Expand Beyond Yourself

How can I serve you?

A couple of weeks ago at my college group this question was raised. We discussed how instead of arguing with others, maybe we should ask people in our lives how we can serve them.

When someone in our life is grumpy and it has a negative effect on us, we tend to bite back or become offended. This is because we are self-centered enough to believe someone having a bad day should “just get over it” because it makes us feel slightly uncomfortable.

How can I serve you?

We were told to ask this when people around us are grumpy, upset, or quarrelsome. This is was a new concept to me, because I often fall into the trap of thinking I can get upset at someone else being upset. Yes, I can sometimes feel like the people in my life should be happy all the time simply because it makes life easier for me.

However, this idea goes much deeper than just asking how you can help someone when they have a bad day.

This idea of serving others was expanded for me last night when I saw Rob Bell speak at the Regent Theater in Los Angeles.

For those of you who do not know, Rob Bell was a pastor and is now an author of several books that center around God and theology and religious ideas. I personally find him to be quite brilliant and really admire his take on things.

Now allow me to feebly attempt to convey some of the ideas Bell was able to communicate eloquently and easily.

Bell spoke about how everything is spiritual and how everything is interconnected. Particles make up atoms, atoms make up cells, and cells make up people. We share similar DNA to a monkey and a banana. We have the same elements in us as the stars do.

Everything is spiritual and everything is interconnected. 

We have a natural desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. I guarantee almost everyone reading this has said or heard someone say: “I just want to be part of something bigger than me.”

In general, we want to help people.

To better illustrate this point, I will share a few of my favorite quotes from his talk last night:

  • “Serving is intentionally orienting yourself outside of yourself.”
  • “When you love what are you choosing to do? When you love, you are moving beyond yourself for another, you are expanding.”
  • “Love demands an extraordinary capacity for complexity and differences.”

Those are just some of the wise words Bell shared on the topic of caring for others.

Ultimately, we are called to look beyond ourselves and serve those around us. Our past sufferings can help us empathize and connect with another person; and through that process we can both be healed. We learn and grow.

Our present allows us to realize we are here and we are doing great. Really. We are.

And our future calls us to do even greater things. What else has yet to be brought into the universe that will happen through you?

Ultimately, we are meant to expand beyond ourselves and reach out.

My biggest take away from the things I have been learning recently, both through life and Rob Bell, is that I am meant to expand beyond myself. I am meant to love others. I am destined for wonderful things.

We are interconnected down to a fundamental, biological level. We are interconnected to this earth and all that inhabits it. So do yourself a favor and expand beyond your own little world and love everything there is to love.

Challenge your current understanding of what it means to serve and love others.

That would be my advice.

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