Home > Living Well > Living Well 4: How Big is Your World?

Living Well 4: How Big is Your World?

Everyone tends toward selfishness. In many ways it is the natural and logical move. We are the closest person to us. We know exactly how we feel, exactly what we’re thinking, and exactly how we react. Our entire life involves being around and, in a sense, interacting with, ourselves. Given the amount of time and energy we put into ourselves, it then seems like a logical progression to the idea that we should live selfishly, caring primarily about number one.

A lot of people would agree with me that selfishness is a negative thing, but a lot of people live in a world that is centered around themselves anyway. Most of our thoughts are self-centered. We may not be thinking about how we can best manipulate others to benefit ourselves or specifically how to optimize how much we can best satisfy ourselves, but our thoughts and desires often reflect a world where we are the center. We think about what we’re going to eat, what we’re going to wear, what we’re going to say, how people will respond to us, whether our finances will be okay, who we’re going to hang out with, what we’re going to do, how we’re going to spend our time, etc. etc. I make too many lists.

These things aren’t inherently bad things to think about, but it’s when we think about them in such a way that we are the focal point of everything, where we are first and foremost concerned about how things will affect us. When we are the center of our lives, we have a very small world. When I am the focus of what I think, say, and do, my world is only as big as I am. Which isn’t very big. The meaning and purpose of our lives is found in how to get the most pleasure and the least pain. In this small world, everything that happens in relation to us is a big deal, creating problems that seem overwhelming Our lives then often become full of worry and our fears hinder us.

I like what Erwin McManus recently said about fear. “Whatever we fear establishes the boundaries and limitations for our life.” If we’re in a self-focused world, there is so much to be afraid of because there is so much around us that can have negative effects on us. If we chose to stop focusing on ourselves, the size of our world increases dramatically. If we chose to focus on people, then our world is as big as everyone around us. Our thought focus is then not on how to best look out for ourselves, but to look out for others. Our problems become a lot less small when our goal is not to acquire the maximum amount of pleasure for ourselves.

What if we chose to allow our lives to be centered around something bigger, say, God? That’s a huge world that includes others, but also includes a Being that is bigger than others. If we place God at the center of our lives, we free ourselves from so many limitations. No problem is big compared to the infinite Creator God. Everything that once worried us and seemed overwhelming is now insignificant. Our lives also become loaded with purpose and meaning because the goal of our life is so much bigger and so much more important. No goal is bigger than the glorification of God. There is nothing as freeing and beautiful as living with God-centered lives in a God-sized world.

  1. blanco
    July 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    The last paragraph you wrote really resonated with me. When we are able to forget the things of this world-our schedules, our appointments, and the meaningless things that seem so significant ‘in the moment’-It’s amazing to step back, breathe in the glory of God, and realize how much he has provided us with. Focusing on the big picture, that God provided us with community so that we might love and be loved in his image, is really an idea so beyond any of my daily frustrations and problems.

  1. December 3, 2009 at 12:29 am

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