Not About Me

by - October 14, 2009

Eight years ago, I was lying on a bed with my head the largest square pillow I had ever seen. The windows of the bedroom were open slightly - a compromise of mosquitoes and stagnant heat of the non-air conditioned communist block housing in the middle of the summer. I was alone in the room, and my host Romanian family was just outside the door, but my thoughts were alone, my emotions were alone, the only interruptions were the sounds of the floor below blasting some type of Gypsy rap.

To this point in my life, my relationship with God had always been about me: my comfort, my salvation, my purpose, my calling, my worship of Him. As I lay there without the systems and structures and mechanisms of worship that to that date had helped define me as a Christian, the voice of Mike York, the missionary leading our team of college students reading the story of God's pursuit of humankind from Genesis to Isaiah to Revalation resonated in my heart. Tears welled in Mike's eyes as he read of God's loving pursuit of humankind, the purity of the life of Jesus, and how all people from all lands and languages would one day worship at the feet of Jesus. This man understood the heart of God and it made him weep.

It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.
Isaiah 46:6
As the mosquitoes bit my legs and arms, tears formed in my own eyes as I was suddenly aware that while Christ died for me, my being a Christian was not about me at all. Being a follower of Jesus was about seeing, knowing and worshiping God and responding to His pursuit of humankind from the start of creation, to the life death and resurrection of Jesus. We tend to make heros of people in the Bible, but the the real story is of how God chases and wins them, not their own actions and lives. The Bible is God's love letter in which He reveals himself, page by page, generation by generation. So often, people point at religion and call it a crutch, a tool, or a means of power and control. This really does break my heart because they are right, and this is never what Jesus intended. They are right, because I have browsed the pages of scripture, seeking to learn something about me and my purpose, the meaning of my life, seeking some explanation of my own existence, when the pages of scripture resonate with the very presence of God.

When I make faith about me, I try to protect it, justify it, wield it, compare it, use it. When my faith is about me, I come against you who do not have faith. When my faith is about me, I blame God when things don't go my way. When my faith is about Jesus, I am "too small a thing" and my heart is for more than myself. When my faith is about Jesus, I love you. When my faith is about Jesus, all I have is His. I am not a thoughtless drone saying, "God-willing I'll see you next Friday!" or "God musta just not wanted me to have those babies, " or "Praise Jesus my pizza turned out perfect this time!"

God gives. God takes. God grows. God destroys. God loves.

There is so much pain in pursuit. Anyone who tells you otherwise has never pursued or been pursued. The Bible is full of pain, God's pain, our pain.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. - Romans 8:22-25
I do not seek to understand all the ways of God in my life, but I seek to know and draw close to Him. My faith does not give me comfort, but my God does. Jesus is no crutch; He is my legs, my heart, my head, my life. This Sunday, the congregation sang and I managed to squeeze out between the tears with a shaky voice,
In your time of need, run into the arms of Jesus. In your darkest hour, run into the arms of Jesus. When you're full of fear, lean into his heart. When you're facing doubt, lean into the heart of Jesus. When you've got nothing left to give, praise unto the name of Jesus. And when the storm clouds clear, praise unto the name of Jesus. Hosanna in the highest, Your love will not fail us, no.

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5 comments

  1. What a beautiful post Paige. It's too small a thing to make it about just me...These words have been echoing in my heart all week. Thank you for reminding me again.

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  2. i can't get through that song without tears welling up. sometimes it seems so silly to me how i make worship of jesus about me. like, really?!

    you aren't alone in this & at least you recognize it & own it. sometimes that's more than i can say for myself.

    (wait - did i just make my comment about ... moi? fitting!)

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  3. "Not about me"...seems to be a theme today in blogs that I read. Very well written, Paige. Check out my cousin's blog where he said it isn't about him either: www.stuffchristianslike.net.

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