Posted in Christian Living, Self-Help

Not Just a Bumper Sticker


The world is full of one-liners. Some of them make us laugh. Some of them bore us. Others are supremely forgettable.
But others somehow find a way of sticking in our brains. In some way, they reflect a deeper truth than the ten seconds it took to read them as they zoomed past us on the back of a worn bumper sticker on the busy freeway.
My latest brain sticker came to me through one of those email blasts of “feel good” lines that I often usually skip over, as too many emails come through my box every day. This email, however, had been “screened” and forwarded to me by my dad, so I knew it would be worth a look.
As it turned out, I was really glad I did because the email led me to a new mantra that is helping me approach my life from a better perspective each day. I even put the statement on my day planner as a recurring task so I read it each day.
What’s this great perspective? “Don’t take yourself seriously. Nobody else does.”
This statement doesn’t work for everybody. If the problems you are dealing with are extreme low self-esteem or feeling alone in the world, then your statement would be something more along the lines of “God loves you,” or “learn to love yourself and love will find you.”
But for someone like me, who was driving herself crazy with a pile of things I “should” be doing, beating myself up about what I wasn’t accomplishing every day, and feeling like I was somehow wasting my life because I wasn’t doing an undefined “something” that was my great purpose in life, the idea of not taking myself seriously is helping me put things into a more realistic perspective. It’s making me not judge myself or others the way I was doing. And, when I catch myself getting revved up into anxiety about what I am or am not accomplishing, the statement helps me shift back down into a more reasonable gear.
The statement is also getting me to see life from other people’s perspectives much better. After all, the reason no one is taking me as seriously as I take myself is because we all of us face the world from the very limited perspective of the self. I’ve even caught myself doing a better job of thinking about what I am about to say and realizing that what I would think is obvious or practical might actually be insulting or wounding to somebody else. I am also learning not to take things personally that I might have otherwise done. People aren’t deliberately wounding me so much as rightfully being caught up in their own problems and wounds.
Finally, the statement reminds me that I am not supposed to be sticking my nose in other people’s problems. I like to be the fixer, you see, and so I find myself volunteering to do things or solve things that aren’t really in my purview. Sure, I’m supposed to be helping people as a Christian, but that does not require that I do everything for everybody, which is a trap I can easily fall into. When you find yourself sitting around thinking about how to solve somebody else’s problems, when that somebody hasn’t even asked for your input, your are taking yourself way too seriously. Do you really think you are that smart or important? All you are really doing is avoiding solving your own problems and making yourself feel more important than you really are in the grand scheme of things. Most importantly, always thinking just flat out makes your brain tired.
So, I hope if you are dealing with a particular, pervading issue that you can find your own “bumper sticker wisdom” to help serve as your own reminder of how best to beat the challenges in your own life.
Just remember, that while others aren’t taking you seriously, God most certainly does. All the time. Unwavering.

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Author:

I am a 40-something Texan with a feisty cat and a supportive husband of 20 years. With a Master's degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, I have taught creative writing at Texas Tech, won awards for my writing and been blessed to be mentored by Horn Professor and poet Dr. Walt McDonald. I earn a living by helping my husband's family run a health food store, but my avocation is writing. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my triumphs and tragedies as I continue to work on figuring out what life is all about and on growing my ability to share my writing. May your own journey be a blessed one.

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