It’s NOT about ME!
A couple of days ago, I got a phone call from a loved one with discouraging news.
For some reason I was not able to gather my thoughts together and make sense of what happened. Or even know how to respond. Ultimately, I had to end our call to process the news.
My mind went to the conversation with my loved ones, and why I couldn’t respond. After thinking about it a bit, I realized that my first thoughts were about me and not them. Strangely, my mind was making their news all about my feelings, thoughts and concerns. I wasn’t thinking about how this would affect them, except by way of how it was affecting me.
One of the hard parts about being willing to do the work of making ourselves better is discovering really embarrassing things about ourselves. This was one of those embarrassing moments for me… 😳
The character trait that I was trying to avoid here was being “self-centered“. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines self-centered as “concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs, or interests“
It’s NOT About ME!
The life lesson I relearned this week was, when we make it about us, we can’t respond to those in need. We can’t mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. We can’t lift the hands that hang down or strengthen the feeble knees. We can only worry about how it will affect you.
Thinking about ourselves first is a very common reaction from those of us who have loved ones who have left the church. We typically get all wrapped up in how this news affects us. How will we look at church? What if our loved one wants to bring home their girl or boyfriend to stay overnight with us? Why are we are hurting?
Things do take time to sort through
We do need time to process these things. To maintain a strong connection with our loved ones, we really need to have the eyes and the heart to see how this information is affecting them. What do they think about how others are thinking and talking about them? Are they afraid that we will reject their girl or boyfriend? Where are their pains?
Sometimes apologies are in order
I called my loved ones back that afternoon and apologized for my reaction, and told them that I wanted to be supportive of them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very good at it yet, and asked for their understanding and patience. After I hung up, my brain was able to start thinking of ways that I could support them. With practice, I was making it about them, (the people with the problem) and NOT about how it would affect me.
For a few minutes after our 2nd phone conversation I was able to bask in the glow of being someone who was learning. Learning to walk the talk of all the things I am learning for myself and teaching others. This is what it feels like to be a follower of Christ.
Recently I’ve been consiously practicing thinking more about others, and not just about me. I’ve found that making lasting changes frequently take time and practice. Like so many areas of my life, I am still a work in progress…
Lesson for today? We all just need to remember, It’s NOT about ME!