I have a default mode.
You know, a way of being that, without purposed attention, I slip into almost effortlessly. My default mode can easily be described in one word. Really, just one letter.
And this "I" mode can show its ugly head in many different ways...
It can be displayed through selfishness. ("I want what's best for me!") It can be displayed through isolation. ("I don't need anyone else. I'm fine on my own.") And, it can be displayed through pride coupled with insecurity. ("I'm need people to think I'm the best so that I can feel good, so I'm going to try to handle this on my own.")
Over the past year, one of my biggest lessons has been that I need other people. That's not because I'm broken or incapable of independence. (Although, sometimes that's true.) It's more because that's the way God made me. (The earliest sign of this is Genesis 2:18. Many more follow.)
It's been an interesting and incredibly rewarding journey to walk. One that has changed (and will continue to change) me forever. Or course, since I'm not the smartest person, I've looked for a way to simplify this lesson so that I can easily recall it in times that I need it. So I came up with this:
We > I
It's easy to remember and direct enough to remind me of what I was made for.
This morning, it came to mind as I was reading my Bible.
I was reading Exodus 18 and came across the story of Moses' father-in-law coming for a visit. You can read the whole story here, but here's a summation: Jethro (Moses' father-in-law, not the cousin from The Beverly Hillbillies) comes to visit Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness. While there, he observes Moses acting as judge for all of the people. He would sit for long hours hearing every dispute and then dispensing advice or judgements based upon to principles of God. After seeing this for a while, Jethro went to Moses and said "What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out.The work is too heavy for you. You cannot handle it alone." From there, he gives Moses advice to delegate some of his responsibilities to others so that he can concentrate on what only he can do: meeting with God on behalf of the people.
So he gives his son-in-law a plan for how to do that.
But what really struck me was what I saw in verse 23. Here's what Jethro says will happen if Moses follows these instructions: "If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied." Basically, if Moses follows Jethro's advice, it will benefit both him and the people.
Isn't that amazing? When we participate in community, both sides win. When we share our lives with others, which can get messy and sometimes be tough, both sides are rewarded.
We > I.
It really, really is.