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ME-ness

A decade ago, I was confronted with Richard Rohr’s teaching of what it takes to maintain a healthy psyche for a genuine spirituality. I had just turned 50 years old, and it appeared I was ready to courageously face the truth: my over-empowered ego needed some fine tuning. Much like you, I really did want to exhibit some of the essence of Jesus through my life. Church had pretty much been the only venue where I had allowed myself to channel those energies. I was thankful for what I had learned and experienced, but I was looking for something more.

To be completely honest, I’ve never really gotten over Rohr’s suggestion that real maturity hinges on principals of self-denial. To even consider for a moment that life is not about “me” is a punch to the proverbial nose.

We say we want to be like Jesus, but do we really?

I think about this all the time: “LIFE (living) IS NOT ABOUT ME.” Really? It’s the ultimate throw down for followers of Jesus. There are days when I feel like I’ve got this. I think, “It’s under control.” But there are other times when it seems like I can’t let go of what I insist I must have to be content. Entitlement and unmanageable expectations sing their siren song, and once again I march to the doom of my own values and holistic aspirations. You feelin’ that? You get my vibe?

Even when we think we’re living up to “LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME,” how much control have we demanded to protect our environments? Who gets to enter our bubbles? What trials and hardships (that includes people problems) never gain access to our emotional ecosystems because we won’t allow the intrusion to what we can’t control or manage? See? “ME” is not a minor obstacle. It’s a mountain.

I am a Jesus follower, so I greatly respect how He rolled with life-skills over and above any other kind of systematic dogma. When considering His brand of “LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME,” I’m overcome with the simple truth of what is most obvious:

Jesus gave his life away.

narc-kiss

But it was so much more than that. It was how He gave his life away. It was in the midst of what seemed to be a hate-filled world and a religiously sterile culture, that He loved every single person without variance. He still does. He loves betrayers, reprobates, liars, thieves, and cheaters. He loved first and He loves last. Jesus pretty much laid down the only true essence of love.

You didn’t have to be a winner to be “in” with Him. That’s pretty dang amazing if you ask me. It’s actually powerful enough to set people free without our adding any of our religious trinkets or dualistic nonsense to the equation. If His love is anything less than unconditional, we are so hosed! That is definitely a defining element of how He was able to live life so devoid of selfish ambition or over-protective self-entitlement. Jesus proved to us that His life was not about Him. No question about that!

But what might not be so obvious is that Jesus also seemed to be okay with both giving His life away AND a grace-filled allowance that gave permission to others to literally take what they needed from Him. If you want to find out how you’re doing with the whole “LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME” thing, just notice your response when some “thing” is taken from you. Respect, dignity, wealth, opportunity, peace, freedom, glory, rest, relationships, and/or whatever you value most, are all things that most of us would gladly sacrifice for those we love and care for. But our “ME-ness” usually fights to the death at the thought of having those things taken from us by force.

If “LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME,” we probably need to confront how many choices are in effect around us that won’t allow me to be disturbed by “takers” at any level. There is no shortage of “takers”, but not all takers are malicious or evil. Jesus has allowed us all to take what He sacrificially gave, but He was also good with the needy and burdened to call upon Him for their personal comfort and satisfaction. I write this with a knot in my stomach because I like to be in control of where and how I give my time, energy, and juice. I love serving as much as the next person, but there is usually some level of resentment when I’m not prepared to be called upon (without an exit nearby) to meet their needs. I’m more than burdened concerning that truth about myself.

The whole “LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME” mantra is very appealing, but it takes a different kind of heart and rhythm to genuinely live it out. I mentioned a mountain earlier. Our “ME-ness” is a HUGE mountain, and to move that mountain is going to require chipping away at it every single day. I would think we’d do better with asking ourselves honest questions about how we’re managing our lives instead of just broadcasting our intentions. Simple questions might be the most effective probe of how healthy we truly are. Here’s a few questions I’m considering for myself:

* How available am I to my immediate family (presence, influence, hope, and help)?

* How available am I to my real friends (presence, influence, hope, and help)?

* Am I willing to sit on my dreams in order to be the support I need to be to the people (particularly my parents or siblings) who genuinely need my help?

* How honest am I with myself about my attitudes and patience when facing others burdens?

* Can I give my life away without complaint and grumbling?

* Am I still fighting for a self-induced ascent, or embracing my natural descent?

* Am I the embodiment of love, or is it an idea only?

* Can I see (hear, value, respect, and honor) what doesn’t look or think like me?

* What position is “ME” in my decision-making processes?

I’m particularly relieved that my grade for these things isn’t being displayed here. But I sincerely believe that “LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME” is the right path and attitude to living life well and free. We are called to a higher purpose. We’ve just got to get out of the way.

Have a Happy New Year!!!

Live every day inside this magnificent truth: GOD LOVES US ALL!

 Mike

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mr.Corey
    January 14, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Punch to my Christian-slogan t-shirt gut, and I really like those questions.Thanks for bringing a dose of honesty to my afternoon. Love you guys.

    • January 26, 2017 at 9:08 am

      That’s pretty funny right there!

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