I think about myself quite a bit during any given day.
I’m not narcissistic, nor self-absorbed. My world isn’t wrapped up in me.
It’s a bit unnerving, however, to reflect on how frequently my thoughts go to how I’m doing, how I look, how I’m being received, how I’m impacting others.
Rather human of me.
In a culture where we work hard to manage our images and put the best foot forward, it’s refreshing to know people who genuinely give of themselves to others without thinking about what they’ll get in return. Gracious kindness that doesn’t cost someone else.
It’s a countercultural response, really. Giving without expecting to get.
John and I have known Bob and Jan Horner for quite some time. Their journey is a few years ahead of ours, so we’ve had the chance to watch them as they encountered new life challenges. Opportunities to live their faith with courage and boldness.
It’s incredible to have friends who’ve pioneered life in ways we haven’t. People we respect because their lives have consistently matched what they say.
Hope in action.
We’ve been at a conference with them this past weekend, and I was impressed by their willingness to step aside for others to have a chance to grow and learn. They’ve been remarkable speakers, amazing emcees, consistent Bible study leaders, passionate in all that they do.
Rather than hanging on to that which they excel in, where many people have known them, they’ve chosen to step back to allow others to have the chance to do what they’ve done.
Who gives up recognition to allow others to grow?
People who know recognition doesn’t define them.
So much of life is meant to be given away. Love, compassion, helpful understanding. We’ve been created to live in community, not just looking out for ourselves, but seeing others as significant as well. Valuing life because it’s been given by God.
It is easier to focus on myself. To look out for my interests. My agenda and dreams.
Did I mention I’m not narcissistic?
Easier isn’t better. Easier is more often the trap.
What I’ve seen my friends do is freely give away what God has given them. They share generously what’s been generously shared with them by the One who gives us what we need.
This puts priorities of life into perspective. It’s easy to want the things that make life easier, more enjoyable. It’s rather effortless to want to be seen, recognized for having done something valuable, worthwhile.
Wanting nice things, being recognized for what I’ve done, isn’t wrong. It can’t be my ultimate purpose in life.
No one, at the end of their lives, wishes they’d acquired more things. More fame. Those things don’t bring joy.
Bob and Jan, thank you for focusing on people and giving. For living out loud with generous-hearted service and compassion.
You’ve let go well of that which was never meant to be held tightly.