Okay, sometimes I do think it’s all about me. If you could look into my thoughts I’d be busted. Little flakes of entitlement would be seen drifting by and sometimes settling down in my mind. Some start with the subjective “I deserve” (e.g. a break, to think of myself, to be left alone); some begin with the arrogant and/or naive “I expected” (e.g. the day to run smoothly, to be asked about…, respect).
I really battle with this honest view of myself. Because I’ve had glimpses of glory when I’ve been aware enough to ask for perspective from the Holy Spirit. And those moments formed my world view that putting others first is a blessed way to live. Although grateful for those moments of breakthrough, I often fall back into doing-it-apart-from-Christ mode – also known as, all about me.
My husband and I have started attending a church just outside of DC. The church had a breakfast Easter Sunday and at our table there was a gal originally from Venezuela, one from Honduras, another from Ethiopia, a young man who seemed to have a disability, and a white couple who work in influential government jobs. I had been told you could be sitting at that church with a homeless person on one side and a millionaire on the other. That is no exaggeration. I like that. I really like that.
So what does that have to do with my ego-centric thoughts? Living in a diverse community is a great reminder that it is not all about me. I bet that homeless guy in the pew didn’t expect his life to go the way it has gone. I bet that influential couple doesn’t attend church in spite of their influential life filling every longing of their hearts. I bet those women who made moves from other countries didn’t get what they deserved: warm welcomes, recognition of their innate value as a human being, a community coming along side them to soften the culture shock and loneliness. I bet that young man rarely feels he’s the center of positive attention.
The community of believers in Jesus is, among many other things, a reminder that in many ways we don’t get what we deserve or expect; we actually get more than we could have hoped for or imagined. We get to grow. When God sets to grow his children up he does it through life experiences that take us out of our comfort zone. “I deserve” and “I expected” generally come from “I want comfort”.
Okay, sometimes I do want comfort. And sometimes because of God’s grace he gives me comfort. But a life of comfort does not make for a satisfying life. It really doesn’t. Even comfort can become boring and unfulfilling. But growing as a follower of Christ is quite the opposite. It is exciting and fulfilling. And it never comes about with a thought life that entertains the notion that it’s all about me.
There is no lasting satisfaction in being recognized as one who is deserving. There is joyful satisfaction in being thought enough by your God to be used by him to make a difference in the lives of others. I’m just not going to make a difference believing I deserve what I expect.
I will make a difference asking Jesus who I can serve and give his love to on this day. I will make a difference becoming who God is growing me to be.