It’s not about me. If you’ve read the best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life by author and pastor Rick Warren, you’re very familiar with that statement. In fact, he begins the famous book with that statement. Or at least I think he does? It’s been several years since I failed at my attempt to read it! This theme is also echoed within the extremely popular I Am Second movement. A movement that exists to inspire people to live for God and others. The movement features stories and testimonials of actors, athletes, musicians, celebrities, and people from all walks of life.
However, it is neither of these things that prompts me to sit here and pour my thoughts into the keyboard tonight. Tonight, “it’s not about me” originates from a conversation Shannon and I were having after attending what was a spectacular wedding this weekend. The ceremony was a wonderful celebration that captured the soul and personality of both the bride and the groom. From the groom walking in to the theme from Star Wars, the intentional absence of traditional wedding phrases such as dearly beloved and betrothed, the goofy faces the bride and groom took turns making at each other as they waited to be pronounced husband and wife, to their joyful dancing and skipping down the center aisle once that first wedded kiss was shared, it truly was a celebration of each of them and it was both an honor and a joy to be in attendance. The troubling thing for us was the overabundance of self-appointed photographers. Yes, that’s right, I am ranting about cell phone cameras!! Whether it was the fact that you could not look anywhere without being obstructed by no less than ten of these pesky devices at one time, or the fact that people were standing and blocking your view just to get a good shot, or, my personal favorite, the one walking along recording video to the point of running in and out of aisles to avoid missing the shot! It was distracting and a nuisance and, at least to the two of us, somewhat took a small amount of attention from the two whom they day was meant for. As we discussed our mutual disdain, obviously in the car as we drove away, the most annoying thing was the accurate prediction we shared of those self-appointed photogs sharing the event on social media prior to either the bride or the groom having the opportunity to do so. It’s their event . . . they should be the first to share it and it shouldn’t be shared without their permission!! Shannon summed it up best with the statement, “People don’t realize the world does not revolve around them.”
Okay, the ranting is now over, but the thought introduced will continue.
Let’s fast forward to today. As a family, we made our return to the gym for the second time in three months. (This is not about our exercise habits, or lack thereof, so let us just continue without expounding on them!!) While working out, I personally like to be left alone. My time at the gym is what I consider MY time. I plug my ears with hip-hop for cardio, rock and metal for weights, and acoustic worship for relaxation in the sauna. It is MY time and MY routine and I don’t like it interrupted! I don’t want to walk on a machine beside you and chat about the day. Son, I don’t care what app you have found on your phone. I don’t even care that you cannot connect to the wi-fi. This is my time! Leave me alone! Other than making eyes at my beautiful wife when I see her across the room, I do not want to be messed with. This is time to focus on me. But, back to the point of this, it’s not about me. As I ensured that Geoff knew I was clearly irritated with each interruption, and I moved on to the next weight machine, I was reminded of Shannon’s words and had to agree that yes, Geoffrey needed to realize that the world did not revolve around him. Moving on to my next machine, that wonderful thought was interrupted by the still, small voice asking simply, “Have I ever been irritated any time you came to me?” But, God, this is MY time. “Yes, but he is your son. Have I ever been irritated any time you came to me?” But, God, this is MY . . . it’s not about me. The world does not revolve around me. So, after the brief mental protest that I reluctantly surrendered, I finished my reps on the machine, went to my son and addressed and satisfied his concerns.
John 15:13 is a verse that many are familiar with, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.” We hear those words when tales of heroism are shared. We use those words, quite accurately, to describe the sacrifice Christ became for us. However, I believe those words can indicate something other than simply death. In the verse right before it, Christ tells us, “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” If verse 13 means only death, then we are all destined to die on behalf of someone else in order to truly love as He did. I believe in verse 13, when we are told to lay down our life, we are instructed to put aside our feelings, our agendas, our wants, and our desires for others. Remember, it’s not about me and I am second. What does this look like on a daily basis? It could be having your workout routine interrupted, it could be having your morning coffee and don’t talk to me time interrupted, it could be stopping your own task at work to assist a coworker, or could be as simple as letting someone in front of you in traffic. I believe this is how we have opportunity to lay down our life on a daily basis and, I will be the first to admit, I don’t always doing it willingly.
As a former dispatcher, I realized in conversations with my office manager at that time, that the primary function job function for my position was to allow myself to be interrupted all day long, at anytime, by any technician or manager that needed assistance. In fact, the job was structured in such a way that the dispatcher held very little responsibilities other than assisting others. What a great picture of the way our Father in heaven is for us. He is, if you will, our Heavenly Dispatcher. The irony in all this with him being my Dispatcher is, when I come to him, it IS about me. I have never been turned away, for anything, at any time, or for any reason. And, because we all have a relationship with our Father that he started by making the death of His son about us and for us, once we truly believe, understand, and grasp that fact, we are free to live our lives and joyfully do so believing it’s not about me and I am second.
If you unfamiliar with the I Am Second movement, let me encourage you to take time to explore their website and read the numerous stories and watch the numerous videos of those realizing that it’s not about me.