In our last post we began to address the relationship priorities that grow and enhance our interactions and our lives. Previously we examined the importance of modeling Christ in our daily walk rather than expectations of happiness. Now, let’s take a look at the second element.
2. Focus on other people. If you take the focus off yourself and spend more time focusing on others, you make it less likely that your motivations will be driven by your own selfish desires. This is not to say you should neglect yourself, because you can only pour into others if you stay emotionally, physically, and spiritually full. You simply do not become the priority as we shall see shortly.
Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. -1 Corinthians 10:24
The therapeutic effect of stepping out of your own emotional state to serve others is amazing. Mary was diagnosed with cancer. Her knee-jerk reaction was to withdraw from the world. She lived in fear that any exposure to the outdoors, to the sun, would accelerate the cancer. Mary locked herself away, covering all the windows and never taking a step out of the house. She withdrew from other people, embarrassed by the hair loss associated with chemotherapy. She stopped coming to church, essentially stopped living.
What Mary had chosen to do is eliminate any new input or thought that would challenge her emotions. She simply recycled all the negative fear messages through her head. Her behavior followed suit and was dictated by those emotions. After consultation, she began challenging the fears and weighing the possible consequences of stepping outside her home. Commonly, we assume that things will be much worse than they actually end up being. One thing appeared certain: if Mary didn’t take a chance, her fear would eat her alive.
The following week she came to church. The outpouring of love and acceptance was heartwarming and had a great impact on her. Having all these people walking alongside her gave Mary a new lease on life. Her hair grew back following the chemo treatments, and her joy and confidence returned even faster. This dear lady made the decision not to follow her feelings but choose her own behavior, in spite of those destructive feelings. She stepped forward, in spite of her emotions and engaged and invested in the lives of others to the benefit of all concerned.
Investing in others reaps dividends far greater than monetary riches!
As a matter of habit, do you find yourself more inwardly focused than investing in others? What do you fear might happen if you extended yourself to others? I want to encourage you to take a chance, you have much to offer others…God says so and that’s good enough for me!
In my last post in this series I will reveal the final priority in creating stability in our relationships and in our lives.
©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design
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