Finding your significance among 7 billion others

A Christian Science perspective.

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The United Nations estimated that as of Oct. 31, the world’s population would reach 7 billion. It’s a number I have a hard time putting into perspective. Still, though, I appreciate the fact that our human family is very big. At the same time, I’ve been trying to appreciate that each of us is a special, unique individual. Certainly, we each need to understand how to find a place or purpose for ourselves.

Understanding our individual significance, even as one person out of 30 in a classroom, 100 in a business, or thousands in a corporation, can be a difficult task. It’s an important step to realize that we all can accomplish things, whatever they may be. I’ve also found it helpful to see that our significance does not ultimately depend on how well or how much the world acknowledges us.

I remember when my personal world was quite small, say those 30 who were in my elementary school classroom. I would do something to get a laugh out of the class, and that made me feel kind of special. Well, I’ve learned a few things in the ensuing years. For starters, the world proves too big, and everyone’s interests too scattered, for someone to attract much truly helpful attention from many people. Considering that an insignificant percentage of the population even knows who I am, I realize it’s obvious that I need another way to feel special or find some real importance. It seems that life in this world can leave us feeling alone.

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It can be difficult to understand our individuality or feel our significance based on anything outside ourselves, such as the consideration of others or the satisfaction of having them see us in a certain light. What we have deep down within ourselves, however – and are able to give of ourselves – affords us all the happiness and feeling of significance that we can truly hang on to. And this is something that was established by, and that relates to, God. The infinite Soul of the universe is our origin or source, and this source never leaves us alone.

Along this line, I’ve found plenty of encouragement in the Bible, including this passage: “ ‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.... I am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.... Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland’ ” (Isa. 43:10, 15, 18, 19, New International Version).

The fountain and purpose of our lives comes from within us as the children or the reflection of God. Christ Jesus said, “[T]he kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). And this fountain pours out increasing purpose and worth. God supplies us with the inspiration to live out the goodness that we were created for so we will increasingly find more of our true life and identity. Referring to all men, women, and children, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, put it this way: “The reality and individuality of man are good and God-made, and they are here to be seen and demonstrated;...” (“Unity of Good,” p. 53).

Why is each one of us special and important? Because we’re each able to live out the good qualities of life that are innate to us as the children of God, and to live them out in a way that no one else can. In the process, we find the joy that comes from pouring out these qualities to bring about a better world. Then the 7 billion of us will look more and more like a good, purposeful family.

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