We live in a world that conditions us to narcissism and self-promotion. But I wonder what it would look like to let go of self, to live our lives intentionally. I wonder if joy can be found in self-forgetfulness. Self-forgetfulness is counter-cultural. Intentional living is outward focused when the world screams that we spend more time on inward reflection to produce growth.
The problem is we get stuck there.
Self-care is not a bad thing. It’s necessary. It’s the inner dwelling and introspection that can become crippling. True self-care isn’t hours spent in self-evaluation tearing apart one’s own soul. Instead, it is a physical and mental ability to evaluate our own brokenness and have it move us to repentance and action
Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection was sent to me by Litfuse in exchange for my humble opinion
For the last two weeks, I’ve been in flux. For details I will not fully disclose here I left my ministry position. To those on the outside, it looked sudden and reactive when really it had been a slow, well-thought out, council seeking decision, that came to a point where I could no longer continue. So I resigned.
Changes in our careers, titles, and friendships can paralyze us in self-reflection. My strength is empathy, even to those who have hurt me, and I tend to put myself in their place easily seeing how I might appear to them. I am also an introvert, so retreating into my own shell is my safe place. Think Again by Jared Mellinger arrived in my mail in the midst of this new life decision.
Mellinger reminded me that while it is important to examine our heart and motivation our true focus should be on Christ. So instead of wallowing in what I’ve let go of, doubting the decision I made (which yes, was the right one), or questioning how those I’ve left behind see me… I’m focusing more intently on the One who saves me from myself. I’m focusing on Christ and the beauty of creation all around me.
Something beautiful happened when I got out of my own head. I started noticing the world around me. I took longer walks, longer dinner’s with my husband, spent more time talking to my kids and discovered calm moments of stillness.
I need to hear creation’s chorus. I need to stop listening to myself and start listening to the God who speaks in color and stories and stars and snow and poems and his Word. I need spiritual vision from God to help me take in everyday wonders with wide-eyed delight. – Jared Mellinger
That is where I have found myself right now, in wide-eyed delight. I’ve discovered there is more to worship than the four walls we often use to contain it. I’m finding freedom in being who God created me to be, and joy in forgetting myself along the way. I am committing to living an intentional life in all things: faith, family, friendship, moments of every day. As I do so this blog will change.
The story isn’t about me. I’m not at the center. Christ is.
If you are not sure if your motivations place you at the center, or if your motivation comes from somewhere deeper I suggest you read Stop Photobombing Jesus. In this article, Garrett Kell lays out 6 confessions of a glory thief. The article reminded me of what Prof. Hendricks used to say to all of us seminary students, “If you aren’t willing to clean the toilets you’re in the wrong profession.”
Here are just a few of the ways that I intend to fill my days, and this space that I share with you:
- Faith. Our faith is ever growing and changing. I plan to continue on that journey.
- Family. Our trips to St. Jude are less and therefore my posts are not as often. The kids are growing and I write about them less, out of respect for their own privacy. However, my husband and I are transparent about our marriage, our ups and downs, and our life in the military. I will continue to share those things. In addition, I have begun helping my husband with the work of blogging at RedGryphonTavern.com where he shares recipes from his kitchen weekly.
- Writing. I am pursuing more freelance work and finishing up a manuscript I hope to share with you soon.
- Ethical Business. Recently, I discovered how much every little choice I make impacts others. As I discover more ways to shop my values I will share them here. Two I recently shared are Darn Good Yarn and VISIBLE Clothing.
- Stillness. I am learning to let go of myself more by discovering the beauty of creation through gardening and herbology as well as through moments of quiet and meditation.
- Kindness. Our world does not have enough. I believe with all my heart that God has called us to care for one another, to love those placed in our path and to reach out in kindness and love to those we do not yet know. Many times that means letting go of things I hold dear and putting another before myself. I will be exploring more intentionally the how to put this into action.
In the same way, it is the nature of the people of Christ to give. It is God’s purpose for us to lose ourselves in the joy of loving others — to be able to say along with Paul, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls” (2 Corinthians 12:15) – Jared Mellinger
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey of finding joy in every day.
Before you go, grab one book already on my bookshelf and one I hope to put there soon:
What do you think? Is there joy in self-forgetfulness? Leave a comment below. I would love to chat.