Tag Archives: C.S. Lewis


Reminding Yourself of True Worth

This quote from C.S. Lewis helped inspire this blog:

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. – C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Some of my worst days have come when I’ve forgotten this truth, in one of two different ways. Often, I have forgotten my worth and believed false ideas from others or from inside my own head. Just as often, though, I’ve forgotten that others are also extraordinary and treated them below their status of children of God. I’ve found that I need to remind myself on a regular basis of both sides of this truth: I’m no “ordinary person,” and neither is anyone else.

Forgetting What You’re Worth

When I was struggling with fundraising in my work with InterVarsity, I had a very difficult time remembering that my worth wasn’t measured in how many dollars I managed to raise that week. I never put it in quite those terms, of course, because then it would have been too easy to see through the illusion. Instead, I tortured myself with constant anxiety expressed in a series of “if only”s: if only I made more calls, if only I improved my presentation, if only I had a better system, if only I could find money from somewhere else.

Up until then, I hadn’t dealt with much rejection or vocational struggle in my life. Perhaps if I’d had a telemarketing job in college or done door-to-door sales at some point, I would have developed the ability to ignore rejection and move on to the next challenge sooner. Perhaps – but I’m sure that the struggle would have been just as difficult for me to process. Fortunately, by facing this struggle in the context of InterVarsity, surrounded by many wise and loving people, I had the opportunity to learn that my success in fundraising – or any part of life – had nothing to do with my ultimate identity and worth.

This wisdom has helped me face struggles with my work outside of InterVarsity. Once, when I was dealing with an extremely difficult relationship with a (now former) supervisor, I joked with my wife that she had picked the wrong person to deal with, because I knew that her opinion of me had no power over me.

Neither our failures nor our successes define us.

Continue reading Reminding Yourself of True Worth

There Are No Small Actors

There are no small parts, only small actors. – Constantin Stanislawski

It’s a famous phrase in theatre, and we know its truth. In a stageplay, television show, or movie, roles that are small in terms of lines or screen time can be integral to the plot. Or they can provide an opportunity for an unknown rising star to steal the scene. Or allow an all-time great to remind us all why they are considered great.

LEGO Hamlet
Alas, poor Yorick!

Boba Fett speaks only a few lines in the original Star Wars trilogy, yet became one of best-loved characters of the films. In Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins needed only 16 minutes (out of a 2-hour-long movie) to win Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance. With the right actor, in the right role, a few minutes, a handful of words, are all that’s needed for magic to happen.

The saying is often spoken to actors disappointed with their role, and it’s meant to encourage them to invest in what they have been given. Having only a few lines doesn’t give you an excuse to slack off. When I was ten or eleven, I was cast in a church youth group’s production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I had a very small role, with only two lines in the entire show. During one of our performances, another kid sat in my seat by mistake during a scene. While I was arguing with him under my breath, trying to get him to move, my cue came and went. An older kid covered for me, supplying my line at the right moment, and I spent the rest of the show in red-faced silence. This wasn’t Olivier flubbing a Shakespearean soliloquey, but it was a pretty good indication why I wasn’t given a larger role.

Is it also true in our work and daily lives that there are no small roles, only small actors? Continue reading There Are No Small Actors