Monday, July 22, 2013

GET OVER YOURSELF


"She's all that."

Ever heard that phrase?

The Urban Dictionary defines it like this:

"…means that a person thinks they are the coolest…person in the world. Most often it is only an opinion of the person. Often times the person who thinks they are "all that" is the only person who thinks they are."

Hmmm.

Yeah, though I suffer from low self-esteem most of the time, with a healthy dose of inferiority complex thrown in, I also seem to find it easy to focus obsessively on myself.

I spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about how I'M feeling, how I'M acting, what I'M thinking, how I'M looking.

Blah, blah, blah.

It's actually distressing to realize how myopically focused I am on the trivial travails of being me.

This realization was rather forcefully thrown in my path by two separate encounters in the last week.


The first came in a blog post.

(Please forgive me, whoever wrote it.  I can't seem to remember who it was, and where I found it.  Senior moment, week, year…)

The post was talking about weathering storms.  About how there are just certain times in one's life when the going gets rough.  When the gales of struggle blow hardy, and the swells of fear and turmoil incessantly break upon us.

It's easy to become discouraged, overwhelmed, afraid.

I knew what this post was talking about.  I've shared with you guys the new difficulties of becoming a part-time caretaker for my parents.  About how these last few months have been the stormiest I've ever had.

So, I was nodding my head as I read this post.  Muttering a heartfelt, "Oh yes."   Clapping my hands in a figurative, "Sing it, sister."

But then…there was that other part of the post.

The part where she talked about the storms in OTHER people's lives.

And how sometimes, when we are so focused on our own *stormy weather*, we forget to see that there are others who are fighting their own storms.

I got to thinking about this.

I've whined, complained, *oy-veyed* about how this new phase with my parents has affected me.

And largely, that's all I've been looking at.

A lot of me.

You see, I've been so caught up in the storms in MY life, that I've failed to recognize the storms in Mom and Dad's lives.  They are, after all, struggling too.

Ouch.

They are the ones who are facing growing older, with a loss of so many things that I still take for granted.  The ability to move around easily, the ability to hear and see well, the ability to remember things, the ability to drive and be independent – among other things.

Their storms are just as bad, and probably worse, than mine.

But have I been so focused on MY storm, that I can't see the other people who are battling the waves in their lives?

The answer to that would be yes.


Lesson Number One:  Don't be so caught up in your own storm that you fail to see those who might be drowning around you.


The other encounter occurred in one of those love/hate my devotional moments – (which I wrote about HERE).

It was the familiar story about Lazarus being raised from the dead.  

You know, that VERY familiar story.

Sometimes, as a life-long believer, it's easy for me to think that I've "heard it all."  However, God has this unique and powerful way of teaching me new insights from His Word ALL THE TIME.  (I like that about Him…even when I shake my little fist at the sky!)

So, this devotion was focusing on how Jesus intentionally CHOSE to wait before He went to visit Mary and Martha.  How He made a conscious DECISION to wait until Lazarus had died.

This was the line that stopped me:

"Jesus intended to bring his friend Lazarus back to life, and part of His purpose was to bolster the faith of the disciples."

Here's how that got me thinking...

I know that life is going to be full of difficulties.  Earthly life is peppered with suffering and turmoil.

And, I've always tried to do my best to hold on.  There are plenty of verses that tell me that God has a purpose in my suffering.  There is a reason…

But I have always focused on the reason for the trouble as it pertains to MY life.  How it might increase MY faith.

This is most often true.

But this devotion got me looking at this from a different side.

What if the things that happen to me, my faith struggles, might just have a greater purpose OUTSIDE of myself?

What if my faith struggles might be happening to bolster someone else's faith?

What if it's NOT all about me?


I think of Job.  He never knew the behind-the-scenes battle that was being waged between the devil and God.  He never really got the "answers" he was looking for.

And, sure enough, Job's faith WAS increased by the suffering he went through.

But, there was undoubtedly other purposes that God had in mind.  I can think of two…

First, Job's struggle struck a blow against the enemy.  Job's decision to stay true to the Lord, in spite of a horrible life situation, defeated the devil's taunts and temptations.

Job's faith gave the smackdown to Satan's lie, "What if God isn't really good?"

And, might I just add, that Job's testimony of faith has blazed through the centuries as a beacon of trust to all of us who have followed.  

My faith has certainly been bolstered by the witness of Job's unwavering faith in the midst of excruciating circumstances.

Might Job's troubles have been for the purpose of encouraging us now?  

Might Job's struggles have been for the purpose of encouraging Jesus?

Jesus, who knew all about the unseen battles that were being fought in the heavenly realms.  Jesus, who knew that the devil would never win, but was still sorely tested.

Jesus, who knew He had to die.


What if the whole story of Lazarus wasn't just for the disciples the twelvebut for all of the disciples that would follow – including us?

What if Jesus could look back at this moment, and remind Himself on the cross that His Father indeed held the power and authority over death?

Might He have been encouraged to remember that death could not hold Him in the grave?

The answer to that would be yes.


Lesson Number Two:  My faith struggles might have a purpose far beyond me – in the heavens, and in the hearts of fellow believers.


You know, I think it's time that I get over myself, and start looking at the world with clearer eyes.  Eyes a little (a lot) less focused on myself.  Eyes that see beyond my struggles, and see perhaps the glimmer of a greater purpose.


"She's all that."

No, actually, I'm not.  (Thank goodness!)

But HE sure is!!





I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.



"Don't think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us." 
(Romans 12:3, NLT)

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT)

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up." (Hebrews 12:1, NLT)


In what area of your life do you need to *get over yourself*?



***SIDENOTE!  Hello everyone!  Last Wednesday in the middle of the night, "The Hub" and I were evacuated from our home due to a fire that came within a mile of our home and town.  
We were finally able to return tonight (Sunday).  

We are so grateful to so many people who fought this fire, and managed to save our town and our home.

But, more than anyone else, we truly believe that God intervened in a supernatural way.  He controlled resources and the weather to work to the greatest advantage for the firefighting efforts.  Praise His name!

Keep praying - 7 homes were lost in an area outside of town.  These people need His comfort at this time.

Words will never be able to express our gratitude for all your thoughts and prayers!

Look for what God taught me through this experience on next Monday's post, July 29th.  

GOD BLESS!  

(And oh, how He did!)***


Linked today with:

Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
Jen at UNITE
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Debi, Jenifer, and Shari at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!

27 comments:

  1. Praising God for keeping watch over you dear sis. Really enjoyed this post. Prayers and love continue for you.

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  2. Great post, hit home for me too. So pleased you are able to be back in your home and it is undamaged.

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  3. Excellent post and very challenging to keep our hearts and minds focused on the Lord and His work in our lives and His purpose in loving others. I'm so glad you are safe and am praying right now for those 7 families.

    Coming over from Hear it on Sunday link-up.

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  4. I'm all over #1. My mother taught me (vocally and by example) that if I put forth the effort to shelter someone else, my problems seem much smaller. I love Lesson #2. I have never thought of it like this before. God doesn't waste our trials -- not for us or others. Thank you, Sharon, for opening my eyes and heart to this truth.

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  5. What a wonderful post, Sharon! I have admitted too often (in the form of whiney hiney emails) the area where I most need to get over myself. This post is a timely reminder to me.

    I'm so happy about the fire where YOUR home is concerned, but I am praying with you for the ones who didn't have their home and treasures spared. I have also prayed and am praying that God will use this fire in a mighty way in the eyes of the watchers.

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  6. First, so thankful for the report on your home, and so sorry for those who lost their homes. It must be so awful to see it all disappear.

    Second, I'm just saying it one more time... I'm so glad you write!
    Not only do I always get challenged, here, so many times I feel you are writing my own heart. Thanks Sharon, this is so special.

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  7. Sharon, So grateful that God saved your home and is controlling the fires. I'm sorry for those that lost their homes. May God use you to bless them in some way.

    But did we have to go through Job again??? Between my post and yours, I'm really under conviction here about how much I focus on my trials, to not trust God, to wiggle and whine all the way through. Taking my eyes off of my self and seeing others need is the cure for so much that ails me.

    Thank you, Sharon.

    Blessings,
    Janis

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  8. Oh my Sharon I must say ouch, ouch, and ouch again. We are so much a like. I'm often guilty of the "me"itis.

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  9. As always with your writings, Sharon, you have smacked me square in the face! I totally could have written this myself - if I wasn't so wallowing in all the "self" expressed here. Feeling so disjointed and struggling with my direction and confidence. Fighting the "nay-sayer" voices. At such a time, I really just need to drop everything - every empty activity and effort - and hunker down in my quiet place chair - listen . . . read . . . wait.

    Currently reading Willie Robertson's Duck Commander book - on the tail of his father, Phil's book. Willie's will have much for me specifically, I think - as Phil's dealt with the overall simplicity of faith and authenticity. Needing a few good fire-fighters in my mind just now - to douse the doubt.

    So glad you guys are safe and your home secure from the flames. I'll look forward to your story next week!

    Joy!
    Kathy

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  10. I found out that NOTHING is ALL about us - not even a little bit is about us sometimes. But if that is you in the photo - I can't understand your low self esteem. You are beautiful! I would love to look like you. I know that is off the track - but it is what came to my mind. sandie

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    1. Yes, that is me - and thank you!!

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  11. Yes, you are very pretty, Sharon. Nice to finally see a photo of you. Hard to see with the big cowgirl hat! :o)
    This is a wonderful post and, as always, I come away challenged and having something meaty to chew on for the week.
    Sooo thankful your home was not burned down and I prayed for those who lost theirs. So sad.
    Hugs~

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  12. Oh my goodness, Sharon. This is a post that resonates, vibrates, and has me shaken to the core as aha moments came to life. Max Lucado has a book titled, " it's not all about me"..... I think I need to read it again. I read recently that people who have low self esteem are self centered! I had not thought of myself as self centered but I do struggle with low self esteem. So much to ponder here Sharon. A packed post. You are a great writer! Love your picture too....and I love your cowboy hat too, my hubby has worn one for 30 years!

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  13. Glad to hear you are back in your home safe and sound.
    Wonderful post, one I can really relate to (unfortunately), it's not all about me!

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  14. I am so thankful your home was spared! I find that I often can get caught up in myself, my emotions, my circumstances, etc. I find when I purpose to help others and reach out even when I don't feel like it, it puts my focus back onto Jesus and onto others. Blessings!

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  15. Thank you for sharing at "Tell Me a Story." Yes, we do zero on so often on ourselves - - me me me, and our feeling that we could have done better. Those doubts are not from God and when we realize that God thinks us as capable, willing to serve others as if we are serving him. Be encouraged in your caregiving, although you may 'feel' you are not appreciated at times, know that God sees your love shown. It is so great that your home was preserved. I know your town will go through their towels, sheets and other things to help those who lost their homes.

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  16. Stuff happening behind the scenes....a great reminder to me to trust when I don't understand and want to complain.
    Grateful you and hubs are safe. Love your honest open heart Sharon....wishing you a beautiful day out there.

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  17. So true! It is good to remember that we are only part of the picture. There is a bigger one that we may not ever see, but can trust God that it is there and real. I have been guilty of focusing inward way too often. I think the "pity-party" thing is part of being a flawed human - not a good part, but a part of us anyway. But, I am so thankful that God is continually forgiving, teaching, guiding and loving us as we come to understand that it's not all about us.

    Blessings, Sharon!! In Him, Joan

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  18. Wonderful thought provoking post- love the pic! Trying to "get over myself" by serving others, making time for others and in helping others with the practical parts, food, encouragement and time.
    Love you!

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  19. Great encouragement to be aware of those facing storms around us!

    Thanks so much for linking up with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday! I hope you'll join us again next week. God bless!

    Jenifer

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  20. Praise God you are safe! May we decrease so that He increases.
    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting on Saved by Grace!
    Your blog is a blessing and I am now following it, and I invite you to follow Saved by Grace also:
    http://savedbygracebiblestudy.blogspot.com/
    Love in Him,
    Laurie Collett

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  21. Powerful post chock full of God's truth and teaching, also his tender care. I'm so grateful for who you are, Sharon. Your faith and struggles teach me as well. We aren't making these steps alone; we take them together. Marching onward in grace, sister, one faithful step at a time. Even when we don't feel it . . . especially then.

    Love and peace~elaine

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  22. Glad your home was spared.

    This post will hit home with MANY of us so you're not alone in thinking you're all that. :-( Thanks for sharing this hard lesson though; I need to hear it too.

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  23. Hi, Sharon!
    Your post reminds me of Brandon Heath's song "Give Me Your Eyes." I've been thinking of you since you visited me and praying that you're doing okay. So sorry some lost their homes.

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  24. Sharon,

    Thank you so much for this insightful post. I know I am so guilty of thinking those same thoughts. I have to remind myself daily that's it's not all about me.

    Blessings,
    Debby

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  25. I think many people today are "legends in their own mind" as this is evident in music, T.V. programming and often I feel many Christians just want to act sweet and smile and they never get involved in issues that tend to dirty ones hands.
    I liked your honesty and these words to put together today. Thanks for taking tie to share with us.

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"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)