Who are you? Does your life revolve around you? When we are too focused on ourselves, we tend to miss the other things going on around us. Is everything that is happening in life, only happening to you? Are we only concerned about ourselves? When we were children, I think that’s the case, but as we grow older and wiser, hopefully not. Let us widen our lens to allow the beauty of the rest of the world in. There are billions of other people out there, 7.9 to be exact. So are you self-centered or self-less?
I was at the park this past weekend trying to get a photo of this beautiful peacock through a chain link fence. My camera didn’t know what to focus on, the fence or the bird. So the first photo I got was up close and personal. –A little too close. Life can be like that sometimes when we aren’t focused on the right things. When I widened my view, I saw the beauty of his whole being.
When things happen, do we tend to think they are only happening to us? Do we think that God must be punishing us or dealing with us in some way. We can lose a loved one, a marriage fails, a job falls through. These things can happen all over the world everyday to anybody, but our focus is not on the right thing. We forget we still have food, shelter and clothing. Those are the basic life necessities. And yet sadly, not everybody has them. We take so much for granted.
How did we get so self-absorbed? Is it our culture, our society, our parents, that nurtures us into thinking that life is all about us?
30 Hour Famine
I used to teach junior high and high school students in our community about people in other parts of the world with a program from World Vision called the 30 Hour Famine. It was a real eye-opener about how the rest of the world really lives. Students would spend the weekend at the YMCA going 30 hours without food, and raising awareness about poverty around the world. Going without food was extremely hard for these young kids, and so we kept them busy with games and activities that taught them how people in other countries actually lived. It’s pretty humbling to think that right here in midwest Ohio, we are richer than 97% of the rest of the world.
There are 805 million hungry people on the globe. That’s about 1 out of every 9 people. People who don’t have enough to eat, let alone enough clothing or shelter from the weather. I tend to worry about what shoes go with my outfit, if I’m honest. My freezer is full of meat and I probably have 4 or 5 coats to choose from and a nice roof over my head. And therein lies the problem: I’m focused on me and what I have or don’t have. How about you?
How about for the next month or two we take the focus off of ourselves and look out for others? Let’s go out of our way this year and do something special for others. Let’s learn to make others more important than ourselves, because friends, believe it or not, that’s when you begin living life to the fullest.
When you become truly concerned about the welfare of others, looking out for their wellbeing, a ripple effect happens. You affect others and then they affect others and on and on. What you give out comes back to you in the form of selflessness. Helping others helps you. It warms your heart. You are no longer the center of the universe. Love becomes the center. And we know who Love is don’t we? It’s God. He becomes the Center, as He should be.
So let’s practice a few things to help us take the focus off of “self”.
- Learn about your neighbors. Do they have any needs that haven’t been met?
- Donate clothing or diapers to a pregnancy help center. Buy coats and hats and gloves for the local clothing bank. Donate food to your local food bank. Leave a backpack with blankets warm gloves or socks in the park for the homeless man hanging out under the bridge.
- You know that thing you wanted that you’ve been saving for, that toy? Take that money and give it to someone in need. Buy groceries, gas or help them pay their electric bill.
- Call your church. See what their needs are. Sign up to serve at the next service.
- Be willing to sacrifice your time to benefit someone else. Volunteer for a soup kitchen, a clothing bank or pregnancy help center.
- Visit with someone who is homebound. Help make them the center of the universe for a day. See how good it will make you feel.
- Visit a Third World country for a reality check. Take a mission trip.
Changing Our Perspective
We have become a society that is slowly losing its perspective on how important it is to think of others, especially after the last two COVID years. We have been really focused on ourselves, keeping ourselves healthy. It’s time to let go of the me mentality and get back to serving God and others.
God should be the center of your universe. Serving Him, loving Him, worshiping Him. Yes, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, but we don’t stop at loving ourselves. We have to give that love we have for ourselves away.
A personal relationship with Jesus is amazing. And as we grow in our faith and love for Him, He invites us to give away the fruit of that relationship to others through love, caring, giving, and ultimately, self-sacrifice and self-less-ness.
I’m issuing a challenge from now until the first of the new year: I’m calling it the, ‘Each one, Reach one’ challenge. I’m challenging you to start by reaching out to just one person: a family member, friend or stranger. Step outside your comfort zone and do more than you’ve ever done in your life to help someone. Stretch yourself. Do a little more than just throw some money into a collection basket. Make a difference.
Pick up this challenge and schedule it in your planner or calendar. Make helping others a habit. Because Love needs to be the center of the Universe.
You can find me on Facebook @blogbyBarb. Drop me a line and let me know what you’re doing to help others this summer. I appreciate you.