“I wanna talk about me, wanna talk about I, wanna talk about number one. Oh my me my. What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see.” If you ever listen to country music, then you probably recognize these lyrics by Toby Keith. Although it’s an amusing song, there’s a lot of truth to it. People like to think about themselves. It’s a fact of life. We all have the tendency to be selfish.
I. Me. My. Mine. Myself. These are just a few of the words we use to talk about ourselves on a daily basis. If we were to take just one day and count the number of times we think about ourselves, we would all be shocked and most likely appalled.
Now don’t get me wrong. It’s important to have a healthy self-esteem and take care of ourselves, but there’s a fine line between doing what’s best for ourselves and being self-absorbed. It’s a line most of us unknowingly cross, and this is even truer when living with a chronic illness.
Our worlds become small and narrow when we’re diagnosed with a chronic illness. Dreams are replaced with burdens. Adventures are replaced with doctors’ appointments. Spending time with friends is replaced with time spent on the couch watching television. Even though we can’t help it, our lives can become very one dimensional.
Because of this, it’s easy to focus on ourselves. Instead of thinking about what we can do, we focus on what we can’t do. Instead of thinking about how we can bless and encourage others, we wonder if anyone will encourage us. Instead of trying to make a difference in the lives of others, we bemoan the fact that we are sick and unable to change the world. But the common denominator in this equation is us and our attitude. It’s self-focused and self-absorbed. It’s all about me.
We commit a great disservice to God when we do this. Not only are we taking our focus off Him, but we are forgetting who He is and what He can do. God isn’t limited by our limitations. Yet He can’t use someone who’s too selfish to notice those around him.
Maybe it’s just me, but I have the tendency to greatly dislike where God has placed me. I’m thirty-one and have to live with my parents because I’m sick. Not only that, but I live in the middle of nowhere. It’s a nice place with wonderful people, but it’s one of the most rural counties in the entire state of South Carolina. So obviously since God has placed me here, than it’s not very important, right? If this were a game show this is where you’d hear the buzzer telling me I’m wrong. The thing I tend to forget is God has placed me where I am. Because of that, it is important, and that’s true for all of us.
If you’re confined to your home and only have contact with your family, it’s important. If you’re a business tycoon employing hundreds of people in New York City, it’s important. If you live in the plains of Africa in a remote village, it’s important. Wherever you are, God has placed you there, and it’s important! We may not understand why our lives have turned out the way they have, and we may never know, but that doesn’t negate the importance of where God has placed us. He can use each of us to make a difference in the lives of others.
Susanna Wesley learned this lesson early on in her life. Living during the 1700s, she understood hardship all too well. Although she gave birth to nineteen children, only ten made it to adulthood. Her husband abandoned her and their children on more than one occasion, and often without money to pay the bills and purchase food. Her home caught fire on two separate occasions, not to mention the fact one of her children was crippled. Despite dealing with her own illness, she was the mother, father, and teacher to her children. She had every reason to throw a pity party, yet she chose to focus on her children and teach them that even though their father struggled to show them his love, they had a Heavenly Father who loved them beyond a shadow of a doubt. Instead of focusing on herself and her problems, Susanna realized that the place she was in was important because God was there. And because of her faithfulness to God, her sons John and Charles Wesley became devout men of God, started the Methodist church, and led countless people to Christ.
Amidst all her suffering, I doubt Susanna Wesley imagined how God would use her children. She didn’t have a map of how her life would turn out. All she had was the truth of Colossians 3:23-24. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
It may not always feel like it, but God has a purpose for your life. He’s chosen you to point others to Him, even if it’s simply by doing the dishes and folding laundry for your family. Everything you say and do matters! Your life and attitude is a reflection of who you believe God to be.
So what does your life say?
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him.” ~ Colossians 3:17
© February 10, 2016