February 26, 2015

When It's Not About You

This past weekend a very close friend of mine got married. I was a groomsman (there were two grooms, in this case, and my wife was a groomswoman), so I wanted to give him a toast.

I started thinking about the toast more than a week before the wedding. I made notes in a notebook and in my phone and wrote down stories and asked for advice. I was fretting about it for days.

Some part of me wanted to impress everyone. I wanted to demonstrate that I was funny and clever and an excellent writer. I was having a lot of trouble figuring out what to say.

That is, until I remembered that this wasn't about me. This was about my friend and his wedding and saying whatever reminded him that he was loved and supported in his marriage and that we were grateful to have him and his husband in our lives.

This lesson—that it's not about me—is a useful one in ministry and in many aspects of community life. In most things we do in our churches, the goal is to love and minister to others. It's not to demonstrate how good or clever or right we are.

The need to be seen as good and clever and right grows out of our insecurities, our pride, and our fears. It comes out of a sense that we have to prove ourselves.

But we don't. We've already been invited to the wedding. This is good news.

This doesn't sound like practical advice but I think it is. As soon as I remembered that my toast was not about me my anxiety level went down and it was easier to figure out what I needed to say.

Simply reminding ourselves that it's not about us will give us some perspective. It will help us prioritize what matters and help us to cling a little less tightly to outcomes and to our place in the pecking order.

From time to time we all need that reminder. It’s really just a reminder to follow Jesus’ commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.

Don't miss a blog post! Subscribe via email or RSS, using the grey box on the upper right.