Beyond Self

I was upset and didn’t know what else to do. I knew there was only one other person who could possibly understand my emotions at that moment, and I longed to hear her voice. I wanted her to tell me that I was overreacting and needed to calm down. But yet, I also wanted her to understand that I had been treated unjustly and to take my side in the matter.

I have made it my point not to jump into anything when my emotions are all over the place, but that day I had to talk to someone despite the tears streaming down my face. So I picked up the phone and called my friend. I was disappointed when she didn’t answer, and I hung up the phone with a resigned sigh. I figured I wasn’t meant to talk to her, so I sat alone in my misery until my tears abated and I finally found some perspective.

Five minutes later, I went back to work and tried to concentrate. But I was interrupted by the ringing telephone. The caller ID told me that the incoming call was from my friend’s cell phone— the same friend that I had just called a few moments before. As I reached to pick up the receiver, guilt washed over me. Surely, my friend was only calling because she saw she had missed a call from me. I felt terrible for having interrupted her day.

“Hey,” my friend said when I answered. “How are you?”

“I’m okay,” I responded, doing my best to hide my true feelings.

“Really, are you sure? You don’t sound like yourself.”

“Well… I—”

“I had a feeling something was up,” my friend interrupted. “I got this strange feeling that I needed to call you… that you needed to talk.”

“But I just called your house a few minutes ago. I figured you were just calling me back.”

“What? You called my house? I had no idea. I’m driving home now and decided to call you from my cell. So what’s wrong?”

My friend’s concern was genuine, and it was incredible to know that she called me because she figured I would need a listening ear. She knew nothing about my day before she called— only sensed that I needed to talk.

I was reminded of her impeccable timing as I immersed myself in some reading over the weekend. I have made it a point to explore the subject of mentoring and discipleship as much as possible so I can be an effective spiritual leader in my church and community. Often, I find that my efforts could be more intentional and focused in service, so I look for avenues to improve in this area of my life. I find that I am taking people and things for granted, and I need to remind myself to turn my attention to those around me.

Frequently, I am on the receiving end of others’ time and assistance. Just last week, a friend drove me to a medical appointment and waited patiently while I was evaluated. Then we went shopping, and again, she waited patiently while I tried on clothes and looked for hair accessories. I didn’t want to take advantage of her time, so I found myself apologizing for taking so long. She told me she didn’t mind, but all the while I wondered what it would be like to give back to those who have blessed me so richly in return.

As I seek to make a renewed commitment to others, I consider the ways I can serve through the promptings that can only come from God through the Holy Spirit. A few nights ago, I had the sudden urge to call a friend— someone I hadn’t heard from in weeks. She didn’t answer, but somehow, I knew it wasn’t a wasted opportunity. Sure, I could bake cookies, pay for someone’s lunch, or lead the Bible Study, among other things. But none of that really results in reaching someone.

I want to be more intentional about speaking truth into others’ lives, having a heart for their stories, giving my time and attention at the times when they need a listening ear. I want to be a leader who’s not just leading in the outward sense but inwardly as well. I want to invest in the lives of others so they know their inherent personal value. It is a lofty and difficult goal to attain, and surely it will take a lifetime. But above all else, it is getting beyond self and truly loving with the eyes and mind of Christ.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s