My iPod is getting old. It is from the first generation of video iPod’s that came out, with 30 GB of storage. When I first got my iPod I could listen for hours and hours on end, but now, in its aged and decrepit state, I can only listen for a few minutes before the battery gives out. It doesn’t matter how long I let it charge, I can’t even get one song to play all the way through. I pretty much just leave it plugged into the car charger and only use it in my car now.
Isn’t it amazing how much a good battery can improve one’s experience with an iPod or other electronics? I can’t take my iPod anywhere, but I’d love to have the freedom to listen to music wherever I am throughout the day, without a tether holding me to a power outlet and without the uncertainty of when my device will die. I think humans are a lot like iPods in this way. Allow me to explain.
When we receive positive attention from others, we are made to feel valuable and worthwhile. If a “siggy” is a unit of significance that we feel, then in such moments we get “siggies in.” If, on the other hand, we experience something that deflates us emotionally and makes us feel less worthwhile, then we experience a “siggy dump.” We all naturally experience ebbs and flows in our emotions and feelings of significance. These are periods when our siggy batteries are being drained or charged.
Unfortunately, people sometimes have the same problem as iPods; their emotional/psychological batteries will not hold a charge for long. They are all charged up one day, and completely drained the next, or maybe even later that same day. Such people are always looking for approval and significance from others. I’ve seen this problem in college students and most especially in high school students, who have developed a need for their peers bordering on codependence. A steady stream of siggies is needed just so they can function – they always need plugged in. That is a sure sign of a battery problem – or maybe even a battery that is missing altogether. What is it that is the emotional and psychological equivalent of a battery? A healthy knowledge and understanding of one’s value and purpose in life – some call it self-esteem.
We could put it this way then: People, like electronics, either have an internal source of power or an external one, and sometimes both. Either your personal value is primarily internal, inherent, and unchanging, or it is primarily external, derived, and ever-shifting. Can you guess which one you get as a child of God, and which one you get as a member of our culture?
The cure for problems with your “siggy battery” is to remind yourself of the true source and basis for your self-esteem; you were created in the image of a loving and good God, making you inherently valuable and giving you a design and a purpose. We must carefully cultivate that image of God inside ourselves by being renewed through the transforming of our minds and by being imitators of God as his children. Scripture exhorts us to fix our minds on the eternal and unchanging things of God in heaven, and informs us that our lives are hidden in God with Christ, safe from harm, so that we will eventually be revealed in glory with Christ. That sure sounds like a good reason for us to have “self-esteem,” doesn’t it?
There are great benefits to getting your battery into shape. Someone whose siggy battery is in good shape won’t be always dependent on approval and input from others, nor will he or she be as affected by peer pressure or the periodic “siggy dumps” that occur from time to time in life. Healthy siggy batteries also help prevent the enmeshing that can occur between individuals in a relationship who have no sense of self without their significant other, and help prevent selfishness. Greater personal contentment is made possible because relationships are not sought only to complete oneself or to make up for personal deficiencies, but because of the mutual enjoyment and growth they make possible.
So how is your battery doing? Do you find your value and meaning in God and your status as his son or daughter, or are you being blown about by the wind of culture and the vagaries of relationships that cannot possibly provide the personal completion you seek?