As I was driving home from work today, the words for this post were firing off and coming together so quickly in my head that I couldn’t wait to come here and start writing — I was thinking about a conversation I had in my bible study last night, and a conversation I had at work today, and a line from a sermon last Sunday that has stayed with me all week, and as all of these things combined to create the firestorm of words that brought me here, one realization stood far above the rest: it’s not about you.
It’s a statement that seems simple and easy to digest, but I think most of us know that this realization never fully ingrains itself in our hearts. Last night, I was discussing with my bible study the ways in which we react when we feel like God is fading in our lives. In my case, I often decide to fade out as well — and that’s how I’ve been for the past few months: distant from God. It never escaped me that He was still there and working in my life, but I stubbornly avoided looking to Him intentionally because I didn’t want to feel burdened by this time of spiritual dullness. And over and over again, I asked myself the question:
Why can’t your heart be on fire for God and His mission?
So the weight got heavier. And when I would reflect on who God was, it always came back to how I was in my relationship with Him. He couldn’t just be good on His own; I needed Him to be good because He was bringing me happiness and good circumstances — it wasn’t until my drive home today that I realized what was really going on in my heart.
You see, the real problem has been that my view of God recently has been all about me. Because I wasn’t invested in Him, I assumed He wasn’t all that invested in me. Because I wasn’t praying intentionally, I assumed that He didn’t know what I needed. It sounds foolish for me to have been caught up in such a false thought process, but I was so consumed by it that I couldn’t see past it. And by the grace of God, a number of situations throughout the past few days culminated to a moment today when I realized that there are so many people who are missing out on the reality of the gospel. I know we hear people recite these large statistics about people all around the world who are nonbelievers and it’s easy to see it as someone else’s burden, but those people also include our friends, classmates, coworkers and family members. Those numbers include some of the nicest people you know — and that became very real to me the other day when one of my friends said something about Christianity that made me feel like I had been punched in the stomach. There are people who are offended, hurt, angry, confused and so much more when it comes to what they believe about Christians and the God we serve. A lot of these people don’t know it, but if you’re a believer, you know that we’re all in desperate need of a Savior.
For the past year or so, I’ve constantly asked myself why I couldn’t be as on fire for God as I was when I was on Summer Project. After countless nights of trying to fabricate a passion for what God is doing, I finally realized that while I was on that trip, I was constantly being reminded to think of the people who haven’t heard the gospel yet. During that time, I understood that my life here wasn’t about me — it was about bringing people to Christ and explaining to them how He died to save them. Between then and now, I think the devil has pulled that realization away from me so slowly and gradually that I never noticed a problem until I was sitting there asking God why He couldn’t just serve me more.
After several months of trying to live a life that is solely about me, I can say with confidence that it doesn’t produce true, heartfelt joy. But if I didn’t have a relationship with God, I don’t think there would be any other option besides living for myself — for those of us that have been fortunate enough to see God for who He really is, there is such a great purpose for us in even the most mundane of circumstances. For me, that means that I have to stop focusing on myself for long enough to let God work through me in whatever way He has planned.
It has been a long time since I’ve felt the overwhelming need to write a post on this blog, which has been really hard for me. But today, as I thought about the unbelievable power that God has to redeem our broken hearts and lost souls, I felt a passion for His mission that I haven’t felt in a while. For the first time in a long time, I’m truly grateful that my life isn’t about me. Praise Him.