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The other is always valued

January 29, 2007

A couple months ago I prayed that God would show me what it meant to be fully present with someone else. I wanted to invest so deeply in them that I was not distracted by anything else around me or any strange thoughts running through my head. While I can’t say I was fully present, I did experience a conversation where I was very deeply present and not distracted. I focused on the other person and the conversation we were a part of very intently in spite of many other things going on around me. It was a wonderful experience, and a time of connection that I will never forget.

I learned another lesson that day though. While my choice to be fully present was a blessing to the person I engaged with it didn’t have that same effect for others. My choice to engage in one conversation meant I neglected other things. My actions hurt and offended someone I care deeply about. I broke that person’s trust.

Our actions and in-actions affect those around us. When we choose something we are not choosing other things.

“As spiritual leaders, we are called to serve those that have been entrusted to us. Leadership in God’s kingdom is always about a downward rising. We are also called to clothe ourselves with humility. We are to relate to one another in such a way that the other is always valued above ourselves. Imagine a world where everyone competed to out-serve the other.” (Uprising by Erwin Raphael McManus, 46)

This quote leaves me to question how I reach beyond myself and my own selfish ways to value others. What am I willing to risk, give up, share, do? Do I give to others how I am most comfortable giving, or do I give in the best way for them to receive? Is my life about humilty and rising downward, or selfishness and conceit? Can I imagine a world where we competed to out-serve? If I can imagine it am I willing to try to live that way?

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