“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
I was once told by a well-respected clergy early on in my ministry journey that, “it’s not about you.” At that time, I had shared a story with this clergy member about an incident that had occurred and was eagerly awaiting her advice. I was fresh out of school and eager to learn. However, these words were not the words that I was expecting. After getting over the shock and the initial offense that I had taken, I slowly began to see what she meant. Little did I know that her words would carry me through many trials within ministry and within my own personal life as a wife, mother, friend, and the many other roles where I have been called.
Now, let me begin by clarifying that this statement does not refer to self-care or putting others before yourself. In this case, I am referencing something different. I am referencing Christ. I am referencing what it means to serve…what it means to live out your belief in Jesus Christ during the trials that the day brings…what it means to allow others to see Christ through you. When it’s all about you, then it is difficult for others to see Christ in you. Philippians 1:6 states, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” God is always at work within our lives. When we make a situation all about us, we take the focus off God and eliminate the opportunity for God to be glorified.
For most of you who do not know me, I am guilty of being a pathological people pleaser. I often struggle to find time for self-care and am always putting others’ needs before my own. I do this so much that, many times, I feel that I have absolutely nothing left to give to anyone, let alone Christ. As moms, we want to be it all. However, reality can often pan out otherwise. We tend to get reality checks along the way that remind us of our humanity. One of these reality checks came for me this summer.
My son is an excellent baseball player with aspirations to play baseball at the college level. This summer, he participated in many multi-day baseball tournaments in many locations. To handle this hectic schedule, my husband and I decided that dividing and conquering was the best method for us to handle the hectic baseball schedule, work, our daughter’s summer schedule and home responsibilities. One day, my husband and son left town for a baseball tournament. That afternoon, I was at home preparing for the coming week when I received a very excited phone call. My son hit three homeruns in the same game. One of the homeruns was a grand slam! He was so happy. He had been working so hard and was beginning to see the fruits of his labor. I was so excited for him and in awe of what had just happened. As soon as we hung up the phone, I immediately began to thank God! And then, the Mom guilt set in big time! Oh my gosh! I wasn’t there to see it! Over and over, I told myself that I had missed it. I had missed, potentially, a once in a lifetime event. As a mom completely devoted to my children, my excitement quickly turned into tears of remorse and shame. I thought about calling my husband and son back to voice my feelings. I wanted to let them know that I should have been there. That’s when I heard a voice from the past. “It’s not about you.”
I remembered and was suddenly convicted. Why would I willingly turn joy into sadness or anger? Instead, I prayed…and I prayed... and I prayed some more. I was reminded that when I remain grateful to God, my heart is light with joy and love. This was lost when I placed my focus on my own personal feelings. 1 Cor. 10:31 states, “so whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” How often in our walk with Christ do we make things all about us and take away the miraculous nature of God in all things? Christ died for us and was resurrected so that we could be saved, and God could be glorified. When we take the focus off Christ and place that focus on ourselves, then we miss the opportunity to see God at work in our lives and in the lives of others. As a result, we miss the opportunity to bring glory to our Heavenly Father. So, don’t miss it. Look for God at work and try not to get in the way…because it’s not about you!
Heavenly Father, we thank you for all that you have done in our lives and the many ways that you are at work within us. Help us to look to you rather than ourselves. Help us to bring glory to you. Help others see you in all that we do. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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