Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Inward or Outward?

Today I was sitting in a VA waiting room with a bunch of other vets waiting to be called for my routine physical. As I watched the nurses calling people and weighing them in one nurse seemed particularly rushed and even a little sour. One patient tried joking with her and she was obviously not appreciating it, and she was clearly not in a good mood (I need to say that this is the exception, not the rule, for all the people I have encountered in the VA system—the ones in the clinic I go to seem to truly care about vets and want to serve them).

As my time drew close to be called I thought, "I hope I don't get her!" Who'd want, after all, a grumpy nurse weighing you in and asking you questions and taking your blood pressure? But, almost immediately after that thought, I had this thought pop into my mind, "But what if she needs what you have?"

It was profound. In a mere second I saw my complete self-focus, desiring to make things easy for me, to have a cheerful nurse, etc. My eyes were completely focused on my self and my ease and comfort and pleasure. And in a moment, with a simply thought, it was as if the eyes of my heart spun 180-degrees and I saw myself as possibly there for her, and not for me. After all, I know the One who loves her and who brings hope and joy and peace and love into our lives. I carry His presence, and I bear His image. It was amazing how fast my entire focus shifted and I found myself excitedly saying, "God, if she needs what I have please give her to me as my nurse!" I was actually hoping to get her and eager to see what He was up to! It was incredible, actually, how quickly I went from being there to be served, to being there ready to serve. It was almost funny to think that maybe I'd been brought there not for me, but to do His business there.

I never did get her as my nurse, but I did get a real glimpse into my heart and into how quickly I can slip into a place of inward, self focus and forget just who I am in Christ and who goes with me and in me. I am worried about my own comfort and actually praying, without realizing it, that I might miss a divine appointment. Isn't it awesome how even in a place we go to in order to be served that we can find a place to be the server! May God open the eyes of our heart to see their inward focus and ignite in us a desire to be in the service of others, carrying His image and love and power to them!


  1. Erick,
    Great point! I find myself slipping into the same mindset. I try to find what is convenient for myself rather than what is in the best interest of the other person. I really like the quote, "What if she needs what you have?" We forget often that we carry around this treasure in earthen vessels. Thank you for reminding me today.

  2. Amen, what a profound thought, people always want we have; we have the light of the world dwelling in our hearts:)

  3. Thanks Glen and Toyin for dropping by and taking the time to comment. It is an encouragement to me. I so value both of your blogs and thoughts and what God shares through you. I am excited when I get an email saying you have a new post! I found this moment I wrote about in this post to be a powerful one for me, and in the days since I have had the same reactions. Just the other day I was heading to a coffee shop and I wanted to write and I found myself hoping no one would come in who I knew so I could just sip my coffee and write, and almost immediately I felt, "But what if God has an appointment for me to be used in someone's life?" I quickly said, "Your will, not mine" and it felt good to do so and release it to Him and trust. God bless you both. ---Erick


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