If you are feeling down or depressed, do something kind for someone else. Don’t expect any return back and see what happens. In other words, if your life is not fulfilling, take the blessings you have been given (and you have plenty of them) and pay them forward for the benefit of others.
There. I have shared today’s message in three sentences. One simple concept that, if heeded, can be life changing. It is the ultimate prescription for depression, make it not about you.
I am tempted to sign off and close this column down, but rather than make it the shortest column of my 22 years of writing, let me go ahead and break it further apart for you.
The best way to improve your quality of life is to lift others up and watch what happens in the process. Although your intent and focus is on raising up another, the result will be two people rising higher. It is the saying, “Pay another person a sincere compliment and two people will have a better day.”
There was a sign in my room growing up that said “Those who bring happiness into the lives of others cannot help but bring happiness to themselves.” It is just not possible to be the wind beneath someone else’s wings and not fly higher yourself also.
The late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used to say, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” When you help meet the needs of others, your life will be fulfilled.
With one exception, the entire world is made up of other people. That means there is one of you, and 7.8 billion other people in the world.
As a general rule, the likelihood of your being depressed is directly tied to who your life is about. If your life is solely about you, you may spend a lot of time in a “down” mode. I truly believe that the more you pour yourself into the lives of others, the more satisfying your life will be.
Too often we live life with a single question, “What is in it for me?”
Pastor and author Paul David Tripp shared a powerful story that to me best illustrates what I am seeking to communicate:
“Back in my early days of ministry, I was a kindergarten teacher at a Christian school. Those were the four longest years of my life...actually, that’s not true. They were four great years, because I was finally with an age group that I could relate to!
“During that period of time, one of the mothers came to me and asked if she could have a birthday party for her daughter. As long as you invite everyone in the class, I said, that’s not a problem. The next day, Suzie’s mom turned my room into a birthday kingdom.
“There was a long table going down the middle of the classroom, and at the end of the table was Suzie - the birthday girl. She had an amazing pile of presents in front of her, stacked so high you could barely see her face. All her classmates sat around the table, admiring Suzie’s stack of presents while looking at their own little sandwich bag of party favors.
“One of the boys in the class wasn’t pleased. He began to harrumph. As Johnny looked at his bag of favors - two tootsie rolls, a lollipop, and a plastic whistle - and compared it to Suzie’s big pile of gifts, he got angrier and angrier. His harrumphing grew louder and louder. Finally, one mom helping out had enough.
“She came to Johnny’s seat at the table, knelt down to look him the eye and said, ‘Johnny, it’s not your party.’
“It’s a comical little scene, perhaps even “cute” at first, but the theology of those words obviously stuck with me throughout my life. As I think about my life and the glory of God, I need to remind myself that this life is not my party. You and I have been born into a world that was created to celebrate God. This life is not our party.
“This life is bigger than your marriage. This life is bigger than your job. It’s bigger than your kids and their accomplishments. It’s bigger than your vacation or personal comfort. This life is bigger than you.
“You see, the problem with Johnny is that he made that party all about himself. He wanted to be the center of attention. He wanted to receive all the gifts. He couldn’t see past his own selfish heart to celebrate Suzie and her birthday, and that only caused conflict and discord for everyone around him.
“You and I act like Johnny all too often...”
Are you are feeling down today? Are you are looking at someone else seated at your table in a better situation than you are in? Whether you are happy with what you have or unhappy because of what you don’t have, either way you have the same things. It is just the attitude you choose.
Pastor and author Rick Warren simply says, “It’s not about you.” Maybe today is not about you. Maybe, just maybe, you can make a phone call, write a note, or cook a meal for someone else and bring joy into his or her life.
I believe where ever you are, you are greater than your circumstances. Life is too short to not have a good time living it. Live with excitement for the future. Your gifts were not given to you for your own benefit. They were given to help others. Stop thinking about yourself. What can you do for another?
My challenge to you today is to make a difference in someone else’s life today. Then do it again tomorrow. If you are down then stop thinking about yourself! Think of someone who can use an uplifting call or act or note. Then take action and rise above the muck you are mired in.
What we receive dies with us. What we give lives on after we are gone. Give so that you live on when your life is over.
When you get down because good things happen to others and not you, maybe you need to remind yourself that maybe, just maybe, this life is not your party.
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.
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