“Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? (Mark 8:36-37 MSG)
I never noticed that He talks about your “true self” and the “real you”. It hit me today because I was thinking how different I am from even a year ago. Not just in the way I feel and act, but also in the things I want from life. In the past it was *all* about me: my wants, my dreams, me being offended, stressed, hurt, angry – looking for ways to help myself to be and stay happy (and there are times I slip back into this selfish mindset). I was a victim … of myself (despite me happily blaming everyone around me).
The point is, *I* cannot be in control of my happiness apart from submitting my “wants” and “needs” to God. It requires a deeper look at what we think is happiness. You see, the typical expectation is that life *should be* stress-free and we have no troubles (as if we have decided *we* deserve it to be). So what is stress and what are troubles? Things that stop us doing the things *we* want or think we want/need. We get frustrated and stressed because we can’t control the circumstances that come our way – we can’t even control our reactions half the time!
Stress isn’t an input; circumstances are. Stress is more likely an *output* of our failure to see the bigger picture and see beyond ourselves within given circumstances. Perhaps stress is also the conflict between the way we currently are and the way we know we should be – after all, we are all just seeking to be more peaceful about life.
There is an easier way than bumping into the same wall over and over again.
It is His will that I be peaceful and joyful, despite my circumstances – my purpose is not simply about “being happy”, but remaining steadfast in my commitment to my faith, and to loving others whether I am happy, or not. If I think my goal is to be happy – then I have a perfect excuse to avoid difficulties and challenges for my own sake. Perhaps it’s time I sacrificed my ease in order to be of use to others.
When I start thinking about how “all this will make me feel”, I try to remember someone else – as soon as I take my mind off myself, the stress melts away and I see clearly that what I thought I was losing didn’t really matter compared to how this other person feels. God has my back so I can have yours. Isn’t that a fuller life?
My “true” and “real” self is the person God made me to be – the person who tries to do the right thing without being concerned with how it affects me. The complete opposite of how I used to live when *everything* was about what it would mean for me!
Remember “what you want” might not be what you need. A healthy soul is all I need – the rest is up to God
How fit is your soul? Can it last the distance?
Workout of the Day:
1) Think of 3 things you are grateful for today and write them down. If any relate to other people, then personally thank them for the input they have had in your day.
2) If you are angry at anyone – drop it now. Stop worrying about how offended you are, and what you are owed. Forgive them and, if appropriate, remind them that you care more about them than your pride (if it’s not appropriate, then tell God). You are not in a battle with them; you are in a battle with yourself. Being humble always wins you freedom, even from the deepest hurts. See the person under the sin and pray for them.
If you find you are not able to let go of your unforgiveness, bring it to God, or a very close friend. Seek the wisdom and strength to not let the hurt they caused to ruin the rest of your life.
3) Get ready for a new full body workout THIS WEEK 😀