Have you ever wondered if anyone would notice if you fell off the grid? If your presence truly mattered? If your whole self — your thoughts, your being — was valued? Have you ever felt like a puff of smoke that people walked through rather than a human being standing in a room? Have you ever felt so easily forgettable, hardly memorable, barely detectable at all? Like a light brush of wind, never leaving your fingerprints on anything or anyone?
I’m not asking these questions for the sake of being dramatic. I’m asking them because, my suspicion is, many of us have felt this way. We react to it in different ways, sure — we might throw on a mask, live a false life that runs contrary to who we truly are, or withdraw completely — but at the root of it all lies the same struggle: we grapple with believing that we matter.
It hurts to offer ourselves to others, only to be rejected or to go unnoticed. It’s tempting to lock ourselves up from within, vowing to no longer venture out because we’re convinced that our presence doesn’t matter. It hurts and there’s really no way to soften it … But have you ever considered, even for a second, that it might hurt God even more?
My friend… His heart aches for you. Your presence means a heck of a lot to him. And that is why it hurts him so badly when you’re missing, when you’re gone, when you disappear, when you don’t show up — literally, figuratively, or whatever. Your absence may or may not go unnoticed by others, but that’s beside the point. The point is that you matter to God, if to no one else. Your presence — and your absence — he notices it. So don’t be fooled.
He remembers. He searches. He counts his sheep and goes after the lost one. What kind of reckless person does that? Only the person that is Jesus, who is madly, deeply in love with… you.
Everything that Mother Teresa did was propelled by the desire to quench Jesus’ thirst. And she said, time and time again, that he thirsts for you. Honestly, with everything else thrown aside, all he really asks for is that: your presence.
The whole world might calculate your worth based on your utility — how useful you are, what you’ve produced, how you “add value” — but to God, what you do or don’t do is nothing compared to your presence. Your presence, in and of itself — even if you did absolutely nothing but sit at his feet — is “added value” to him. You never have to worry about proving your value, because he gave it to you.
I hope this gives you enough courage to share your presence. To inch out of hiding, even if slowly, to unite your heart with God’s, and later, with those around you who greatly need your presence too, but may or may not realize it yet. Don’t wait for permission from others; just answer God’s invitation.