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4.30.2007

Not About ME

"God works in mysterious ways."

We've all heard that expression. Many of us have used it, too. It's sort of a catch-all phrase for the funny, quirky ways things work out in life. Sometimes it's meant to be an encouragement when things don't go as planned.

Like so many sayings, it's so common today that the meaning is often tuned out. But it is, in fact, true. Romans 11:33 says,
"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!"

That goes for the big things in life, as well as the small.

This past week, I went to go see a movie with a friend. I see lots of movies. Movie watching is basically a hobby of mine, because I love stories. This story was about a Bengali Indian family living in America, and it was good. (It was called "The Namesake," if you're curious.)

Anyway, in the course of the movie, a couple of tragic things happen to the family (as with all families). The son, Gogol, the titular "namesake" of the story, says something both times, to two different people. He says, "It's not about you." The first time it is to a girlfriend, who doesn't understand his change in attitude in his grief.

Somehow, that little phrase stuck with me.

It made me think (as I believe all good stories do). How often do I make myself the center of my problems? Whatever I'm going through, there are other people being affected. But I usually look at it from my perspective alone, what my needs and desires are.

The fact of the matter is, it's not always about me.

In a way, that's a relief. I tend to internalize so much, take things so personally, over-analyze things to death. I know that I do this. But hearing a phrase like that reminds me that I don't have the whole story if I'm only looking at a situation from my perspective. When I shift the emphasis, I am freed of that burden.

With friends, for example: it can be so easy to take things personally if someone doesn't call, or seem to notice if I'm upset, or listen to me. And certainly I believe all relationships need to be about give and take. But I should be free to give, without expecting so much of others. Remembering that it's not about me does just that. It frees me to care about my friends and family without needing something in return.

So am I saying God spoke to me through a movie? And a secular one, at that?? Oh, yes. The line "It's not about you," came at a very timely moment for me, and was then backed up as I read my assigned scripture for my Bible Study.

Oh, yes. God does indeed work in mysterious ways.

2 comments:

carol said...

Too true, mate! It's not about us!

cynthia said...

you know, everytime i'm going through rough stuff i'm always saying "it's not about me" and it always helps. when i tell other people about this and how it puts the focus back on God they get upset with me. they say things like, "oh, you need to spend more time thinking about yourself. if you don't you'll just lose yourself." i hate that. it's exactly what our culture says. and those phrases come from christian friends. they're brainwashed by our "it's all about me" culture. i know exactly what you're talking about. i have never lost myself or my identity by putting the focus on God during rough times. i have found, in fact, that my identity grows stronger each time i put the focus on God (but that's because our identity is in God). sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's not. but when i make the effort to look up i discover that the "rock bottom" that i've just hit is "jesus the rock." so, good for you, jess. for standing up against our "me, me, me" culture and telling the truth.