Taking Myself Out of the Picture 

Well, here we are, trudging through May.

Somehow, we’re already on the second week, and if you’re feeling like time is traveling at breakneck speed, then get in line.

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I’ve received a lot of messages from thoughtful, lovely humans asking how my mom is doing in her stroke recovery. And, honestly, she’s doing amazing. She is my hero, and has made a remarkable recovery so far.

But reflecting on her journey, since that fateful evening, December 27, I’ve also done some reflecting on my own journey.

I’ve learned a lot of things. Some pretty important – like relearning how to drive a car. Because yes, the stereotype is true that New Yorkers don’t know how to drive. Some trivial, like never to take an Aspirin on an empty stomach.

But if I were to boil down the biggest thing I’ve learned from this journey so far, besides the obvious one of “trust God,” it’s this:

Life exists for more than just you.

Often times, I’d catch myself getting inside my own head. I’d be feeling annoyed or exhausted, or emotionally spent and frazzled with absolutely zero patience left, and God would remind me to step outside myself.

I’d be reminded that life exists for more than just me. Sure, maybe I’m feeling this way, but how is my mom feeling? Think about what she is going through right now, and have some compassion. My patience and my love to her costs me nothing, and means everything to her.

Or, realizing that other people are going through things too, and my actions can actually positively impact another person, who could really need it: Things like emptying the dishwasher or refilling pill containers, or even just a deliberate smile. Little things that no one needs to know, that can help life operate smoothly for someone else.

I’ve learned that I need to take my focus off of myself – even just to ask one question: how do I think _______ feels?

I never really thought of myself as a self-centered person before this. But, it turns out, that when you’re a single, independent young woman with no roommates, living in NYC, your life is pretty self-focused, no matter which way you slice it. Even if it is not your intention. Because, really, aside from work and your boss, you pretty much are free to live your life how you want it.

You don’t have to report to anyone, you’re free to eat what you want, when you want, go to bed when you want. You’re free to watch what you want on TV, be social when you want, yadda yadda yadda. You get the picture.

Taking myself out of my central focus changed things. It changed me. Changed my heart.

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Because every time I’d respond to one of those “out-of-myself”-moments, and check in with my mom, she’d say something so simple and profound, and I’d walk away having a totally different perspective on things.

I’d walk away realizing fully that life really does exist for more than just me.

But what’s more, is that when we live with consideration for others, God really does change our hearts. He gives us a peace and joy that only comes from loving others. Because after all, whatever we do to even the least of these, we do to Him. (Matt 25:40)

Loving others, and keeping others in our minds – it’s a form of worship. Service is worship, because in giving of ourselves to others, we are giving ourselves to Him.


It turns out, all of the living-for-myself that I was doing in NYC – all the ways I thought I was free – are merely a superficial placeholder for true freedom.

The true freedom that Jesus calls us to is a counter-intuitive notion. Because the freedom He gives is the freedom that comes from obedience.

And what did He call us to do?

Use your freedom to… serve one another humbly in love. “ (Gal 5:13)

Turns out that freedom is not the lack of a curfew. Or the control of the Netflix queue.

Turns out its giving of yourself without fear.


Kindness is free. Compassion costs nothing.

And in giving, we end up receiving the greatest gift of all.

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beautybeyondbones

BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

247 thoughts on “Taking Myself Out of the Picture 

  1. So beautifully true 🙂 I’m so glad to hear your mother is doing well. I didn’t read this till after I wrote my blog today, but I wrote about gentleness. What a world of difference it means to ourselves and others, as you said, when the focus isn’t on us. God certainly is humbling our hearts. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Life is truly about finding the balance between serving others and remembering not to neglect yourself. But I do believe that God wouldn’t place us in a situation that our service wasn’t required , especially if He knew it would be too much for us to bear! He’s a smart guy this God we serve! Keep looking after your mama bear! Your service is not unnoticed 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sophie, thanks for this. Gosh, that is so true – that balance is necessary for a full and abundant life. hahah I think you’re right! He *is* a smart guy, that God! :)but in all seriousness, thanks for always chiming in with an encouraging word. it means the world 🙂 big hugs xo

      Like

  3. Well said, my friend… Well said indeed.. Makes me think of my dad who’s going through cancer right now, but even before we find out. If you ask him how his doing. He always says wonderful. No matter if his having a bad day dealing with attitudes. Wonderful. Our parents truly do teach us things throughout of life. Hope all is well on your end. God Bless:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. God Bless you, your mom and everything you do. You are the best person I know in NYC. Yes, there is so much selfishness there, or rather self focus. I am always glad to just visit it once a year. You rise above that with all that you do. I’ve talked about you being brighter than its brightest lights, well you are also higher than its highest heights in terms of all that you hold in your heart, for your mom and for others in general. You touch for real, not just in empty words!! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Migueltio. That’s really kind of you to say. Gosh, I’m blushing 🙂 it definitely challenges me to combat my inherent selfish nature! Lol have a great evening, my friend! Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So… I always enjoy your posts. And I agree with you. But I had a thought. Maybe it has already been mentioned. Jesus is the ultimate Compassionate One. The word usually translated compassion (as in Jesus looked upon the man with compassion) means that Jesus loved that person so much his guts ached for them. But that means compassion is very, very, expensive because God’s compassion for you and for me cost him everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The day we’re able to truly love others without fear of losing love for ourselves is the day we cross the threshold of true spiritual maturity. I’m glad to hear your mom is recovering so well. I wish you continued healing too. I think we do it for life 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. As an independent single girl living in Las Vegas, I can relate to the natural tendency to be self centered. Without meaning to be. “Life exists for more than just you”. What a simple yet convicting phrase. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thanks so much 🙂 yeah, i love that quote from Galatians. I honestly hadn’t thought about it in a long time, so I’m so glad to have gotten the reminder 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! hope you’re having a great week! xox

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      1. The quote… I was thinking for myself – of kindness and compassion as an expression of… 🙂 service for another

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful. Sounds like this experience made you more aware of your loving heart. What a blessing!
    Continued Light and love to you and to your mom. My spiritual teacher John Morton says to leave a place better than you found it and do good wherever you are … one of my favorite intentions. Just doing the little things can make a tremendous difference in someone’s life.
    Have a great rest of your week,
    Debbie

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thank you so much Debbie! Yeah, this journey has definitely taught me a lot. and i’m a grateful for those lessons, even though I had to learn them the hard way. I love that – leave a place better than you found it and do good wherever you are….amen!! such great advice! big hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Coming to realize that when we focus on ourselves we are shutting out so much more than we imagine. A friend who lives with paranoia once expressed his feelings when things get too much. He said “I tell myself everyone is watching me – because that’s all I can see”.
    He gets “days off from his paranoia” and then celebrates everything about being able to look outwards.
    When the “i” becomes our eyes we can truly see that there is so much more to life. Faith enables us to trust that the one who created life didn’t do it just for “me”.
    Enjoyed reading this post

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is, in fact, another great post. I hope your mother is well. Sometimes, life can only offer what you already has.
    Good day Belle.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love this post – so true on so many levels. Speaks volumes to me as well as others I am sure but it also reflects some of “you” and where you have come from. Thanks for sharing and promoting Gods grace.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hi BBB,

    Great points as always. The Lord has a bigger picture that your little piece of the world affects. Loving others is worship, that is awesome. I have to remember that when the weights come down. The Lord bless you as you love your mom and others.

    Have a great week,

    Gary

    On Mon, May 8, 2017 at 3:24 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “Well, here we are, trudging through May. > Somehow, we’re already on the second week, and if you’re feeling like time > is traveling at breakneck speed, then get in line. I’ve received a lot of > messages from thoughtful, lovely humans asking how my mom is d” >

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Gary, thank you so much for this kind response. I think you’re so right – God has a plan for all of us, and I know that it involves helping His children. Because after all, that’s what a good Father does 🙂 thanks for stopping by. big hugs to you xox

      Like

  13. Compassion/empathy may well be the most important principle for human success, personal and communal, and one that our current American culture does not emphasize enough, if not outright discourages. Glad you’re not making that mistake, it only leads to misery!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you’re so right. Having empathy for others is what makes the world work. And makes our own lives richer in the process 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing these thoughts! big hugs xox

      Like

  14. I can relate for being in your own head, I try to stay out of my head as much as I can, work helps for keeping my mind on work. I also having sexual stressed at home, I won’t get in details on that and the mistake with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through a difficult season. hang in there, friend 🙂 Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. big hugs xox

      Like

      1. Not really just the situations are never easy. I been in a harder situation before with a guy who like the same girl that I liked but he is a good guy, that kind of help the situation for not wanting to beat him up so much, also he help me out couple times in the past, once when we was kids and an other time when I was really drunk with being mad at my grandma for something she said, that I took the wrong way after 2 Three Wise Men drinks with 5 Budweiser’s and he let me sleep it off on the bus he had with other friends being fix up when I was 21. So even know we don’t like each other, he had help me out.

        Like

  15. That’s an interesting way to look at freedom 🙂 it’s always interesting to step outside yourself and experience the other things that life has to offer. Glad to hear your mum is doing well. Sending blessings to you and her.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much 🙂 Yeah, she’s a rockstar. I’m so inspired by her courage. thanks for saying that. And you’re right, it’s definitely a counter-cultural way to look at freedom! haha thanks for stopping by! hope you’re having a great week 🙂 xox

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m so happy to have run across your blog Caralyn.
    I too have a Mom who suffered a stroke in the last year. She is also fighting Multiple Myeloma and has been trying to find peace in all the meds, appointments, etc…
    I found your post encouraging and hopeful.
    My past is one of the opposite nature of yours. I married at 18, had my first born at 20 and have been taking care if others forever. Now after raising my boys, I am learning how to think of my needs first. It’s a process, and I am finding joy getting to know myself better.
    Observing how you use your faith to help you through these tough times is inspiring.
    Thank you for reading Let’smakemudpies.wordpress.com. It means a lot.
    Smiles,
    Teri

    Liked by 2 people

  17. AHHH!!! So so good! Thank you for this! Just got around to reading this, man I was encouraged yet convicted all in the same space. Again thank you so much for this. It really spoke to me ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  18. So true. That’s our purpose here on Earth. We were born to be of service to our fellowmen. Unselfishness is a lesson we each must learn. Sometimes its a hard lesson but always a rewarding lesson. God Bless you

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What a moving and incredible post. 😢😢 We must treasure our loved ones and remember that life is not about us, but what we do for other with the time we have. My mom and I didn’t always have the best relationship when I was younger, but by stepping out of my own feelings and into her shoes, I realized that she could not give me what I needed because she was deprived of it herself. Due to looking at things from her perspective, we were able to come together and really talk and learn about each other. Today, we are the best of friends, and we have learned to give each other what we needed by simply listening. I am so glad that your mother is doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. So glad your mom is doing better! Rehabilitation is a long process but as a former rehab nurse, I’ve seen so many miracles. Prayers out to the family and wishing your mom a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I am beyond thankful that you took some of your time to read my post and liking it .. really thank you. I am happy that your mom is fine now. Your post was on point and I enjoyed reading it especially when you wrote in the end “Kindness is free. Compassion costs nothing.
    And in giving, we end up receiving the greatest gift of all.” .. enjoy your day 💝

    Like

      1. You are welcome angel 🙂 wishing you the best , take care much love and respect for you and your mom 💝 hugs 🤗

        Like

  22. This post speaks truth and it’s amazing how by doing,thinking,and pursuing the interest of others you yourself receive more this way than by just focusing on yourself.

    Like

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