Everybody is I

A few weeks ago my friend Vicky said this statement during a conversation we were having.

Everybody is I.

Vicky shared how much this statement had affected her and her perceptions many years ago. I have found myself similarly affected by it. I think of it almost daily.

I guess on one level is astoundingly obvious. Of course ‘everyone is I’ of course everyone has their own world going on inside of them, their own feelings and emotions, motives and insecurities.

Yet on another level its astoundingly complex and profound. Yes its true, but do I live like its true? Do I love like it’s true? Do I interpret the way life happens to me like its true? Do I consistently treat people with the dignity they deserve like its true? Do I love them like I love myself?

No.

No, I don’t.

If I’m honest I largely interpret things based from my worldview, how it affects me, what I would mean if I was to speak or act in that way. A lot of us are much more egocentric than we would care to admit or are even aware of. Jesus knew what he was talking about when he told us to remove the stick from our own eye before worrying about the speck in someone else’s.

Ive been giving it a go recently just trying to interpret life as if it was true. Practising kindness and non-judgement. Im not good at it! But parenting, marriage, friendships and just life in general are giving me so many times to practise…heres a couple of ones to make you smile. I am a bit embarrassed to share this, but Jesus never said humility was easy.

1. I do a community charity toilet roll order, they arrived Friday and I still have 9 giant boxes left in my hall. I began to feel irritated. Why haven’t people collected them? Don’t they realise how in the way they are? Then my favourite one… I would have collected them straight away if they were at someone else’s house.

Judge. Blame. Self righteousness. Yuck.

I feel a nudge from the Spirit interrupt my horrible thinking. I blush and remember that I haven’t taken my insurance form into work for 2 weeks.

Everybody is I. Remove the log.

Maybe they just forgot like me, maybe they are busy like me, maybe they have other stuff going on.

I say sorry to God. I feel so much better and I no longer care about the boxes. I tell Jon and he laughs with me. He’s so awesome.

2. I receive a difficult and unfair message from someone and I flip out inside. How could they say that to me? Are they really that insecure? Do they have any idea how that makes me feel? and the big one, Im never enough….this one comes up a lot in me.

I chat it through with Jon and let off some steam, I go to reply and then sense to wait.

Everybody is I. Remove the log.

They are not in a good place, they didn’t mean to hurt you, don’t you remember feeling that way? I send a kind message back. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because I want to. I know the truth. I choose to be gracious. I feel compassion and empathy. God is softening me as I yield and follow Him. He is so good.

3. One of my children is perpetually difficult to get out of the house in the morning and Im not handling it well. Its ending in stress and shouting I feel powerless so I begin to blame. Why can’t they just get ready calmly? Why is it so stressful? Why do I have to put up with this? If they complain one more time about how their socks feel Im going to cry/shout/explode.

I feel that familiar nudge, my tinnitus was so bad last week every noise was just awful and I struggled to cope and complained a lot.

Everybody is I. Remove the log.

Maybe they need more time and a bit more help. Maybe they are worried about something at school. Maybe their sock really does feel weird! I leave more time this morning to help them through it. I show compassion and kindness. It goes so much better. Im so grateful.

I had a few minutes to practice some lectio divina today,  a discipline I have done intermittently over the last couple of years. One that doesn’t come especially naturally to my ‘get it done’ way of living. It’s a way of attending to scripture, a way of slowing down and letting a small part of it really sink in.

I chose a small part of Matthew 22 ‘……love your neighbour as yourself…’ . In the contemplation part of the exercise I was drawn back to my “everybody is I” statement. Lord will I ever be someone who can do this, really love people? Really treat people with the dignity and compassion they all deserve?

I feel the answer. Keep following me. Keep remembering everyone is I. Keep forgiving yourself when you mess up.

I smile. I am I as well.

So are you.

Lets be kind to ourselves and others. We are all learning what it means to be human and see that humanity in everyone else.

Emma

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