Tuesday, June 09, 2015

It's Not About You

A friend once tried to comfort me by saying those words:

"It's not about you."

I really needed that. 
Except that I actually did need to hear it, I just didn't want to.

Did I mention it was said when I felt like I was at my lowest of lows? And I've had some doozies!

We have suffered several years of infertility.
I was told my chances of getting pregnant are slim to none.
And that I will go through early onset menopause in my 30s.
In the process of adopting a second child, a birth mother invited us to the birth after secretly having the child 2 weeks prior and we sat on the other side of glass doors at a hospital waiting for a child to be born that wasn't even there.
I have grieved unbearable loss through miscarriage.
And these are just a few of the trials we've endured from the past 5 years.

I used to think that everything that happened in my life was about me. Growing up in church I heard countless times that every situation, every bad thing was about God shaping and molding me; drawing me closer to Him.

While I think that God uses situations to draw us closer to Him, I have grown to understand that it's not all about me. In fact, I think a larger percent of the time it is really not about me at all!

What my friend reminded me of was the fact that so many others watch me. They watch from the sidelines to see how I will respond. They watch when I fail to see what I'll do next. They watch as a I cry to see what words and actions will follow. As I go through the fire, will I come out smelling like smoke or will I trust in God to protect me and not have a single singed hair on my body? Will I step away from my faith or press in stronger? Who and what is really at the center of my heart? People are always watching.

Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? When King Nebuchadnezzar demanded they bow and worship his gods, their response was:

"O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown in to the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." -Daniel 3:16-18

Later, when they came out from the blazing furnace still alive, it says:
"There was no smell of fire on them."

You remember the last time you roasted marshmallows outside or sat around a camp fire? There is no way I can wear those clothes again without washing them unless I want someone to know where I was last. The smell of fire is strong. It takes hold of everything from your clothes to your hair. You need water, soap and serious scrubbing to wash it out.

Yet as we walk through the fires of life, we have the option to smell like smoke and make everything all about you, OR you can press into Him and realize there is much more of a global picture than just God molding you. Only God can surround us and keep away the smell of fire so He can use your story. He is drawing others to Him through you. He is using the story of redemption in your life so that you can share about Him to others through your pain. But if we smell like smoke and make everything about us - our pain, our situation, why me? - then others can't see Him.

I hate to break it to you but it's really not about you.
It's about Him. Our one true and perfect God!

And if you are sitting in a puddle of tears (as I find myself often doing) find comfort in His presence.

"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your Word." -Psalm 119:28

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior....Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you." -Isaiah 43:1-5

So my encouragement to you is this:

As you walk through the fire, dust off the smell of smoke. Let others smell the fragrance of Christ as you show others love, grace, compassion, and your total dependence on God.

Because dear friend, it's not about you.
It's about Him!

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