You know how sometimes you have a conversation with someone, and something they say rings true in your head and plays on repeat a million times over?
A few years ago, before I had so many little ones to care for, I worked with a fun, eccentric, deeply emotional woman who I totally looked forward to seeing every day in the office. One of the many things I appreciated about her was her inability to hide what she was feeling (even though she didn’t like this particular trait about herself). One day, I walked in her office to find her obviously troubled. As was characteristic of myself during those days, I was often overly paranoid that I had done something wrong, and so naturally, I asked her if I was to blame for her current emotional state.
Then came the broken-record moment between us. She turned to me with brimming tears and a half-smile. She chastened but joked, “No. This is NOT ABOUT YOU!”
As life led me through two deaths, two more births, and several adoptions, I’ve carried her words (and can still hear her saying them) with me throughout the years that have passed. God has used those words to teach me that not everything that happens is about me. Not everything is caused by something I did wrong, nor is everything about something going right for me. Instead, EVERYTHING is FOR God’s GLORY.
When my daughters died, it wasn’t about anything I did wrong. It wasn’t a punishment or a reflection of my lack of faith. It was about God receiving the glory. He was writing a redemption story, even though I couldn’t see it at the time. (Job)
When my adopted children concoct new ways to make my life miserable because they know no other way to express their angst, I know that the way they’re acting is really not about me. It’s not personal. And the way I respond doesn’t need to be a reaction from personal offense, but instead from a place of mercy and grace.
Learning to take things less personally has helped me to have more of an eternal perspective as well as feel less burdened by things that happen that are really not my fault. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of responsibility for my actions or don’t examine my own heart, it’s just that I realize that I can have much more of an internal sense of peace when I don’t assume that all the bad things around me are caused by me. I also know that all the good things that have happened for me are not about me, either, or have been caused by me, but have come from God. Knowing in my core that “It’s NOT ABOUT ME” has helped me be a better mother, a better friend, and a better follower of Christ.
The art of losing myself in bringing you praise”