Yesterday I was going to play my second ever tennis match. The first one was a dismal disaster with double faults on every serve. It was embarrassing. I have practiced a couple of times, three to be exact and still didn’t feel confident in my serve, but the match was then, and I had to go. I pouted like a petulant child. My supportive husband packed Gatorade and water in an insulated cooler, prayed over my scared self, and sent me out the door.
In the meantime, there’s a package containing Rodan and Fields Redefine AM Cream (<- shameless plug) on my desk for Cindy, who lives just on the other side of town. As I’m traveling to the match, I realize that I’m ON CINDY’S STREET! I could have dropped the package off, saving both of us time and saving me some postage. (Insert facepalm here).
My fear of embarrassment shrouded my ability to help someone else. I was so wrapped up in my discomfort that I didn’t think to look at the route to see where I would be going.
If I had been free from the fear of embarrassment, I would have been free to help Cindy out. What a simple example of what true freedom looks like. When we are free from the self-inflicted malarky, we are free to serve God and others. Why should we want to help others? Because it releases us from the bonds of selfishness. What caused me to pout like a child in my kitchen last night? Selfishness. What prompted me to have to spend money on postage? Selfishness. What is keeping sweet Cindy from her AM Cream? Selfishness.
I have a friend who says, “I may not be much, but I’m all I ever think about.” It’s true. When we are all wrapped up in our little selves, it is all we ever think about. The focus on our selves makes our stuff look bigger than it is. So what if I don’t have a consistent serve? So what if your spouse doesn’t fold the laundry the “right way”, your kid doesn’t’ make straight A’s, your best friend has a bigger house than you, the politician has a parade, or gives a speech, says something you think is boorish? When we are free from selfishness, we are free to participate more fully in life.
Just for Today
I’m going to recognize when I’m getting wrapped around the axel over my selfishness and then get out of my way. I’m going to firmly turn my magnifying mind away from me and my thoughts, plans, and ideas and look to others and engage more fully with the world around me.
“My Creator, I offer myself to you, to do with me and to build with me what you will. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do your will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them would bear witness to those I would help, of your love, your power, and your way of life. May I do your will always.” — Third Step Prayer