"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."
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.
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 twelve – but 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.
(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!