It's Not About Me... Really?
Have you ever found yourself sitting around waiting for life to happen? Do you suffer from the "if only" syndrome? "If only I had a spouse, if only I was retired, if only I had more money, if only I could lose weight," then I could (fill in the blank). When is God going to give me the desires of my heart?
Brothers and sisters, I sit here today writing this article with several major prayers unanswered. I have some very strong desires, which I know are God-given, that have not come to pass. My goal here is to encourage the believer, in whatever situation you find yourself.
Recently, I struggled with a season of slight depression. Even as children of God, we still have emotions. I don't mean to say this was an all-out desperate kind of depression, although I've been there before. It was just a slight "funk," if I can be so bold. Have you been there too? I was going through a time of questioning God. When is He going to give me the things I need to do what He's called me to do? When is He going to answer my prayers for a Godly spouse, a clear vision of His plan for my life, financial provision so that I can bless others the way my heart longs to give, etc., etc., etc.? Throughout this season, God revealed several things to me that I would like to share.
Firstly, it's really not about me. Do you ever stop to think that God's greatest commandments are about others? In the book of Matthew, a Pharisee tested Jesus by asking Him, "which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said, "...'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Mat. 22:37-40) Mark 12:31 says, "There is no other commandment greater than these." Our purpose in life is to love God first, and love our neighbors (anyone besides us) second. From these two things comes every bit of meaning in our lives. By loving God, we learn, through His grace and mercy, how to love ourselves. When we love ourselves, we can love others. This is where we can become powerful witnesses for the Kingdom. The sense of fulfillment that we have when we put another ahead of us is amazing.
Secondly, my eyes must be focused on something outside of myself. The Bible says, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Mat. 6:33) Do you want to know the quickest way to end a state of depression? Reach out to serve another. How do you do this? Volunteer in one of your church's ministries (childcare, greeting, ushering, sound, security, housekeeping, etc.). Being involved in a local church is so vital to a person's spiritual walk and growth. It's your place of fellowship, support, and ministry. Your local church needs your participation. Another suggestion is to pay attention to those around you.
When you see a need in their lives, try to meet it! It doesn't always mean money; it could mean babysitting for a friend so he/she can go on a much needed date with their spouse. Take turns driving someone to church that does not have a vehicle. If you just look around and take your eyes off yourself, you will see a bounty of needs waiting to be met. Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) Giving and serving can change your state of mind and your life. Plainly, we are to seek the Lord and His will in our lives. God knows our hearts desires. He knows what we want and need before we even ask. But He also knows that we can become consumed with our own lusts and desires if we don't place Him first. Sometimes what I want may not necessarily be the best for me. Isn't it wonderful to know that God is our "parent," our Heavenly Father, who already knows what s ahead for us? He knows which decisions we need to make to get His very best. We need to take time to seek His direction, even in the smallest things. It just takes one bad judgment to miss out on God's perfect will. However, this doesn't mean hope is lost. If you've found yourself in a situation where you've gotten off track, God's grace abounds and He can turn what was meant for evil into good. (Rom. 8:28)
Finally, I must rest in the Lord. How many times have you heard that phrase, but didn't really know what it meant? How do you "rest in the Lord?" Isaiah 26:3 says, "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You." When your mind is at peace, you can rest. The bottom line is that we have to give all of our needs and desires over to the Lord. This is what Jesus meant when He said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mat. 11:28-30) This doesn't mean that we stop praying for things and petitioning God. However, this does mean that we have to stop worrying about how and when everything is going to work out. Let God take control of the details. He did, after all, create the heavens and the earth. He is able to put the puzzle pieces of your life together. I want to encourage you today to hang in there when life is not unfolding exactly as you would like. By focusing on others, you can have peace, contentment, and fulfillment today, even when you don't know about tomorrow. Take assurance in knowing that God has it all figured out.
Prayer: Lord, I don't know how You are going to work all of this out, but I do know that You are in control. You have my best interest at heart. I am asking for (list the desires that God has placed on your heart). I will trust You to work these things out in my life how and when you see fit. Thank You for your peace in the mean time. Amen.
Copyright 2005 From My Heart To Yours