by Dina Sleiman
Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ~Galatians 2:20 (The Message Version)
* * *I would like to share four little words that are life changing, revolutionary, challenging, even a bit frightening, but they are also the most freeing four words you will ever read.
It's not about me.
It's not about me?!?!? Seriously? Are you kidding? This should be one of the most elemental facets of our Christian faith. Being born-again, dying to self, dying to the flesh, making Jesus the Lord of your life, putting away the old man, love your neighbor as yourself. All these basic tenants of our faith clearly demonstrate that it is not about me. It's all about Jesus, God, ministering to others, accomplishing God's purpose on earth.
Of course, my American culture tells me the exact opposite. It tells me that it is all about me and about feeling good. It tells me that I'm number one, and I should look out for myself, maybe my family, but rarely much farther than that. The American culture has colored our Christianity negatively in this area.
It's not about me is very freeing, though. When it's not about me, I can let so many things go. Most of the issues I struggle with, stress, worry, and obsess over begin to fall away when it's not about me. Let me name a few things that I won't have in my life anymore when it's not about me: pride, greed, selfishness, jealousy, competitiveness, pressure, and embarrassment.
Perhaps as I grow in it’s not about me, I will even let go of fear, guilt, rejection, and hurt feelings.
That's a whole lot of freedom for four little words to accomplish, and yet I think the list goes on and on. Of course, temptation to sin is still out there, but it is much easier to resist with an it's-not-about-me mindset. In fact, I think true maturity in Christ comes through an understanding of these four words. At that point you can relax, enjoy life, enjoy God, and let go of everything else.
Let’s all say it one more time, “It’s not about me.”
Now mind you, it's not about me is not an instruction to become a victim or a punching bag. You are every bit as important to God as each of the other people you minister to. God wants to take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. He loves you and wants you to be well provided for. But, remember the all important: why? So that you can be free to minister to others and reach out and accomplish God's purposes on earth.
So, how do you balance this? I think you need to learn to hear from God, to sense his subtle prompting, to know his voice, to know his word. Sometimes when someone treats you terribly God will give you a feeling or a sense to let it go, since after all, it's not about you. A different time, he may prompt you to kindly let them know that their behavior is inappropriate and hurtful and will drive people away. So that the other person can learn and grow and become closer to him. But only God knows if it's the right time, and if it’s the right person.
Even concerning helping others, we need to hear from God. We can never help every single person in every single way. It's not humanly possible. That's God's job, not ours. In fact, if we try to, we're probably going to be doing a lot of the wrong things: doing things that aren't our calling, getting into stress and worry, draining ourselves, doing things that aren't in God's timing, even fixing things for people when God wants them to turn to him and not to other human beings.
Blessing others is the most Christ-like thing we can do, and yet we still need God's gentle prompting as to when and how we should help. If we think we have to do it all on our own and make it our responsibility, we're making it about us, not about God. Pride and self-centeredness enter in. I'm making it about me if I think I have to do it all, and in case I haven't mentioned...
It's not about me!