn areas, displaced people from natural disasters, disease, death or even the simple ills of life like relational challenges or other people like yourself who are riddled with self-obsessed narcissism.

2) Keep a low opinion of your abilities, competencies and passions. If you don’t think you have anything to offer: YOU’RE PROBABLY RIGHT. Empowerment is a devastating blow to insignificance. Remember: perception is reality, if you BELIEVE you’re worthless, you’ll ACT like you’re worthless.

3) Pick a side. Apathy is for the indecisive. True insignificance is when you are aware but decide to stay firmly out of the game. Pack out your schedule with so many things that making any kind of selfless contribution would be out of the question. If you get really good at this, you’ll find “noble” things to distract you from these contributions such as working for a ministry (so you “put in your time” at work and can dismiss needs during your off hours).

4) Choose a life of voluntary poverty. Many do this to relate to those to whom they minister. When you lack resources, it will always be a challenge to be generous and you’ll often spend your time figuring out how to make money instead of being free to give your time to things that matter.

5) Justify living tight-fisted with your resources. Take all that wonderful advice you got growing up to save your money, plan for the future, make wise investments and manage your resources to the penny. Tithing, generosity and financially blessing others can still be your “first-fruits” without ever requiring sacrifice or compassion. The Good Samaritan was an anomaly and should be treated as merely an inspiring story (he was probably rich anyway).

6) Let your emotions to the decision making. If you get moved by that commercial on TV that says to feed the kids in Africa or save the abused puppies go ahead and give, but if the pitch doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy: your indifference is releasing you from participating.

7) Assume God’s got it taken care of. He’s in control and there are so many people out there doing good things (even humanitarians). Operate under the premise that God will make it undeniably clear when he has an assignment for you. Otherwise, stay passively out of the way until the opportunities come to you.

Leaving the world a better place than when we found it is an inspiring thought… but you can go your entire life surfing on the contributions made by others. As long as your life is comfy and pleasant you can die happy… right?

How to be codependent

Steven Covey talks about “The Maturity Continuum” which we all progress through in our journey to adulthood. It starts with a place of dependence (where we need others for literally everything in our lives…like children), to independence (I don’t need anyone), to the final stage which is interdependence. Interdependence says “I don’t need you, but my life is better because you’re in it.”

If that doesn’t work for you, you can always revert a few progressions and instead embrace a co-dependent (or fully dependent) lifestyle. The problem with interdependence is that it takes a lot of work to maintain the independence you’ve attained while starting to include other people back into your lives. Co-dependence is way easier because you can still desperately need people AND have them around you all the time. It will probably stall out your development as a person, but you’re guaranteed to never be rejected or alone.

Here are some steps toward functional co-dependence:

1) Go into ministry. There’s no better place I’ve found to find yourself co-dependent than to be in a place where people desperately need you. It’s a win/win because they need your help and you need their affirmation so you can co-depend on one another. When you venture into people’s lives and get past the barriers, the natural instinct is to protect your investment. Be ready to make sure people have kept your secrets and that they are always always willing and able to be sucked into more.

2) Keep your circle of friends small and exclusive. You can’t let things get out of your control. Since the world of a co-dependent person critically relies on loyalty, you need a firm line between those who have permission to access your life and those who don’t. Quality time is the key…and lots of it. If people have reasons to be elsewhere they won’t be with you.

3) Tell this small group things you’ve never told anyone before. Trust is the only way to manipulate grow the relationships around you. Make sure people outside the group know that you do this. Tell as many stories as possible about memories you made with the small group. The jealousy will help your group feel better about how exclusive tight knit you guys all are.

4) Be proactive. Always explain the disturbing amount of quality time you spend with these people as something healthy and be sure to use “community” as an excuse explanation for your behavior. People are going to think it’s odd so be ready to explain the joys of this co-dependency intimacy.

5) Deny deny deny. You’re always going to have dissenters. They’re probably right just jealous. Remember: YOU HAVE IT UNDER CONTROL. It feels so good to be accepted and included that it can’t possibly dysfunctional. People will try and give you feedback: DISREGARD it. They don’t understand and never will.

6) Operate with a worldview that believes God needs help. In Genesis God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. Use that reference to justify that you need more than just God’s love, acceptance and intimacy.

Codependency is like going through a maze and ending up at a dead end. You’re still in the maze and still moving but you’ll end up camping out at that dead end thinking you’ve finished the maze.

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