Thinking of Yourself Less

Mark 12:30 – 31

Jesus answered,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no greater commandment than these.”

Sometimes I get this command confused.  Usually it’s more like,

Love your neighbor as yourself.

And boy do I love myself!  Why, I’m usually the center of my own worries.  It’s completely selfish, but most often true.  This is painful to admit, but when I worry about my DH dying, it’s not because of the pain he may experience…or the heartbreak of my children.  It’s because of the pain I’ll experience, raising children alone, figuring finances alone, being alone.  I don’t know how I would go on without him.

Or if something were to happen to me, I wonder how would my husband take care of everything without me?  Who could ever love them as much as me?  How could they go on without me?

You see, worry can oddly turn us in on ourselves to consider how I feel, what am I experiencing, how will I suffer, what will I do, and on and on.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think it’s wrong to think about ourselves.  And I don’t think worry is always selfish.  But I could stand to be a little more selfless in general, and especially in my worry.

I’ve heard it described like this…

Being selfless is not thinking less of yourself,

it’s thinking of yourself less.

Instead of worrying about all of my fears, I’ve been trying to think of myself less…and love and serve someone who’s actually experiencing my fears.  My hope is that I can turn my eyes from myself, and serve others, and attempt to do as Jesus commanded, “Love my neighbor as myself.”

So I cut my hair.  What a way to love, right?!  I’ve been growing it out since Little Man was born, with the purpose of donating it to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths.  It’s a program that donates real-hair wigs to cancer patients.  I love it because they give the wigs away for free.  I went to my friend at Cut Above and she took great care of me.

This is after cutting off 3 inches of nasty ends!

This is after cutting off 3 inches of nasty ends!

I did consider keeping it for a mustache disguise...

I did consider keeping the 10 in. for a mustache disguise…

The final style

The final style

My stylist guru

My stylist guru

Cancer is one of my biggest fears.  I know that donating my hair doesn’t end cancer, or my worries about it.  But in the moments when I hated my looooooong hair and felt like I could house a family of mice in it (it tangles so easily!), I remembered why I was growing it out – and thought of myself and my scraggly hair less.  In those moments, I turned my eyes from myself to serving others.

And a funny thing happened…so often I feel out of control in life’s situations.  I can’t completely control whether or not I get cancer.  But I could control when I cut my hair.  I could control to whom I donated my hair.  I could make the choice to love.

While I certainly can’t control everything in life, I can choose to try to love others.

So we loved as a family at Phil’s Friends.  They provide Christ-centered support and hope to those affected by cancer through prayer and care packages.  Baby Girl and Little Man drew pictures on the boxes and Big Sister made bright cards to put in the care packages.  DH and I helped package materials into the boxes.  Again, it was a way to actually get outside of my cancer worry and direct my energy to serving someone who actually has cancer.

And of course there are a number of friends who are battling cancer.  A high school friend just died after her second round of breast cancer.  She is survived by two darling children and a devoted husband.  I try to serve them through prayer.

Now personally I could not walk onto a cancer floor and sit with patients who are in the throes of suffering.  That would only give my brain more ammunition with which to worry.  I am cautious about how I serve.  The wonderful thing is that God has given us so many ways to love our neighbor.

It’s my goal this summer to run the Dirty Girl.  It’s a 5k mud run that donates money to finding a cure for cancer.  Again, this does not end cancer or my worries about it, but as I train and run, my focus will be for those afflicted with cancer.  And someday I would like to walk in the 3-day Susan G. Komen walk to fund breast cancer research.

As I turn my eyes from myself, I begin to see others…including God.  I realize that I will never love others as I’m called to; and I will always battle worry.  But in Hebrews 12:2, God calls us to

“…fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

We look to Jesus as the one who forgives our selfishness, even if we continue to fall into it as we worry.  He is at work perfecting our faith through His gift of righteousness.  And He loves us even if when we don’t love.  Now that’s a servant’s heart!

*Here are some other ways I’ve considered turning the focus from me and my worries to others:

When I worry about finances:

  • Go serve at a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, or food pantry to consider those who are in great financial distress
  • Suggest to your pastor to offer a financial class/seminar like Financial Peace University
  • Help in some way with the financial class – even if it’s simply making the coffee!
  • Pray for those who are in great financial distress – or friends who are struggling financially

When I worry about my children growing to be non believers:

  • Suggest to your pastor to offer an apologetics course
  • Help in some way with the class – even if it’s simply inviting someone!
  • Volunteer in some capacity in the education world of your church

When I worry about car accidents or the death of my children:

  • Volunteer to help with car seat checks offered through your local fire department/police station
  • Spread the word about car seat safety and safety checks
  • Volunteer at a local Crisis Pregnancy Center
  • Pray for women making “life” decisions

What are some ways you can turn your focus from your worries to others?

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