Last week I signed up for a class at Chabad by the Sea (Don’t you love it? Only in Santa Cruz, CA, can you find Chabad by the Sea) called “The Kabbalah of Character.” As I was reading the additional material for the second week of class, I was struck by the essay by Rabbi Simon Jacobson, the author of Towards a Meaningful Life. In this essay – and in his book – he says, “Birth is G-d’s way of saying ‘you matter.’ In other words, each of us matters simply because we were born. Or, we were born because we matter.
According to Jacobson, “This means you are absolutely necessary. You are indispensable to G-d’s vision of the world, chosen to fulfill a mission in this world that you and only you can accomplish. Like musical notes in the grand Divine composition, each of us has our unique music to play.”
As I was driving to class that morning – prior to reading this essay, I had been having a conversation with God. I had asked what I should do if my book proposal was turned down by the agent currently reviewing it. I was ready to just throw up my hands and go back to writing articles. (Well, not totally…but I was feeling a bit lost, like another rejection might be telling me I was not on the right path.) The Still Small Voice I heard told me to keep moving forward, keep moving towards my goal, because this was my soul’s purpose. I listened, but I was still a bit unsure. After reading Rabbi Jacobson’s words, however, I was convinced.
In fact, he shed a new light on my feelings of self doubt and my lack of self worth. First, I thought, “It doesn’t matter what I do or if I do anything at all. Just being born is enough to show that I matter.” Then, I thought, “Well…we do each have a purpose, and I am pretty sure I know what mine is. So, I should, indeed, keep plugging away at getting a book published. I don’t have to worry about how good I am as a writer or speaker or how much I know or what my credentials are. I need only do what I am supposed to do here.”
What freeing thoughts! If I stop worrying about what others think of me and of what I write and say and instead simply remind myself that I am fulfilling my mission and that is all that matters, suddenly I don’t need approval from outside. It’s enough to just do what I know I am meant to do.
That said, I am still struggling with the need to have an agent or publisher approve of my writing and what I teach through that writing. I still need to have people ask me to come speak and teach to them. Despite this, I realize that I need to just keep plugging forward. Whatever I do that allows me to fulfill my mission here in this life I was given, is all that is expected of me. I just need to keep working towards the goals that are aligned with my soul’s purpose.
Somehow, that perspective helps considerably. It gives me permission to be me, to do what I do, to simply keep moving forward. It stops me from judging myself against some external scale. I can rest more peacefully knowing that God is well pleased with me. I’m doing what I came into this world to do. And, the fact that I am even alive at all means that who I am and what I do matters. So, even if it seems like I’m taking small steps or dealing with obstacles or road blocks, the truth remains – I’m making progress. I’m making a difference.
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