“It’s not about you.”
In a nutshell, that was the message from a recent Sunday’s church sermon. The point was more or less how our entire lives are supposed to be about pointing to Christ.
I didn’t like that. I’m embarrassed to admit that it bugged me for some time. If the message is true, then I might have gotten things wrong. In fact, most of my life has been about me. My goals, my hopes, my dreams. My plans for health, adventure, fitness, food, family, fun. I’m not saying faith isn’t foundational to how I'm wired, but I can't truly say I'm dedicated to all about Christ.
At first, that message made me mad. I was mad because it challenged every part of me. Maybe this Christian thing is too hard and the standards are too high. I can never be good enough, smart enough, Biblical enough, surrendered enough.
The more I looked at my life not being about me, the more I realized how I loved the things that were about me.
I like the things that are sparkly, beautiful, fun, and joyous. I like Christmas Jesus and Easter Sunday Jesus. It's hard to handle the nailed to the cross Jesus. I didn’t like the things that required deep sacrifice, being uncomfortable, pointing out my inadequacies and mistakes. In truth, when it becomes not about me, it becomes hard.
Those words, “it’s not about you” called me out. It struck a chord that required me to re-check my motives, my heart, and my faith. You can’t hear that statement and stay the same. If you allow it to wash over you and stir you up, you can’t help but consider what it might look like to live in such a way that's not about you.
So how do you do that? We all have work to do, families and people to care for, laundry to get done, dishes to wash, bills to pay. While we are here, we want to also enjoy things like free time, hobbies, vacations, and fun things. In short, we have a lot to do.
I'm not exactly sure how to live as if it's only about Christ. But I do know that God can use all of it. I think God likes joyful and fun things, too. All of our work, play, friends, family, passions, pleasures - all of it can be how we honor and point to Him. If we decide to.
John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy; I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full." (NIV)
I love the last two words – the full. In fact, whenever I am on the fence about whether or not I should do something, I think, "Jesus came so that I would have life to the full.” Boom. Let’s go. If I were invited to go back and edit that verse on behalf of John, I might add two little words, “for Him.” So instead of saying only having it to the full, it would encourage and remind me, “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full, for Him.”
Because in truth, He is the one who gave it. He is the one who sacrificed for all of it. He is the one that came as a baby and was nailed to the cross. He is the one who walked the earth so I could enjoy all things I get to enjoy. It is from Him and for Him. That statement inspires me, ruins me, and humbles me.
I want to make it not about me. I'm not exactly sure how to do that, but I know God can use all of it. I’m going to begin in the simplest way, prayer.
God, show me what it looks like to make it not about me and all about you. Amen.
Whether this notion is easy or hard for you, my encouragement is to start wherever you are. Like me, if you don’t get it at all, invite Christ to show you what it means. It's okay if it makes you mad or humbled - I'm right there with you. Or if you understand it richly, help others like me grow deeper to walk it out. Because in truth, that's where the joy hangs out. The deepest experiences in life are when I am able to celebrate, love, treasure, and bless others, for Him.
There is no greater calling, there is no greater gift than to dedicate our days for Him.