It's Not About Me: Rescue From the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy

It's Not About Me: Rescue From the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy

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by Max Lucado

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There really is more to this life than you've been told.

We've been demanding our way since day one ...

"I want a spouse that makes me happy and coworkers that always ask my opinion."

"I want weather that suits me and traffic that helps me and government that serves me."

Self-promotion. Self-preservation. Self-centeredness ...



There really is more to this life than you've been told.

We've been demanding our way since day one ...

"I want a spouse that makes me happy and coworkers that always ask my opinion."

"I want weather that suits me and traffic that helps me and government that serves me."

Self-promotion. Self-preservation. Self-centeredness ...

"It's all about me."

They all told us it was, didn't they? And we took them up on it. We thought self-celebration would make us happy ...

But believing that has created chaos -- noisy homes, stress-filled businesses, cutthroat relationships. We've chased so many skinny rabbits, says Max Lucado, that we've missed the fat one: the God-centered life.

If you want to shift into high gear with purpose, this is it: life makes sense when we accept our place! Our pleasures, our problems, our gifts and talents ... when they're all for the One who created us, we suddenly gain what we've been missing and find what we've been seeking.

Let Max Lucado show you how to make the shift of a lifetime. How to bump your life off self-center. How to be changed and experience the meaning-charged life you were meant to have. Your discovery starts here.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For nearly two decades, evangelical preacher Lucado has been writing about God's inexhaustible grace, and his books have been snapped up by readers hungry to know they are loved, accepted, forgiven and saved. In his latest book this message, though still present, has moved to the background. A Copernican revolution is in order, Lucado says: it is time to understand that life revolves around God, not ourselves. The God he describes is neither Santa Claus nor a kindly, reassuring grandpa. He is a God of glory and holiness, eternal and unchanging. "To seek God's glory is to pray, `Thicken the air with your presence; make it misty with your majesty. Part heaven's drapes, and let your nature spill forth. God, show us God.' " Our role, once we have seen God's glory, is simply to reflect it. We do this by proclaiming his message, using our bodies the way he intended, trusting him in the midst of suffering and acknowledging him as the author of our success. Even our salvation "showcases God's mercy. It makes nothing of [our] effort but everything of his." Sterner generations of Christians memorized the answer to the first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." Lucado brings this concept to life with his trademark breezy style, good humor, homey anecdotes and passion. His fans may be surprised by this new emphasis, but they will not be disappointed. (Mar. 9) Forecast: Lucado's books have sold more than 33 million copies, and this latest (with an initial print run of 350,000 copies) should get off to a roaring start with an innovative pre-sales campaign; the foreword by former basketball star David Robertson will help as well. Customers who pre-purchase the book between January 15 and March 9 will receive a free companion journal with each advance order. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Rescue from the life We Thought Would Make Us Happy
By Max Lucado

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2004 Max Lucado
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-7241-9

Chapter One

Blame the bump on Copernicus.

Until Copernicus came along in 1543, we earthlings enjoyed center stage. Fathers could place an arm around their children, point to the night sky, and proclaim, "The universe revolves around us."

Ah, the hub of the planetary wheel, the navel of the heavenly body, the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue of the cosmos. Ptolemy's second-century finding convinced us. Stick a pin in the center of the stellar map, and you've found the earth. Dead center.

And, what's more, dead still! Let the other planets vagabond through the skies. Not us. No sir. We stay put. As predictable as Christmas. No orbiting. No rotating. Some fickle planets revolve 180 degrees from one day to the next. Not ours. As budgeless as the Rock of Gibraltar. Let's hear loud applause for the earth, the anchor of the universe.

But then came Nicolaus. Nicolaus Copernicus with his maps, drawings, bony nose, Polish accent, and pestering questions. Oh, those questions he asked.

"Ahem, can anyone tell me what causes the seasons to change?"

"Why do some stars appear in the day and others at night?"

"Does anyone know exactly how far ships can sail before falling off the edge of the earth?"

"Trivialities!" people scoffed. "Who has time for such problems? Smile and wave, everyone. Heaven's homecoming queen has more pressing matters to which to attend."

But Copernicus persisted. He tapped our collective shoulders and cleared his throat. "Forgive my proclamation, but," and pointing a lone finger toward the sun, he announced, "behold the center of the solar system."

People denied the facts for over half a century. When likeminded Galileo came along, the throne locked him up, and the church kicked him out. You'd have thought he had called the king a stepchild or the pope a Baptist.

People didn't take well to demotions back then.

We still don't.

What Copernicus did for the earth, God does for our souls. Tapping the collective shoulder of humanity, he points to the Son—his Son—and says, "Behold the center of it all." "God raised him [Christ] from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church" (Ephesians 1:20–22 MSG).

When God looks at the center of the universe, he doesn't look at you. When heaven's stagehands direct the spotlight toward the star of the show, I need no sunglasses. No light falls on me.

Lesser orbs, that's us. Appreciated. Valued. Loved dearly. But central? Essential? Pivotal? Nope. Sorry. Contrary to the Ptolemy within us, the world does not revolve around us. Our comfort is not God's priority. If it is, something's gone awry. If we are the marquee event, how do we explain flat-earth challenges like death, disease, slumping economies, or rumbling earthquakes? If God exists to please us, then shouldn't we always be pleased?

Could a Copernican shift be in order? Perhaps our place is not at the center of the universe. God does not exist to make a big deal out of us. We exist to make a big deal out of him. It's not about you. It's not about me. It's all about him.

The moon models our role.

What does the moon do? She generates no light. Contrary to the lyrics of the song, this harvest moon cannot shine on. Apart from the sun, the moon is nothing more than a pitch-black, pockmarked rock. But properly positioned, the moon beams. Let her do what she was made to do, and a clod of dirt becomes a source of inspiration, yea, verily, romance. The moon reflects the greater light.

And she's happy to do so! You never hear the moon complaining. She makes no waves about making waves. Let the cow jump over her or astronauts step on her;she never objects. Even though sunning is accepted while mooning is the butt of bad jokes, you won't hear ol' Cheeseface grumble. The moon is at peace in her place. And because she is, soft light touches a dark earth.

What would happen if we accepted our place as Son reflectors?

Such a shift comes so stubbornly, however. We've been demanding our way and stamping our feet since infancy. Aren't we all born with a default drive set on selfishness? I want a spouse who makes me happy and coworkers who always ask my opinion. I want weather that suits me and traffic that helps me and a government that serves me. It is all about me. We relate to the advertisement that headlined, "For the man who thinks the world revolves around him." A prominent actress justified her appearance in a porn magazine by saying, "I wanted to express myself."

Self-promotion. Self-preservation. Selfcenteredness. It's all about me!

They all told us it was, didn't they? Weren't we urged to look out for number one? Find our place in the sun? Make a name for ourselves? We thought self-celebration would make us happy ...

But what chaos this philosophy creates. What if a symphony orchestra followed such an approach? Can you imagine an orchestra with an "It's all about me" outlook? Each artist clamoring for self-expression. Tubas blasting nonstop. Percussionists pounding to get attention. The cellist shoving the flutist out of the center-stage chair. The trumpeter standing atop the conductor's stool tooting his horn. Sheet music disregarded. Conductor ignored. What do you have but an endless tune-up session!

Harmony? Hardly.

Happiness? Are the musicians happy to be in the group? Not at all. Who enjoys contributing to a cacophony?

You don't. We don't. We were not made to live this way. But aren't we guilty of doing just that?

No wonder our homes are so noisy, businesses so stress-filled, government so cutthroat, and harmony so rare. If you think it's all about you, and I think it's all about me, we have no hope for a melody. We've chased so many skinny rabbits that we've missed the fat one: the God-centered life.

What would happen if we took our places and played our parts? If we played the music the Maestro gave us to play? If we made his song our highest priority?

Would we see a change in families? We'd certainly hear a change. Less "Here is what I want!" More "What do you suppose God wants?"

What if a businessman took that approach? Goals of money and name making, he'd shelve. God-reflecting would dominate.

And your body? Ptolemaic thinking says, "It's mine; I'm going to enjoy it." God-centered thinking acknowledges, "It's God's; I have to respect it."

We'd see our suffering differently. "My pain proves God's absence" would be replaced with "My pain expands God's purpose."

Talk about a Copernican shift. Talk about a healthy shift. Life makes sense when we accept our place. The gift of pleasures, the purpose of problems—all for him. The God-centered life works. And it rescues us from a life that doesn't.

But how do we make the shift? How can we be bumped off self-center? Attend a seminar, howl at the moon, read a Lucado book? None of these (though the author appreciates that last idea). We move from me-focus to God-focus by pondering him. Witnessing him. Following the counsel of the apostle Paul: "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, [we] are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV).

Beholding him changes us. Couldn't we use a change? Let's give it a go. Who knows? We might just discover our place in the universe.

Chapter Two

Show Me Your Glory

An anxious Moses pleads for help. "[God], you tell me, 'Lead this people,' but you don't let me know whom you're going to send with me.... Are you traveling with us or not?" (Exodus 33:12, 16 MSG).

You can hardly fault his fears. Encircled first by Israelites who long for Egypt, and second by a desert of hot winds and blazing boulders, the ex-shepherd needs assurance. His Maker offers it. "I myself will go with you.... I will do what you ask, because I know you very well, and I am pleased with you" (vv. 14, 17 NCV).

You'd think that would have been enough for Moses, but he lingers. Thinking, perhaps, of that last sentence, "I will do what you ask ..." Perhaps God will indulge one more request. So he swallows, sighs, and requests ...

For what do you think he will ask? He has God's attention. God seems willing to hear his prayer. "The LORD spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks with his friend" (v.11 NCV). The patriarch senses an opportunity to ask for anything. What request will he make?

So many requests he could make. How about a million requests? That's how many adults are in Moses' rearview mirror (Exodus 12:37). A million stiff-necked, unappreciative, cow-worshiping ex-slaves who grumble with every step. Had Moses prayed, "Could you turn these people into sheep?" who would have blamed him?

Sheep. Only a few months before, Moses was in this same desert, near this same mountain, keeping an eye on a flock. What a difference this time around. Sheep don't make demands in a desert or a mess out of blessings. And they certainly don't make calves out of gold or ask to go back to Egypt.

And what about Israel's enemies? Battlefields lie ahead. Combat with Hittites, Jebusites ... Termites, and Cellulites. They infest the land. Can Moses mold an army out of pyramid-building Hebrews?

I will do what you ask ...

"Could you just beam us to Canaan?"

Moses knew what God could do. The entire Ancient East knew. They were still talking about Aaron's staff becoming a snake and the Nile becoming blood. Air so thick with gnats you breathed them. Ground so layered with locusts you crunched them. Noonday blackness. Hail-pounded crops. Flesh landscaped with boils. Funerals for the firstborn.

God turned the Red Sea into a red carpet. Manna fell. Quail ran. Water bubbled from within a rock. God can move mountains.

In fact, he moved the very mountain of Sinai on which Moses stood. When God spoke, Sinai shook, and Moses' knees followed suit. Moses knew what God could do.

Worse, he knew what these people were prone to do.

Moses found them dancing around a golden calf, their memories of God as stale as yesterday's manna. He carried the handwriting of God on a stone, and the Israelites were worshiping a heartless farm animal.

It was more than Moses could take. He melted the metal cow and pounded the gold into dust and forced the worshipers to drink up.

God was ready to be done with them and start over with Moses as he had done with Noah. But twice Moses pleads for mercy, and twice mercy is extended (Exodus 32:11–14, 31–32).

And God, touched by Moses' heart, hears Moses' prayer. "My presence will go with you. I'll see the journey to the end" (Exodus 33:14 MSG).

But Moses needs more. One more request. Glory. "Show me your glory" (33:18 NCV).

We cross a line when we make such a request. When our deepest desire is not the things of God, or a favor from God, but God himself, we cross a threshold. Less self-focus, more God-focus. Less about me, more about him.

"Show me your radiance," Moses is praying. "Flex your biceps. Let me see the S on your chest. Your preeminence. Your heart-stopping, ground-shaking extraspectacularness. Forget the money and the power. Bypass the youth. I can live with an aging body, but I can't live without you. I want more God, please. I'd like to see more of your glory."

Why did Moses want to see God's greatness?

Ask yourself a similar question. Why do you stare at sunsets and ponder the summer night sky? Why do you search for a rainbow in the mist or gaze at the Grand Canyon? Why do you allow the Pacific surf to mesmerize and Niagara to hypnotize? How do we explain our fascination with such sights?

Beauty? Yes. But doesn't the beauty point to a beautiful Someone? Doesn't the immensity of the ocean suggest an immense Creator? Doesn't the rhythm of migrating cranes and beluga whales hint of a brilliant mind? And isn't that what we desire? A beautiful Maker? An immense Creator? A God so mighty that he can commission the birds and command the fish?

"Show me your glory, God," Moses begs. Forget a bank; he wants to see Fort Knox. He needs a walk in the vault of God's wealth. Would you stun me with your strength? Numb me with your wisdom? Steal my breath with a brush of yours? A moment in the spray of the cataract of grace, a glimpse of your glory, God. This is the prayer of Moses.

And God answers it. He places his servant in the cleft of a rock, telling Moses: "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.... I ... will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen"(Exodus 33:20,22–23 NKJV).

And so Moses, cowering beneath the umbrella of God's palm, waits, surely with face bowed, eyes covered, and pulse racing, until God gives the signal. When the hand lifts, Moses' eyes do the same and catch a distant, disappearing glance of the back parts of God. The heart and center of the Maker is too much for Moses to bear. A fading glimpse will have to do. I'm seeing the long gray hair of Moses wind-whipped forward and his leathery hand grabbing a rock in the wall lest he fall. And as the gust settles and his locks rest again on his shoulders, we see the impact. His face. Gleaming. Bright as if backlit by a thousand torches. Unknown to Moses, but undeniable to the Hebrews, is his shimmering face. When he descended the mountain, "the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face"(2 Corinthians 3:7).

Witnesses saw, not anger in his jaw, or worry in his eyes, or a scowl on his lips; they saw God's glory in his face.

Did he have reason for anger? Cause for worry? Of course. Challenges await him. A desert and forty years of great challenges. But now, having seen God's face, he can face them.

Forgive my effrontery, but shouldn't Moses' request be yours? You've got problems. Look at you. Living in a dying body, walking on a decaying planet, surrounded by a self-centered society. Some saved by grace; others fueled by narcissism. Many of us by both. Cancer. War. Disease.

These are no small issues. A small god? No thanks. You and I need what Moses needed—a glimpse of God's glory. Such a sighting can change you forever.

In the early pages of my childhood memory, I see this picture. My father and I sit side by side in a chapel. We both wear our only suits. The shirt collar rubs my neck; the pew feels hard to my bottom; the sight of my dead uncle leaves us all silent. This is my first funeral. My nine years of life have not prepared me for death. What I see unnerves me. Aunts, typically jovial and talkative, weep loudly. Uncles, commonly quick with a word and joke, stare wide eyed at the casket. And Buck, my big uncle with meaty hands, big belly, and booming voice, lies whitish and waxy in the coffin.

I remember my palms moistening and my heart bouncing in my chest like tennis sneakers in a clothes dryer. Fear had me in her talons. What other emotion could I feel? Where do I look? The weeping ladies frighten me. Glassy-eyed men puzzle me. My dead uncle spooks me. But then I look up. I see my father.

He turns his face toward me and smiles softly. "It's okay, son," he assures, laying a large hand on my leg. Somehow I know it is. Why it is, I don't know. My family still wails. Uncle Buck is still dead. But if Dad, in the midst of it all, says it's okay, then that's enough.

At that moment I realized something. I could look around and find fear, or look at my father and find faith.

I chose my father's face.

So did Moses.

So can you.

Chapter Three

Divine Self-Promotion

Moses asked to see it on Sinai.

It billowed through the temple, leaving priests too stunned to minister.

When Ezekiel saw it, he had to bow.

It encircled the angels and starstruck the shepherds in the Bethlehem pasture.

Jesus radiates it.

John beheld it.

Peter witnessed it on Transfiguration Hill.

Christ will return enthroned in it.

Heaven will be illuminated by it.

It gulfstreams the Atlantic of Scripture, touching every person with the potential of changing every life. Including yours. One glimpse, one taste, one sampling, and your faith will never be the same ...


God's glory.


Excerpted from IT'S NOT ABOUT ME by Max Lucado Copyright © 2004 by Max Lucado. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

More than 120 million readers have found inspiration and encouragement in the writings of Max Lucado. He lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy, in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the people of Oak Hills Church.

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It's Not About Me Workbook 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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marybeth46 More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read. I have not read any of Max Lucado's books so this is a first for me. I am pleased with this book. Very well written. Very easy to read and stay focused on. This book challenges us to look at our human existences in a different light. The glory of God. Lucado challenges the readers to ask, "How can I bring glory to God through this situation?" rather than, "How could God let this happen to me? This book reminded me. to see my challenges and trials in my life as ways to show God's Glory. We should be a light in a dark world. We should honor and glorify our creator.
Amy Bastien More than 1 year ago
This book requires the companion CDs. I didn't realize this until after I started reading the book. It is very difficult to read and follow without the CDs. Very disapointed I wasn't told this before I paid for the book.