(Picture: Emily Moe @ Creative Commons)
Recently I was doing photocopying at work, and it was taking an absolute age. There were staples to take out, and I couldn’t simply feed it all through. And I was grumpy. Very grumpy. I felt such frustration welling up, because deep down I felt I was capable of being in a better job. And so began a spate of inner childish anger and resentment.
I turned in on myself and an inner huff welled up inside. I had my standard childish rant at God – the one where I’m the victim, God hates me and never blesses me. You may have experienced this yourself.
Because occasionally, it can feel that way. Ever think everyone else gets all the blessings except you? Feel like God has left you out? I used to think it was just me who felt this, until our pastor shared his own experience of this in a sermon.
In truth, we all feel this way at times.
But then I calmed down. I saw my Dad and spoke to my sister. I remembered the early morning chat with my best mate who’s unemployed. I looked on Facebook and read about people I know who have friends with cancer, or who’ve recently lost a loved one.
And suddenly this inner resentment evaporated. It was just gone. And in it’s place this sinking feeling. The feeling you get which somehow passes from your mind and your emotions physically through your body into your guts.
When you know you’ve been an idiot. When you are opened up to the truth. And the truth cuts into you, pierces you like the sharpest knife.
Suddenly the childish rants mean nothing You realise how much good you have in your life. How lucky you are in so many ways.
And you realise, above all,
you are not the centre of the universe.
It seems we sometimes act like the world literally revolves around us. Every act, every event, begins with us and everyone else is simply commenting, spectating or playing a role. It’s easy to feel this way too. After all, we live in our bodies, we don’t get to be anyone else.
True empathy can be difficult for all of us.
But I’m learning we need to be intentional about empathy.
We need to turn our souls facing outwards more, rather than constantly making it about ourselves. Our default mechanism should be to the other, rather than ourselves. (feel free to tweet that)
Isn’t this what ‘loving our neighbour’ means?
Don’t misunderstand me, self-awareness is important, and we need to be continually examining ourselves. It’s good to be self-aware. But especially in the culture we live in, we need to be looking outwards more. Be intentional about choosing to put others first. To stop before we begin moaning.
Remember we are not the centre of the universe. None of us are.
And when we look outward at the true centre of the universe, He reflects us out again to how He sees the world.
The other. The outsiders. The people who aren’t us.
This is how God sees the world. He looks out on everyone else and puts them first. He doesn’t look upon Himself. And He actually is the centre of the universe.
So let’s be like our maker. Lets look out on the world. Let’s grow in empathy.
Are you with me?
Do you agree with me or disagree with me?
Do you struggle at times to empathise with others?
Do you often get so preoccupied with yourself you forget the bigger picture (like I did)?
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