Most days, I look at life through the Me lens.
I take inventory of Me. What will I do today? How do I feel today? What’s bothering me today? What would I tell that person who is bothering me if I had a chance? How can I set my world straight? Should I tackle cleaning the kitchen floor, weeding the flower beds, arranging inventory at the antique shop? What needs the most attention so that I can feel that I did the right thing for Me today?
I read books that enlighten Me. I watch movies that stir Me. I walk to strengthen Me. I take time to smell the flowers to relax Me.
Now, since I am a Christian, I also have this Jesus lens in the back of my mind, that conflicts with this Me lens. Sometimes it helps me see the needs of others. It helps me put down self for a moment and focus on others, but sometimes I am just thinking how great it is of Me to help others. So Me is still in front.
Before I decided to follow Jesus, I followed Me entirely. I was very career oriented. I was a reporter. Life was all about getting the best story, getting the best story placement (page one!), getting the best job with the best newspaper. I was constantly seeking to advance.
I had a job with the AP wire service, which was great compared to my previous job as a little daily newspaper. But then I wanted a job at the large daily newspaper, because I wouldn’t have to commute so far and I would get paid a little more and have better benefits. So I got the new job, the close commute, and the company car.
Soon, however, I wasn’t happy with the small town bureau job they gave me, I wanted to move into the city job, and when I went to the city job, I wanted to move to the editor’s desk, and when I went to the editor’s desk I began to dream of going to an even bigger newspaper. With Me being so talented and all, I needed more challenge and more money. Me was not happy where I was.
This kind of thing happened in other areas of my life, like where I lived and in my first marriage. If Me was unhappy, Me moved on and kept moving till Me was happy.
I moved from Pennsylvania to California. I moved around in California. I moved from California to New Hampshire. I moved around in New Hampshire. I moved from New Hampshire back to Pennsylvania.
Funny thing is, the more I served Me, the more I moved on and the more I was unhappy.
Now Me is stuck. I am literally back where I started from, right down to the house. I live in one of the most beautiful farming valleys in the world, in one of the most lovely mountainside locations, and I am married to a man who has a business here. I also have a business here. We are almost 49.
I cannot move as a means of making Me happy. It would be impractical and stupid.
Even more, the Jesus lens has made it clear that I am finally where I am to be.
So, now, just past half life, I must deal with the Me that ruled and seek its death.
That Jesus lens says that Me is dead. Ephesians 2: 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
In mercy and unfailing love, Christ came to me and broke through the Me lens. He allowed me to see how serving Me brought the real me no happiness.
He showed me a new way, detailed in the Bible. It boils down to: Serve God, serve others; love God, love others. There is no Me in that.
I suppose we could rail at this trick of nature that we must also serve and love others in order to be truly happy. Or we can see it for what it is—the truth.
To take off that Me lens, I read the Bible to renew the mind that would instead serve Me. Romans 12:2 teaches me to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I read the Bible to see how Jesus lived His life. The Son of God never spoke about what He wanted. His priority was never Himself. It was always what His Father wanted, and what His father wanted was me and you, set free from ourselves to worship and reveal the glory of God.
The mystery of Christ includes this teaching—that he who gives up his own life will find true life.
Your best life now!—is one where Me dies and Christ lives.