“I need help with me.” — Anne Lamott
“Dad,” he said, “I’ve had the best week of my life.”
“Impossible,” the father thought. “He’s been at a work camp all week. What’s he been doing that he enjoyed it? What’s been so great?”
“We’ve worked, and we’ve been busy, and those are fine, but … I haven’t thought about myself once. I think that is why I’ve had so much fun.”
We live in a “me” world. Institutions cater to the everyman me, and all build up the great I. A collection of magazine ads reveals as much: “Quench your thirst.” “We can get you there.” “Is it in you?” “Drive your way.” “Where do you want to be?” “Get the good stuff.” “An army of one.” “Be all you can be.” “Your way, right away.”
Perhaps all this me attention has made us ill. It’s one thing to know oneself, and it’s one thing to have self-awareness, but we’ve slipped into self-obsession.
Could this be the reason for the increase in service programs in education? Have we taught our young people to think about themselves so much that we also have to teach them to think of others?
What a chore to think of oneself. We grow paralyzed thinking of ourselves. Every morning we each put on the burdens of our past, of our self-consciousness, and it wears us down for its weight. Our own burden is the hardest to bear, and it binds us, preventing us from thinking of much else. I look in the mirror so often I have no time or energy to look elsewhere.
Then Jesus comes, offering restored movement to limp limbs.
“If you’ll quit thinking about yourself, you’ll have freedom. But you’ll need focus despite the world’s catcalls, so look at me. Do what I do, go where I go, think like I think, and love as I love. The truth of forgetting you sets you free.”
He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Weary and heavy-laden describes the posture of my soul. Rest sounds so satisfying, and I long for a lighter burden. No one else offers this. The world offers more me and more speed, and neither of those have filled me up. They’ve only weighed me down. Through centuries of fads and trends, Jesus has persisted. I’ll take his burden and let go of mine.
How often do you think of yourself?
Do you enjoy it, or does it feel oppressive and blinding?
What would you like to be free to think of, to focus on?
© Revolworks 2006