My life is mine -- or is it?


“Do you realize what a selfish and lazy person you are?” The question did not come from a stranger, a friend, or a relative. It came from me. And it was directed to me. It was the shocking moment when I became aware that my self-indulgent ways were more than a pleasurable escape from my responsibilities. I was offending God.

The wake-up call on my selfish nature occurred at the Urbana 06 student missions convention last December. I was surprised and challenged by my time there. Going in, I expected to be spiritually encouraged and to find some direction for my future. Instead, I found myself confronted to the core about how I was living my life.

What I realized is that I have been living selfishly and lazily. At Urbana 06, one thing that helped me see my selfish bent was the conference’s focus on global issues. I saw that, as a North American, I live a rather insulated life, removed from the kinds of critical issues that other people around the world have to deal with every day.

Also, I recognized that I wasted a lot of time, money and energy by not focusing on what I had — and using it. I saw that I wasn’t being a good steward of any of the gifts or blessings God had given me.

This led me to realize that I was downright lazy. I began to see how I would waste an hour or more every day just doing things that made me happy or that brought immediate satisfaction to me — like eating, watching movies, emailing or shopping. Also, I noticed that usually I was indulging in these things as an escape from what really needed to be done. My discipline had flown out the window.

Also, I knew that my laziness and selfishness were not going to just go away without intentionality. At Urbana 06, we studied the book of Ephesians and I was challenged by what I read during that time. The apostle Paul talked about living in the power of the Holy Spirit and putting off the old nature. Somehow, my old nature had crept into my life and had sprouted wings everywhere. Perhaps it was because I was so busy with the semester that I failed to notice how ugly I was becoming inside.

Whatever the reason, I realized that I was choking the line between myself and the Lord, cutting myself off from his power. In many cases I was actually resisting his direction, and ultimately continuing to rely on myself for what needed to get done in my life.

So I left Urbana 06 without finding a specific direction for my life, or getting the spiritual high I’d anticipated. Rather, it was a time of reflection and confrontation deep in my soul, something I needed far more.

Since then, I have strived to acknowledge and depend on the Lord every day. I persevere to live out the lesson I learned: This life is not my own, nor is this body — therefore I have no right to fill it up with things that only please myself. Instead, I have a duty to use it first to please the Lord .

It is a better way.

— from Amber, a graduate student at a university in the Midwest