Rick Warren’s 2002 #1 best-seller “The Purpose Driven Life” began with this line:
“It’s not about you.”
Really? I thought it was about me. I thought I was here to pursue happiness. But the funny thing about happiness is that the more I focus on it, the less of it I have. Believe me, I’ve tried. It doesn’t work. Here’s something I’ve found that does work.
Every time a problem comes into my life, I have a choice to make. I can get annoyed by “one more thing” that I now have to deal with. Or, I can look at it as an opportunity to show God’s grace to another person. An opportunity to bless someone else. To be a conduit of God’s love.
Think about it. Just about every problem we’re faced with finds its solution in another human being:
1) The car insurance is messed up. We need to call the insurance company and talk to a person. Maybe they’re having a really bad day. My cheerful attitude could be exactly what they needed today.
2) We have a medical problem. We need to see a doctor, or multiple doctors to get to the bottom of it. We might need testing. More people to interact with. We might need a prescription. More people at the drug store. We’re referred to a specialist. More people to bless. We don’t know what their lives are like, but we can choose to be a bright spot in their day.
3) The window is broken. We need to call Independent Window Repair. We get to talk to the woman on the phone, the man who comes to measure, the woman who calls to schedule the installation and the man who comes to install the new glass. One problem = 4 people to bless.
The Apostle James put it this way:
“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
James takes it a step further. Not only do we have an opportunity to bless others, but we’ll be blessed in the process through building perseverance. I love the thought of being “mature and complete, not lacking anything.” But I can’t get there by focusing on my own happiness, because Rick Warren was right. It’s not about me.
The Apostle Matthew put it this way:
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25 (NIV)
If we focus on getting our lives just how we want them, we’ll be wasting our time. We’ll never get there. But if we do what Jesus said was most important, keeping our focus on loving God and loving others (Mark 12:29-31), we’ll find real life. Life that really matters and, in the end, fulfills.
As a side note, just because I write about these things, doesn’t mean that I practice them very well. Actually, I think I write for accountability. The Lord knows my track record, so if I put all of this in writing, I have to keep going back to Him, or I really will be a hypocrite. I think this blog is God’s gift to me. And I hope it’s my gift to you. I encourage you, and you encourage me.
Ok, ready? Let’s go be a blessing!