‘It’s not all about you’

When my nephew Jared was a little bitty thing, he would get all over his big brother with a consistent reminder, “It’s not all about you, Jacob!”

The boldness of his approach and the intensity behind his words always made me smile, but the clear truth behind his appeal has stuck with me since the first time it rolled out of his mouth.

The key to strength in any relationship points back to whether the two parties are going to be self-centered or other-centered. This is true with friends, co-workers, all formulas of family relationships and especially in marriage.

“It’s not all about you” was the focus of a recent article in Relevant magazine, “Marriage Isn’t About Your Happiness.”

An excerpt from the article written by Debra K. Fileta says:

“Marriage is not about your happiness, it’s not even about you. It’s about love — which is something we choose to give time and time again. It’s about sacrifice, serving, giving, forgiving — and then doing it all over again. … often, we’re choosing ‘personal happiness’ over real commitment, over real love.

“They say marriage teaches you more about selflessness than you ever wanted to know. I have definitely found that phrase to be true in my relationship with my husband. Because at the heart of it, real love is all about sacrifice. About the giving of yourself, in ways big and small.”

Read the full article here.

—Jennifer Davis Rash

Friends that ‘outdo one another’

Greater love image revisedMy dear sweet friend had more on her to-do list than 200 people could accomplish in one week, but she didn’t flinch when my situation changed her plans.

She looked into my eyes and saw the 98-mile trek back home was going to be a challenge for me to accomplish on my own. She made a few quick adjustments to her return-trip plan, grabbed my car keys and tucked me safely into the passenger seat.

It was merely one of those crazy headaches I get every once in a while, but it was enough to make a simple hour and a half drive on the interstate seem daunting.

The day before another sweet friend secured a babysitter and hit pause on her routinely hectic day so we could celebrate our May birthdays over lunch. She also stuck around for several hours to help me with an important assignment that was on a tight deadline.

For the past few weeks — really for the past five months — my dear friends at The Alabama Baptist have worked extra hours or gone out of their way to help me with so many different personal and professional tasks, projects and assignments.

‘Love one another’

And then there are friends from church, my neighborhood and beyond who constantly surprise me with an encouraging word, a needed hug or a random act of kindness.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by such a crowd of special friends.

The Word tells us in John 15:12–15: “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

“You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

And in Colossian 3:12–14, Paul says: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

Doing life together

I sometimes have a hard time accepting help. I’m stubborn like that but I’m learning I really can’t walk life’s journey on my own. I definitely need the help of friends, and I love doing things for friends as well.

The little things are really fun and something I hope I never forget to do, but it is the helping in times of extreme need that fills my heart.

It is such a special gift for me when I get the privilege of doing something for someone that I know is truly needed and appreciated.

In fact, I had an opportunity like this recently when a friend was in a bind and needed someone to pick her up. It was really a simple request but it was urgent and it was such an honor to get the call asking if I could help.

And a few days before that my husband and I had an opportunity to assist a woman who was going to be stranded for hours had we not stepped in. We ended up having several mutual friends in common and connected on a spiritual level as well.

I could have easily ignored what I was hearing as she talked on the phone near me. She didn’t realize I was there and would have never known if I hadn’t helped, but I would have known.

—Jennifer Davis Rash