Four Ways to Get Over Yourself

Several years ago a talented friend of mine delivered an incredible performance during a holiday church service.  She immediately came off stage and sank into a deep depression.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I blew it,” she said.  “I forgot a whole section of my part.”

I assured her that no one else had noticed and that everyone thought it was phenomenal, but she wouldn’t give it up.  Finally, I had to call her out. 

“I know how you feel,” I said.  “I think you might be getting hung up on your pride.”  She knew I was right and immediately changed her attitude.  I only recognized it in her because I’ve seen it so many times in myself, and my version is usually much worse. 

Pride doesn’t have to be about bragging.  It can be about beating yourself up.  Either way, it’s simply a matter of too much me.  I remember hearing someone once say that pride isn’t thinking too much of yourself.  It’s thinking of yourself too much.

Whether I’m feeling sorry for myself, obsessing about what others think of me, licking my wounds from hurt feelings, or wallowing in worry,  the root of my problem is the way I get hung up on me, myself and I.

I’m sure you can’t relate.  But on the off chance you know someone who can, here are four tricks I’ve discovered over the years to help me start getting over myself.

1.  Drill down on who you are.  Spend some time meditating on Bible verses that remind you of God’s unconditional love for you. Often we get preoccupied with ourselves because of our insecurities.  Once we settle the issue of our identity in Christ, we are free to love others.

2.  Change your focus.  Get your eyes off of yourself by making some lists.  Who needs to be prayed for in your life?  Who needs some encouragement? Who needs some help?  Make your list and then act on it.  Invite someone over for dinner.  Give an anonymous gift.  Drop a card in the mail.

3.  Forgive hurts.  We waste a ridiculous amount of time thinking about how we’ve been wronged by others.  Set yourself free by releasing others from the debt they owe you.  It doesn’t mean you have to trust them or let them hurt you again.  It just means you choose to let it go and move on.

4.  Make a big deal out of God and others.  There’s nothing wrong with getting praised for a job well done, but if we’re we not careful, we can crave it for all the wrong reasons.  Make it a hobby to look for opportunities to deflect credit to God and other people.  Have a contest with yourself to see how many people you can brag on each day (not including yourself). 

Humility doesn’t mean beating yourself up.  That’s just more self-focus that takes your eyes off of God and the contribution He’s called you to make to the world.  Humility is really just relaxing, enjoying a life of grace and living each moment to the full.  I can tell you from experience that it’s much easier to make the most of every day when it’s not all about you.

The Least Likelies

One morning I had breakfast with a dad in our church who was going through a divorce.  We didn’t really know each other but had hooked up during a children’s ministry event he had attended with his child.  After listening to his story, I felt like God had given me some things I needed to say, some hard things that would be difficult for him to hear.  If he took it to heart, it had the potential to change the entire trajectory of his life.

As soon as I laid it out, I knew it hit him right between the eyes.  After an awkward silence he said, “Wow, that was really deep.  I needed to hear that.  I can’t believe you’re the Children’s Minister.”  In other words, “Where did that come from?  I thought you were an idiot.”

I smiled and thought of 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 that says, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world  to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

I love how God loves to use the “least-likelies,” people who have no business being able to say things and do things that God uses to change lives.  My friend was right.  Sometimes I am an idiot.  What I spoke into his life that morning came out of nowhere.  It certainly didn’t come from any worldly wisdom that I possess. 

At the end of the day, when God uses someone like me, there is no mistake who gets the credit. 

So beware the fools, the weaklings, the lowlifes and the despised you may encounter this week.  They might be my fellow “least-likelies,” and you never know how God might use them to mess with your head . . . in a good way.  Who knows, we may even invite you to join up.