Posts Tagged ‘incarnational living’
Dust mite or Dinosaur: Too Much Me can be Scary
Sometimes it is difficult to recognize on our own, but the phenomenon of the exploding “me” happens to everyone at some point in time or another. I am much more capable of recognizing it or at least the symptoms of it in myself these days than in days past, but sometimes I’m still overcome by the dinosaur instead of recognizing the dust mite. I’ve probably got you somewhat confused, so let me attempt to explain what I’m referring to.
I’m talking about our being consumed with our selves. This consumption with self isn’t necessarily born out narcissism, but it is a very close relative. As we journey through our lives we all encounter trials and milestones that define our experience, and hopefully, help us mature in the ways of wisdom. It is in the midst of these sensitive moments and situations of life that we will grow gracefully and upward or grotesquely and inward. Not too long ago I found myself in conversation with a friend going through a season of “sifting” (Luke 22:31-34), one of the sensitive and life-shaping moments in their life. As I spoke with this person, I realized at the time, they were unable to see outside of their circumstances. They had collapsed inward, victimized by their life circumstance, and were now held hostage by the “me-monster.”
We continued our conversation and seasons of my own life began to flash through my memory. I remembered circumstances that I had been involved in during times past that had seemed like they would completely overwhelm me. The luxury of reflecting on these memories brought to my mind a couple of illustrations that I thought might be helpful to my friend, so I began to share.
I thought of some of the pictures I had seen of really small things under extreme magnification, like microscopic insects. One great example is a dust mite; you can barely see the things without magnification, they look like teeny specks of dust to the naked eye if you can even seem them at all. Now, take this same dust mite and throw it under a powerful microscope and the little speck transforms into a terrifying prehistoric looking creature! Now, let me be clear, I am not trivializing any of life’s difficult situations. There are times and circumstances we sometimes encounter that can be incredibly painful and arduous to navigate and I do not want to make light of those times. However, even when our trials are heaviest and darkest to bear, it does us little good to retreat within ourselves. Obtaining and maintaining a godly and right perspective is what will help us in not only getting through the tough seasons of life, but gaining wisdom through them as well.
When the trials of life come at us hard and fast, focusing on the details of the trial only serves to magnify its proportion. It doesn’t take long before the details of a problem can seem overwhelming, especially when we attempt to sort through and bear them alone. The dust mite quickly turns to a dinosaur. A right perspective can help us to properly analyze trials and temptations and keep us in an attitude to hear God’s direction through them. A few things that have helped me during these crossroads of life follow:
- In every situation, God is Sovereign. There is nothing that happens in this life that God has not orchestrated, authorized, or allowed. Knowing this and understanding this is helpful to me…I realize that God trusts me with whatever situation I am in to process it in such a way that He is glorified and I am incrementally transformed one molecule closer to the image of Christ of which I have been created.
- Regardless of the gravity and magnitude of the situation, I need to keep my eyes on Jesus and deny the temptation to focus on my weaknesses. I am reminded of Stephen from the Book of Acts (Acts 7:55), who when attacked by an angry mob kept his eyes “looking intently and steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus…”
- Keeping my eyes focused on the One who is the object of my faith helps me to realize and consider the things that are holy and praiseworthy in my situations. I recall the exhortation of the Apostle Paul who wrote to the Philippians; “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9 NLT).
- Finally, with a proper perspective of my circumstance, I can view the situation with godly objectivity. Instead of being overwhelmed with my weakness, I can rely upon the indwelling strength of God’s Holy Spirit to see me through the difficulty of my moment. In the process, I learn to trust God by following His leadership through my trial. In the process, He is glorified as others witness His power visibly manifest in my life.
Again, I do not want to make light of the difficult seasons of life; however, we must strive to maintain a godly perspective. It is helpful to surround ourselves with godly brothers and sisters in Christ who can help us to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus when our fears and frailties scream for us to do otherwise. Turning my attentions and focus inward will over saturate my thoughts with me… and too much me can be a scary thing. There is no reason for dust mites to become dinosaurs…
A risen Christ assured their extinction.
O LORD, you alone are my hope. Yes, You have been with me from birth. You have been my strength and protection. I can never stop praising you. Don’t abandon me when my strength fails. My God, please hurry to help me. I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more. Who can compare with you, O God? May all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout “God is great!” (Psalm 71:5-9, 12, 14, 19; Psalm 70:4)