I’ve been searching the Scriptures for days now, and I can’t seem to find anything that talks about focusing on myself. Crazy, isn’t it? I mean, what in the world is prayer for anyway?
Ohhhhhh….I’m supposed to be praying for other people? Well, I can barely get through my list of problems, needless to say everyone else’s.
Come on now…don’t pretend like you’ve never felt this way before. Man, I’ve felt it lately! And I’ve noticed a pattern with this feeling. I seem to be doing everything right- I’m reading my Bible, praying, trying to live out Biblical principles, going to church. All of it- but I’m constantly looking at me.
And ME always disappoints.
So it becomes this downward spiral of…but I’m doing this, this, and this, so why do I feel so “off”? Why do I feel so far away?
Everytime I get this feeling, my first thought is to focus on someone else. Now, I’m not saying that in a holier-than-thou type of way. In fact, most times when it crosses my mind, I dismiss it as obscene, knowing that, clearly, the most appropriate response to me feeling less than spectacular is to focus on what’s wrong with me. Or is it?
For such a long time, I thought it was a type of “avoidance behavior” to help someone else with their problems, instead of dealing with mine. But, what I’ve learned lately (well, I’ve learned it many times before, but it must not have sunk into this hard noggin’ yet so He keeps reinforcing ; )…is that focusing others when I’m in the midst of “the funk” is exactly what will get me out.
Ironic, I know.
It doesn’t make sense, but then again, does faith ever fully make sense?
The kingdom of God is an upside down one. Die to live. Give to gain. Share to abound. You get the point. It contradicts our natural tendencies. And just as my natural inclination in the middle of “the funk” is to seclude myself with Jesus and get some divine “me time,” I’m learning more and more that it’s not always His way of working.
Dont’ get me wrong – there are times worth treasuring at the feet of my Savior when it’s just He and I. Times where I can cry and pray and simply be me – dirty laundry on the line. After all, He is our Burden Bearer. But there are also times where He says, “My girl, you need to open your eyes a bit and realize that you aren’t the only one with problems. ‘In this world, you will have many troubles, but take heart, for I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).”
It’s like staring at a question on an exam forever and a day. If you don’t know the answer, staring at it isn’t going to lead to an epiphany. But, if you look at some other questions, it might jog your memory and help you discover a solution that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
All this to say, I’ve taken a few steps back. And with it, I’ve reclaimed some lost joy. With less time to focus on me and my problems (which would take a lifetime to put to rest), I can set my sight on others.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:3-5