The Need to Be Noticed

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Let’s not deny this: A lot of mental time is spent on how to make ourselves look good to our peers, to potential employers, to colleges, and maybe even to our parents. We dress certain ways, use our electronic devices because all our friends do, or act in a specific manner so that we’ll fit in, attract attention, get a boyfriend/girlfriend. We think about what employers may want and fill out the applications accordingly. We take classes or join clubs just so that our college application will look good so that we’ll be noticed and accepted.

And with our smart phones, we are constantly bombarded with and aware of details we don’t even need to know that we thenuse to compare ourselves (often subconsciously) with others and then act accordingly, often in ways that do not promote our emotional wellbeing. Oops.

That’s a lot of pressure. It can be downright time-consuming, mind-numbing, overwhelming, and even depressing. But we don’t have to do things to be noticed. Even though the world tells us we do, we don’t.

Jesus counsels: “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven” (Matt 6:1 NLT). It’s super important to be good—to stand up for what’s right, to be compassionate, to help others. But we don’t do it to be noticed: “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding” (The Message, Matt 6:1). When we do good things, we simply don’t show off, shout out to the world, make sure other people know about it by sending it out on social media. Why?

Apparently we’ll miss the reward from God. It’s not that God is going to withhold good from us. It’s that we will miss what God is giving us. We’re deceiving ourselves when we think it’s all us, that we have the power, that we’re the star, that we need appreciation, applause. That can very quickly lead to depression and anxiety if we don’t get the applause, the job, the relationship, or the college we wanted.

This “notice me” attitude make us forget that it’s really all about God. It’s God who is powerful. It’s God who points out our path, who opens doors, who brings us together with the right people. It’s “with God” that “all things are possible” (Matt 19:26)—not “with me.” God has already given us validation, approval. God made us, and we’re good. So we can feel good about ourselves. We don’t need to be noticed by others to do good deeds or to feel good. Easy to say. Hard to do. But necessary.

It’s tiring to be around people who always want to be noticed, who are part of every club just so they can put things on their resume, who tell everyone how great they are. And on the flip side, it’s incredibly challenging to be constantly looking for validation from others because we don’t think we’re good enough. These are different sides of the same issue—thinking that we need someone out there to notice us. We don’t. We just need God.

We’re good because that’s the way God made us (Gen 1:31). We’re kind to others because that’s who we are: we want to help them feel good about themselves; we want to be empathetic; we want be there for others in their time of need. We want to give to charitable organizations, help the homeless, be good stewards of our earth. That’s important. But we don’t do it to be noticed. We do it out of the goodness of our hearts.

Isn’t that why we’re all here together—to connect, to help each other, to lift others up, to love? And doesn’t our ability to do all that come from God and from our connection with the Christ? The more we follow the spirit of Jesus’ teachings, the more we will feel Love’s blessings. We’ll forget about the need to be noticed. Rather, we will feel great about ourselves, about the individual God made us. And we’ll be able to bless others. How awesome is that!