Signs of Significance
Digital billboards are making their way into the world. Although old-fashioned billboards still dominate most major highways and thoroughfares, digital billboards can be seen locally along Interstate 196 near Holland and on U.S. 131 in Grand Rapids. They are very colorful and bright, but depending on what time you drive by, you may see a different ad than someone else. Your exposure to a certain advertisement can be hit or miss.
Signs direct us where to go, what to eat, what to do, and even how to think. I wonder sometimes if we’d know what to do without signs giving us so much guidance. I know signs are critical for driving anywhere, but other signs I’m not so sure are always helpful like the one I passed by one day while traveling. It was on the lawn of a church and was intended to be an encouragement, but fell a bit short of that goal. It did, however, make me laugh. It read, “Don’t Let Worries Kill You, Let the Church Help.”
Your life is actually a sign for others because people watch you every day. If you think about it, you’re a constant billboard to your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Every action and expression you make in their presence, says a little bit about who you are and what you value.
Think about how the word significance begins with S-I-G-N. I think it’s a sign that we need to understand how our life can be significant in a positive or negative way to other people. Look at the way you live your life right now and evaluate what kind of an impact you are making.
Take for example the couple raising two teenagers. They have spoken to them about the dangers of drinking and yet this couple continually entertains company in their home where a lot of cocktails are consumed. Of course it’s legal for adults to drink. But the way you do it and how it all turns out at the end of the night can be a mixed message to teens. This couples’ sign is sobering: We tell you to do one thing, but we do another.
Another man, who is father to a couple of young girls, thinks nothing of berating their mother in front of them. He might not be physically abusive, but a constant barrage of unflattering comments about her appearance or mannerisms can certainly emotionally damage his wife. This man may camouflage these comments in humor, but his sign is crystal clear: Love is based on outward physical appearance not inner beauty. This message can be devastating to girls already fighting a losing battle of images from magazines and celebrities.
Consider the woman who encourages her children daily with compliments, physical affection, and words of love, yet doesn’t find the energy to give her husband the same amount of attention. Her sign is veiled through adoration for her children: The kids are more important.
It’s critical to realize that your actions, words, and even those times you don’t react are all visible signs to the people in your life, especially your family. Remember you are more like the new electronic billboards because your sign frequently changes throughout the day depending on what circumstances you are facing. What one person sees you doing one minute, may be different from what another person experiences.
As you go about your day, make sure you carry positive signs that significantly impact others and helps you win at home.