Zach slammed the car door and trudged into the house. Once inside, he shrugged out of his jacket and threw open the refrigerator door. A container of leftover pie from supper caught his eye. Grabbing a spoon, he perched on the countertop and dug into the apple pie.
“Oh, hi, Zach. I didn’t hear you come in.” His mom stood in the arch to the dining room.
“How was your youth event?”
Zach shrugged, concentrating on shoveling the pie into his mouth.
Mom picked up his jacket from the floor and hung it in the coat closet. “Something wrong, Zach?”
“Nope.” He finished his snack and brought the empty container to the sink. Staring out into the dark farmyard, he suddenly burst out. “I should stop going to youth stuff.”
“What? Why would you say that?” Mom asked.
Zach kept rinsing the container, wishing he hadn’t said that last sentence. “I don’t know. Sometimes it just feels like it doesn’t matter if I’m there or not. Seems like nobody cares.”
Jaira bit back a yawn and stole a discreet glance at the clock on the wall. She noticed her co-worker Ava did the same. These monthly staff meetings could go on forever.
“Does anybody have any suggestions for a solution?” Mr. Atkins sighed.
Jaira fiddled with her pen and willed the time to move faster.
Grant, the new kid at the grocery store, spoke up. “Maybe move the display closer to the door?”
“The area close to the door is already crowded,” Shana protested. “What about-”
Again, Jaira zoned out. She hoped to make her dentist appointment in half an hour. Fat chance of that happening though, with everybody debating about trivial matters for hours on end. If only Mr. Atkins would realize that some of them had lives besides this dumpy grocery store.
Twenty minutes later found Jaira tensely navigating the streets to her dentist’s office. While glaring at the red traffic light ahead, she fumed, “I should just skip those meetings like Cole does. Why do they even want me there? It’s not like anything I say or do at that meeting matters to Mr. Atkins or Ms. Grayson.”
Do you ever feel like your presence doesn’t matter? As if no one really cares if you show up or not? I have. I’ve felt that way in a group of friends, at youth events, at staff meetings, and even at church meetings.
It’s a nasty feeling. You go through the effort to dress up, drive to the location, and hang out with people. Then at the end of the event, you feel like nobody really noticed you. Or if they did, they weren’t particularly excited about your presence. The event would’ve been as great without you. You decide next time you maybe won’t go. Well, that’s up to you. But first hear me out.
You know whose fault it is if you feel you don’t matter? Yours. Well, most of the time it is. Of course, other people contribute sometimes, but mostly it’s you.
See, we all matter. And if it seems we don’t, we need to think about why we feel that way. In my own experience, I find that if I don’t put any effort into stuff, I grow lackadaisical and careless about it. Take your church, for example. It’s easy to criticize and become passive about church doings. But as long as you’re actively striving for improvements, you’re not nearly as likely to feel useless.
Same thing with youth events or parties with friends. It’s up to you. Make sure you matter. Put effort into it. Make sure your presence is appreciated. Some ways to matter:
- Pray. At some meetings, you’re not expected to say or do anything. You can still speak to God on behalf of those leading and the situation being discussed.
- Encourage. It might be a smile or a genuine compliment. Everybody likes an encourager. Don’t criticize an event or a group you haven’t put any effort into. You have no right to do so.
- Listen. Again, sometimes you’re not expected to talk. In that case, listen. Listen to the person leading the meeting and listen to people’s opinions. Don’t just zone out. You learn if you listen.
- Participate. Keep away from always hogging the sidelines and bleachers. Instead of mocking others’ techniques and ideas, throw in yours.
- Help. Pitch in with cleanup, handing out papers, or setting up chairs. It keeps you from getting bored AND it is a practical way to give back. Your presence won’t be taken for granted.
Thanks, everybody, for reading. If you’d like to receive blog posts in your email, you can subscribe at the bottom of the page. I’m excited every time I see more people reading my blog or when I see readers from exotic countries. 😛 Also, if any of you have suggestions of future blog post topics, you know where to find me. Be blessed!