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Miranda Writes: Im Into Me . . . and I Love It!




by Omar Miranda



A hhh, summertime in Georgia! By my estimation there should be absolutely no sinners left in the state after they get a mild taste of what hell will be like! Wow! It’s hot, I’m talking about sweating-while-you’re-toweling-off-right-after-a-shower hot! But for the last three days God has mercifully been giving us a reprieve from the hellish heat and been sending windy, rainy days. Of course, these freakishly heavy rain showers we’re getting are the direct result of incredibly heavy rainfall from Florida all the way to Mississippi and have been causing riptides, flash floods, and other serious and devastating problems . . . come to think about it, maybe it’s not God that’s been sending these things our way—but that’s a topic for another time.

I just read the most fascinating study about the kooky world of social networking. Apparently, people love to talk about themselves. Yeah, right, we all knew that.

An interesting phenomenon happens during adolescence. It’s called “imaginary audience.” Here’s a good definition:

“[The] belief that a group of followers exist who constantly watch and judge [the teen’s] every move. The belief arises from the larger concept of adolescent egocentrism. An egocentric adolescent believes that wherever [they go], everyone around [them] is as interested in [them] as [they are] in [themselves]. [They] also believe [their] ‘audience’ is continually commenting on [their] actions and appearance. It’s like being a celebrity . . . except no one is actually watching.”1

Another way of looking at it is that teens think everything is about them―all the time.

I’m sure you’ve experienced the following situation. You’re in a room with a group of people, and someone says something you can’t hear, everybody laughs, and then one or two people look your way. What‘s your first thought? Come on. Tell the truth. You’re thinking, What did they just say about me? I’ve seen people either shrink away like a mouse, totally embarrassed, or I’ve seen people become like a lion and get in someone’s face and have to be physically separated from the person they thought was saying something negative about them.

Take a quick read of this:

“Researchers at Harvard have gotten to the bottom of why so many of us are compelled to share our every thought, movement, like, and want through mediums like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram, and Pinterest. In a series of experiments, the researchers found that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same sensation of pleasure in the brain that we get from eating food, getting money, or having sex. It’s all a matter of degrees, of course, (talking about yourself isn’t quite as pleasurable as sex for most of us), but the science makes it clear that our brain considers self-disclosure to be a rewarding experience. This may help explain recent surveys of Internet use that show that roughly 80 percent of posts to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook consist simply of announcements about one’s own immediate experience.”2

Did you catch that? Drum roll, please: we love to talk about ourselves! So much so that we’re addicted to it.

The apostle Paul looked down through time and saw our culture, and this is what he wrote: “You can be certain that in the last days there will be some very hard times. People will love only themselves and money. They will be proud, stuck-up, rude, and disobedient to their parents. They will also be ungrateful, godless, heartless, and hateful. Their words will be cruel, and they will have no self-control or pity. These people will hate everything that is good” (2 Timothy 3:1-3, CEV).3

I would say that Paul nailed it. How about you?

In Romans 1, Paul again writes about people who refuse to respect and worship God as God, and so He lets their minds go the way that sinners’ minds ultimately go: inward and downward. Selfish people become even more selfish and self-centered. But that’s not what God wants for us as Christians, is it? I mean, how can we offer something better to the culture if we’re wrapped up in ourselves 24/7/365?

God wants people—especially Christians—to have a correct perspective of who they are: His created beings. Only then can we do what we’ve been put on this earth to do: glorify God (boast about Him) and spread the good news of salvation. Paul, paraphrasing the words of Jesus in the golden rule, writes in crystal-clear words:

“Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God’s Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us” (Philippians 2:1-7, CEV).

So ultimately, what does this mean for us as followers of Jesus? It means that we need to be more focused on doing good for others and making sure that we meet their needs before we meet our own. It may mean praying and asking God to help us get out of our own way so we can serve others.

Let me ask you this: Did God just bring somebody to your mind? Can you think of a project in your neighborhood or city that God wants you to be a part of? Maybe God wants you to focus more of your money, time, or talents at your church to help not only sinners but saints as well. I don’t know, but what I do know is that once you and I begin to purposely take the focus off ourselves and purposely focus on others, we might actually grow to enjoy it a lot more than being so “me-focused.” Only then will Jesus’ prayer, “God’s will be done and God’s kingdom come,” begin to happen one person at a time—starting with you and me.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor

Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

1http://tweenparenting.about.com/od/behaviordiscipline/a/DefImaginarAudience.htm.
2http://articles.latimes.com/2012/May/08/business/la-fi-tn-self-disclosure-study-20120508.
3Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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