Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Shifting the Focus.

Last Sunday I felt really challenged. I'm not sure if it was the sermon on letting God move us into the future whilst protecting us from the past or if it was the visit of Richard and Heidie Bradbury talking about the Cikankata hospital in Zambia or if it was just wind or if it was a wild and crazy culmination of all 3 but I felt, coming into this new year, that I need to start thinking differently.

I am incredibly talented when it comes to thinking about myself. I don't want you to think that I'm just blowing my own trumpet here. It's true. I'm brilliant at it. Grade A. I could think about myself and my needs and my worries for days on end if I had to. And most of the time I don't even have to. I do it just because I can. I'm that good.

The problem is that when one becomes so unrestrainably competent at thinking of oneself, one tends to neglect the growing issue of others.

Others are not always easy to think about. For a start, others are not me. Others are... well, other. Others are not of me. Others are outside of me. Most others are not in the room. They are not in the building, town or country. Most others live in countries I have never been to and speak in languages I will never understand. I have not met, seen or had contact with the vast majority of others. And the others I have had contact with...well, they are still other...aren't they?

And then there's me. I spend a lot of time with me. Me tends to go with me wherever I go. I don't have to think very hard to think of me because there me is. I have a constant reminder of me - me.

And I have always hated that. I have been well aware that all my faults and all my fears and all my insecurities stem from my own self-centredness. I have been desperate to change - to shift the focus - to put others before myself. But thinking of myself is easy.

I tend to gripe that I am not able to do enough for society. I have been with the Salvation Army all my life and have never worked in a soup kitchen or had a conversation with a man living on the streets or prayed with a prostitute. I've never done any of the things that I'm most proud of the Salvation Army for. And I moan that it's because I don't have the opportunity or that the Salvation Army isn't doing enough at Corps level or that no one is telling me how to help others.

The truth is, I don't do any of those things because I don't care enough.

Due to the extreme seriousness of this post, the blog's administrator would like to break it up with this quirky little cartoon:

Funny eh?

And on Sunday, I realised that it was time things changed. I need to spend more time actively and deliberately thinking of others by focussing on God.

I decided to start a savings account last week when the new iPhone was announced so that, come October (when the phone is released in Europe), I'll have enough money to buy it. And in the mean time, I'm sitting in Church on Sunday, wishing that I had the money/opportunity/time to go to Africa and do mission work. I'M SAVING UP £500 FOR AN I-PHONE!! WHO NEEDS AN I-PHONE!?!! Despite it's incredible multi-touchscreen capabilities, visual voicemail and state-of-the-art internet access (ah man, who am I kidding - everyone needs an iPhone - but it can wait).

So instead, I'm going to set up my savings account, save for a couple of years and then see what's available. And in the mean time, I'm going to do more. And I'm going to do that by putting other people first once in a while (who knows? It might turn into a habit).

So that's my new years resolution. To think less about me and more about others.

Writing a really long blog about myself probably wasn't the best of starts.


Anonymous said...

You really are a very good writer - ever thought about literary journalism?

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous, don't tempt him away, he's onto something here!

Glyn's (very proud) Dad

Andy said...

Can't think why you'd wanna get a new phone, it's not like your current one doesn't work, never tells you when you've got voicemails or text messages... or maybe it does and you just ignore me writing to/calling you...

...feeling very insecure now...

In all seriousness, thanks for the challenge. We kinda all need a kick up the backside in that sense.

Anonymous said...

Have to say - Andy I empathise!

But just realised as I'm writing this and secretly hoping that as Glyn's now thinking about others I might actually get a call from him - I am thus proving his point and thinking about MYself!

Hmm good blog Glyn...given us something to think about


K said...

Its always comforting, I find, when you have something playing on your mind, to read a fiends blog which is very related to your own thoughts. Thanks for this Glyn - its a real challenge and its good to see someone thinking this who is actually willing to do something about it. Hopefully it will inspire many more people to think more about others. (Including myself - I will have to readress my own priorities!)

Roots is likely to add impact to this too, since the theme is 'others'.

Anonymous said...

SD Approaches. Look out for the material presented in your Corps. Theme this year is 'give it up for the Lord'. Linked with your blog it gives food for thought.