Slide your mug or travel cup over and let me pour some South Pacific blend medium-roast. Been waiting for you.
You have permission to stop being the center of your universe.
You talking to me? I don’t have to listen to this. . . Do you have any idea who I am?
Nope. You don’t. And, no, I don’t. God’s the only one Who really knows who you are. And, frankly, there are times you’re not all that impressive to either one of us.
Hey. I understand. That’s tough to hear. I wasn’t real pleased when God said it to me. I’m just like you; I want to be impressive, be memorable. I want others to think well of me, just as you do. The closer this digs the less likely you’ll keep reading unless you’re ready to do some growing. After all, this is at the same time all about you and not about you at all. BTW, if while reading you want to throw this, I suggest substituting a nearby paperback or magazine. Throwing monitors or tablets can get pricey. Less painful, too, if you happen to smite the cat.
Define ‘horizon’. I’ll wait. . .
You probably came up with something like I did – the extent of everything I can see in every direction from where I now stand. Something like that.
What happens if you move? What if something – or Someone – moves you this or that direction?
Well–I guess my horizon changes and I can see beyond where I could before. Um… could you elaborate a bit on that part about me not being all that impressive? I think you’re wrong…
I understand. That’s why I’m writing this. I was the same way.
Huh? Oh, that sounds so—- Who anointed you Jerk-in-Charge of judging me or my life? You just said you don’t know me—
Correct. But God does – and He’s the one who whispered these thoughts to me. Hang with me for a few minutes.
—and where do you get off sitting there, swilling coffee, feeding your face (I hate you for just eating whatever, by the way) and listening to your stodgy old Classical music. Or worse yet, reLIGious stuff. Probably that Southern Gospel swill.
As a matter of fact I am listening to music and snarfing. Let’s not deflect, huh? Let’s get back to the edgy, less-comforting stuff that creates growth if allowed.
Ever caught yourself being cocky, self-absorbed?
“That’s as far as I can see. That’s my horizon. Therefore, THIS is MY world and it doesn’t need to get any bigger. There’s nothing, nobody beyond MY borders rating a second glance. I’m comfortable here. I don’t need to grow and I don’t want to change. I’ve grown accustomed to my face, I love being around me and quite frankly can’t get a grip on anyone else who doesn’t. I know everything I need to know, and I don’t need to reach out to anyone. I’m not putting myself out or moving out of MY comfort zone. They will just have to come to ME. I’m far too busy with my own interests to seriously care about theirs.”
Pretty ugly when it’s trotted right out there in plain English, isn’t it? And it sneaks into any heart and mind that lets its guard down. ANY heart.
When God plunked Adam and Eve down in the Garden, He made it clear Adam was in charge of everything. Well, everything except himself. That was God’s place. Adam was supposed to be in charge of everything God had created, and God was supposed to be Big Kahuna over Adam. Isn’t it interesting that the God-in-charge thing is THE first item on Adam & Eve’s agenda?
Adam’s first quest: “I want to be the boss of me.” Look around. You see how well that’s working out.
And God muses, “What could you have been doing all this time? Who could you have been becoming? Who could you have been encouraging, mentoring and influencing IF you’d have let Me help YOU grow and stretch beyond your self-determined and -designed horizons? How many lives could you have been nurturing for My Kingdom if you’d stopped dragging your feet and refusing to let Me help you expand your horizons in every direction? How much more could you be if you stopped trying to rake My glory into your own life?”
Oh, man–don’t play the God-card here. I’ve gotten used to my horizons right where they are. I’m a HIT, here. Don’t you understand? I’m headlining in my life, my world every day. I’m the legendary ___________ and I don’t want to change!”
At least you’re honest. Hopefully, honest enough that you stop blaming others for your lack of new growth and own the fact you don’t want to change.
But you can. That’s grace. That’s another fantastic message of Easter. Friend, at any point you CAN let go the white-fingered grip with which you’ve tried to control your own way–and maybe that of others–and let God start broadening your horizons like He’s been wanting to do.
Can’t think of a better time of year for you to stop being the center of your universe. If you want to count where it matters, you’re going to have to understand a vital lesson. A servant’s heart doesn’t demand that others jog alongside you, breathlessly trying to get your attention or trying to fit into your schedule. To be an encourager of others calls for schedule flexibility and a willingness to occasionally be inconvenienced.
Shortly after Harry Truman walked into the Oval Office and sat down for the first time behind The President’s desk, crusty old Sam Rayburn opened the door and walked in. The venerable Speaker of The House of Representatives leaned over the President’s desk, pinned President Truman with his icy glare and said, “Now, Harry, in just a few minutes a whole lot of folks are going to be coming in here telling you how wonderful you are.” Rayburn waited a second, then said, “And we both know you ain’t.”
Sure, I tried it, too. I’m a perfectionist. Just makes sense I’d want to be in charge, calling the shots, captain of my own fate, etc. Hanged if I didn’t make a fine mess of it all. I decided to use Ephesians 3:14-19 as a recipe for letting God create in me that infinite multidimensional expansion of His love in my life.
Know what? He does so much better at making whatever I do fit wherever it’s supposed to, and shine and give glory and encourage where it’s most needed. So, here I am, at 60 earth years, actually feeling my abilities and service expanding for His glory and to benefit others. And there’s a peace and ease that has replaced the constant pressure to be seen, to be noticed and liked and given ridiculously large portions of warm fuzzies. It’s a hellish thing to be that insecure.
The glory is His, and the sense of contentment and purpose is mine. It’s okay to not be very good at some things because I know there are other things I am very good at. They’re God’s to use as He desires. And since any glory and recognition goes to Him, I’m free to receive compliments with an honest “Thank you,” knowing He’s listening and taking it to Himself. I can concentrate on honing my skills, practicing and polishing to become better and better at making Matthew 5:16 a reality in my daily life.
Now, how cool is that? And why would I ever not let you know it’s available for anybody who wants it? It’s a lot more fun this way than trying to always be THE star in your own universe – and it’s a lot easier on everybody around you.
Hmm? The music? I’ve been listening to Marcus Miller’s Moonlight Sonata on his bass guitar. It IS a piece of classical music and my all-time favorite. But you’ve never heard it like this. Nope. Can’t share it. Too long. If you like jazz, you’ll just have to go fish. Marcus Miller. Silver Rain album, 2005. What can I say? I’ve always liked good jazz.
And I’m munching on some fudge marshmallow cookies.
So. You thought you knew me, hunh? Hmm-MMM. Don’t EVER think you know where my horizons stop. I’m not even sure just where they are, now. That’s one of the interesting side effects of asking Him to enlarge your territory. This thing of letting God expand your horizons for growth and new understanding is an exciting deal!
You never know where God will lead you, or where the growing and maturing will take you. But I can assure you it’ll touch others’ lives in ways you’d never have accomplished trying to make it happen on your terms.
As a saint from across the centuries once said, “You cannot at the same time say Jesus is Lord and you are clever.”
I love you, and I believe in you,