I learned at an early age how to bait a hook, cast a line, reel in a fish, and clean a fish once it’s been caught. This was all done so the family could then have a fish fry in my grandparents’ backyard. Yet with all of those lessons learned about fishing, I never realized the uniqueness of different species of fish, specifically flounder.
Flounder are hunted at all stages of their lives. Apparently, they are delicious to more than just humans. When a flounder is born, he looks like a normal fish. Yet after a while, he moves to the floor of his habitat to help protect himself from being hunted. Over time, the side on which he chooses to lie becomes flat, and his eye moves to the other side of his body.
But there’s a flaw in this plan. When we shut ourselves off emotionally from the rest of the world, our vision changes. No longer can we clearly see others. All we see are ourselves and our problems. Oblivious to the needs of others, we become selfish, prideful, and callous.
Admittedly, I have done this. After I became sick with a second autoimmune disease, I decided to shut myself off from the rest of the world. I had big problems to deal with, so why should I care about someone else’s problems? I didn’t need the added stress that can come from relationships. Although my plan worked, there was an unforseen issue. Not only did I keep myself locked up from the rest of the world’s problems, I shut myself off, so much so that no one could get close to me. I became isolated, lonely, and depressed.
Thankfully, God can open doors that no one else can. As He began working on my heart, He reminded me of what Jesus did for me by dying on the cross. Imagine where we would be if Christ had decided to protect Himself and not worry about other’s problems? For starters, He wouldn’t have died on a cross to save us from our sins, which means we wouldn’t be able to be filled with His hope, peace, and joy when our lives are anything but happy.
Over the past few years, I’ve realized an important truth. Anyone who has a relationship with Christ has no right to become a bottom-dweller. God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die on a cross and save us from our sins. No matter what trial we are facing, because of Christ, we can live our lives joyfully because of God’s amazing love.
There are many people around us suffering who don’t have this hope, and they need to meet the God who can keep them from drowning in their pain. Yet we can’t point them to Christ if we’re focused on our trials, our suffering, and our pain. So are you a bottom-dweller like the flounder, or are you living with both eyes open looking out for the needs of others? Speaking as a former bottom-dweller, you’ll never regret opening your eyes and changing your focus.
So what are you waiting for?
“Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus: Though He was in the form of God, He did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. But He emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings. When He found Himself in the form of a human, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” ~ Philippians 2:3-8 (CEB)
(c) August 23, 2012