it's not about you. (except it totally is.)
i was listening to a podcast the other day and the girl on it said, “i understand ‘it’s not about you it’s not about you it’s not about you,’ but can i just say today, actually it’s all about you.”
you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear her whole point and story, which is worth hearing (multiple times), but even taken out of context, it’s still true. i’ve been sitting with it ever since i heard it because it’s so contrary to the messages i hear frequently. in fact, i just read a chapter of everybody, always, where bob goff shares how he repeats this mantra to himself before sharing anything: “it’s not about me.” while it’s true that we’re all a “mere stagehand” to the main character in this story, as the message version puts it, we’re missing the other half. and, praise Jesus, there is another half.
my favorite thing about esther 4:14 is how it holds both.
for if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
from what i’ve seen of this verse, printed on posters and painted on reclaimed wood, we like to focus on the last six words and cut out all the rest. it can be a quick encouragement to seize the day and step into your calling. you’re here for such a time as this! but i think we can lean too heavy in this direction too. we need both halves.
God doesn’t need us. we don’t have to do anything. it’s all about Him. His name. His glory. His saving grace. we should always be in a position and posture that looks to Him, points to Him, honors Him, and keeps His commands. bob is right in that everything we pour out should carry the message and intention that it’s not about us.
but also? God is all about us. He is constantly thinking of us. even before we were born, He was strategically working. He has carefully, skillfully, beautifully, wonderfully crafted us from nothing. He knit us together so intricately, so uniquely in the secret place. He knows who we are, what we do, where we are, what we think, and what we’ll say before we even say it. He has taken great care of these details, working it out so that we’re equipped and positioned and timed perfectly. He loves us, and we get to partner with Him.
so when He calls us out and invites us to take part in His greater story, we can be sure that it’s to His glory, and our benefit. He is for us, and calling us out to win. He’s not worried about His name or His glory. He’s not looking to see who’s offering the highest praise. He’s just loving us and preparing things for us and moving on our behalf and turning what was meant for evil into something good.
mordecai hits on this very thing as he speaks to esther. let me paraphrase: don’t get me wrong, he says. God will save His people one way or the other – because that’s who He is – and if you don’t step up and be part of what’s happening here, it’s your loss. and, who knows, but look at how you’re perfectly placed – and for such a time as this.
it’s crucial that he hits both points. without the top half, it implies esther had to step up, like maybe it was part of her identity. she didn’t have a choice; she was born to save these jews. without the bottom half, it lacks empowerment. like it was her choice, but her choice didn’t hold any weight because God would do what He wanted either way. like He didn’t create her and quip her and position her to be able to say yes and step up.
in other words, it’s not about you, but also it totally is.
we aren’t supposed to elevate ourselves like anything hinges on us or our good works, but we also aren’t supposed to forget ourselves like we’re insignificant. we may not point to ourselves because we don’t deserve the glory, but the glorious One points to us because we’re the ones He does it all for.
i’ve spent a lot of time focusing on loving God without an “and” because nothing is worthy enough to stand next to Him; every other choice i make is simply an overflow of that love – or so that’s the goal. what i didn’t really think about was how He has the same idea about you and me. He loves us. there is no “and.” everything else has simply been an overflow of that love.