Our message today at church was about getting a new attitude. In light of yesterday’s “I was an ass” story, it’s a good message at a good time. It’s also a key to why people might not what to hear it about my religion. (Maybe yours, too.)
I used to wear a WWJD bracelet. I didn’t wear it as a reminder to everyone that I was holier than them. I wore it because I wasn’t what I thought I needed to be. I wore it to remind myself of what I should be. And I stopped wearing it because I was an ass too often. In short, other people were better examples than I and they shouldn’t be judged because of my uncanny ability to resemble Eddie Murphy’s character in Shrek.
Stop for a second. Look at the previous paragraph. There are twelve instances of the word I, and one instance each of myself, a my and a self. More than a sixth of the words are self-oriented. And thus is captured a primary reason why people might not want to hear about my religion.
This isn’t an I suck post. The statement I suck is amazingly self-aggrandizing. I suck so much that I’m like the black hole of goodness. Love grows where my Rosemary goes and nobody kills it like me. (It’s a song lyric from the immortal group The Edison Lighthouse.)
Wow, dude. Did you notice, you know…other people?!!?!
If your religion is about God and how freaking unbelievably fantastic God is, it’s about God and how freaking unbelievably fantastic God is. It’s not about you.
When when some putz cuts you off in traffic, that pales next to the freaking unbelievableness. When that guy at work shows how immense his pain-in-the-butt super powers really are, that pales next to the freaking unbelievableness. When you’re in the express lane and the person in front of you spends five minutes protesting because the can of soup should be thirty cents less, that pales next to the freaking unbelievableness. (Even when you’re in a hurry to get back home before your one o’clock call–not that this exact thing has happened to me.)
This isn’t an I suck post because it’s not about me. It’s about the thing that I should be pointing to, the thing that allows me to look past the accumulation of I sucks in my life.
In short, if I (there’s that word again) were to point to God and say “this is the basis for my life,” you might look at my life and say, “You’re not a happy guy. Why do I want to follow the basis of your life?”
I’m better than I used to be at not making it all about me. But I still don’t get the alignment-to-God thing. I’m still pre-Galileo earth where the sun and everything else revolves around me. And I don’t want to be that guy.
I’ll be a fitter, happier, more productive, comfortable, not drinking too much guy by not making it about me. And by not making it about me, I have room for you. (And thirty cents to pay the difference on your can of soup.)
Master Yoda says there is no try. But all I can do is try. And relax and concentrate on the trying, not the failing. It’s amazing how you sometimes see what you concentrate on.