When was the last time you encountered someone who believes the world revolves around them? They’re actually not that hard to find. We’re living during “Generation Me”, a generation of people who thinks life is all about “Me”.
Regardless of our age, we all fit into GenMe one way or another (even if it’s by six degrees of Kevin Bacon). And GenMe has some great qualities. We’re young and vivacious. We believe in honesty and living with passion for a cause, regardless of what that cause may be. But we also have deep-rooted expectations of entitlement, believing we deserve things right away and shouldn’t have to pay our dues or put time in to learn the ropes and climb the ladder. We don’t want to be bored. And we have a hard time accepting criticism because we see it as negativity or a personal attack on our dreams.
We don’t try to be self-centered. In fact, many of us actually go out of our way to put others first. So much so that we often feel like it’s never about us. Just in the last couple of weeks I’ve been complaining to God saying, “Lord, just once I want it to be about ME!”
And I think He laughs.
Because if I start looking at things from God’s perspective, I really do act like it’s all about me. I’m too busy to spend time with Him in devoted prayer. I ask Him to reveal Himself to me through His Word, but I don’t have time to sit and listen to His answer or really delve deep. Could He speak to me while I’m in the car? But then I’m on the cell phone or reading emails or texting during red lights. I’ll check in with Him again during a quick blessing at lunch and dinner. And I try to get back to quality reading time before bed, while I’m watching the news. Maybe during commercials I can mute the sound. Time for lights out, so I run down a list of prayer requests for me, my family and friends before falling asleep. Tomorrow’s another day.
How is it not all about me?
What I don’t see is that living in a repeated cycle of busyness is like being in a cyclone. I’m spinning in the storm trying to grab onto parts of my life as they swirl around me. My focus is on what’s happening in my life. Even if I’m spending time taking care of others’ needs, I’m doing it because I have to check it off the list. And my attitude toward God still reflects that it’s all about me and my lack of time, energy, and focus on Him.
There’s no joy in living like that.
We may find temporary thrill or happiness as we live for “Me”, but not lasting joy. How do we find joy? One way is by changing our perspective and priorities to J-O-Y.
J-O-Y. Jesus. Others. Yourself.
Trying to put Jesus first in our life, others second, and focus on ourselves last is a daily challenge. And this doesn’t mean that we’re diminishing our worth or should allow others to take advantage of us. It means that we prioritize our time with the Lord each day. And we show continual love and respect to others as we focus on serving them before we serve ourselves. Not because we have to. But because it brings us renewed happiness to step out of our ordinary pattern of life to help others and treat them the way we want them to treat us.
So when we’re caught up in the swirl of busyness, let’s remember it’s not about “Me” (or in my case, Joy); it’s about J-O-Y. Let’s hit pause and step back. Where are our priorities? The truth is that we’re too busy not to pray. If we’ll take the time to get grounded with Jesus, we can take our eyes off our problems and start living with joy.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT)
May I pray?
Jesus, it’s not easy thinking we live as if it’s all about us. Compared to others, we’re not self-centered at all. But then we look at our priorities and our attitudes, especially toward You, and we see a lot of “Me”. God, please help us to take a step back today and gain perspective. Help us to see how the busyness can rule and ruin our happiness and joy. May we come to You with joy in our hearts and lay our burdens down. May we humbly be Your hands and feet today as we serve others. And may Your lasting joy reign in our lives. Amen.
Q4U: What step can you take today to start living with J-O-Y?