Others First, or Me First?

Hand Pointing

As I said in my last post, I’ve been writing a lot more lately. I’m still doing that and its been extremely helpful.

This morning I was feeling a little overwhelmed with all the message prep I have going on right now, so I was planning to write about my struggles with not wanting to put in the effort. I was thinking, “I just don’t want to.”

But something unexpected happened, of course.

I was writing the date at the top of my page, “Thursday, 9/11” and I was immediately aware of the significance of this date. Which then made me think about Domingo, an incredibly nice man from my church who passed away on Monday from a battle with Leukemia. Every time I spoke with him he said, “I’m better than yesterday, and yesterday was a great day.” My heart is saddened and suddenly I’m less aware of my own struggles.

Thinking about these events – after seeing the date, rather than initially – made me aware of how self-absorbed I can be. Me, me, me. “I just don’t want to.” And yet there’s a whole world out there hurting. This experience reminds me of some great truths:

My motivation to work increases when I’m focused on serving others; decreases when I’m primarily concerned about myself. My self-esteem seemingly increases (or maybe it’s just my selfishness decreasing…hmm a correlation there?) when my heart puts others first; I worry more about me and my struggles when I think life is all about what I’m doing.

I have to be honest and admit that there is a significant amount of my time where I’m so focused on “I need to do this” or “I need to do that.” I sit around my home in the morning and think alone, I go to the office and pretty much work alone. Yet, it’s ironic that in the past I’ve noticed after talking with someone – or even more recently, just writing about someone – I have so much more motivation to do things, to work.

There’s always going to be a struggle; I’m human. But maybe this is a key to overcoming our struggles.

We need people. I need people. This reminds me of my neighbors that Lara and I have started hanging out with. They cause us to want to do things – go places, play games, enjoy life, etc – rather than sitting around complaining about stuff like work, cleaning our home, etc.

And here’s the significance of all this: The whole page of writing this morning could’ve been filled with complaints of my own struggles. Instead, a simple reminder, “Thursday, 9/11” and I come to the realization to think of others first. This is something truly valuable to work on.

photo credit: massdistraction via photopin cc

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