Being wrapped up in oneself is not new. This attitude has been around for 6,000 years, and we human beings have made a habit of it. It seems that being overly preoccupied with self is a growing part of post-modern culture. We find that God foretold this “love of self” as one of the outcomes of a world gone wild—a world of peril and conflict where man’s selfishness will lead to his global demise.
Many of the times when we are confronted with change, most people tune in to their favorite internal radio station: WIIFM–What’s In It For Me?
Every good marketer knows that if a product is ever going to sell, the marketer has to answer the WIIFM question well. I know you intuitively understand this. The only reason you, a consumer will ever buy a product (whether it’s a coaching program, laundry detergent, or a laptop) is that you believe it will make your life better. You believe the value of the product matches or exceeds its price point.
To accelerate the WIIFM, marketers create discontent with what you have. Your current shirt (phone, fridge, or car) is not good enough anymore. It is too old, too slow, too faded, or too clunky and instead, you need a new one that’s faster, brighter, sleeker, and better. So, you buy a new one and all your problems are solved. Until next year. Then the manufacturers introduce a better version to the market and what you just bought is not too old, too slow, too faded, or too clunky. And the cycle repeats itself.
You are left feeling perpetually discontent and if not careful, broke. Nothing is ever good enough for long. And the discontent makes you feel empty. No job has quite delivered what you hoped for. Even your friendships can get old fast, well, what have they done for you lately. No church will be good enough, no group will be good enough and God will seem only as good as He has been to you lately.
If WIIFM has become your spiritual filter, watch out. Consumer culture has infiltrated our spiritual lives. We are always asking, what do I get by submitting to God? What’s the upside of humbly obeying God’s will? If I do something this hard, I’d better get something out of it! If I give up something that’s fundamental to my joy and fulfillment, I sure hope I get something in return. We’re all guilty of thinking this way. Have you ever read Psalm 37:4 and thought, I’ll delight myself in the Lord, and then I’ll get the desires of my heart? No, we usually focus more on getting what we want than on delighting ourselves in the Lord.
My friends, do you want to put to death the emptiness you feel each time? If you want to beat emptiness, find a mission that’s bigger than you. As long as you make life about you, you will experience one round of emptiness after another. I know what you are thinking – “Njeri, like everything worthwhile in life, this idea is very easy to understand but very difficult to live out. Virtually everything inside of me is telling me – if you don’t look out for me, who will?” You have filtered all your experiences; your learning, your relationships, and everything that’s come into your life through your own eyes.
I believe everyone has the potential to look outside of themselves – to find and fulfill a greater mission (Purpose, calling). There is a desire in each of us that calls us to want more, know more, and be more. You, my friend, are no different. You are searching for meaning. As you grow older something speaks to you from within you telling you that life is short and your search for meaning becomes a high priority.
If this is how you feel, then you are ripe to stop making YOU (WIIFM) your mission. A true calling is never about the person being called. It is always about helping others. A calling moves us from the center of everything in our world to a channel through which good things come. When you are called, you have an important role to play but it’s never about you.
Your life will never be the same once you know what you are called to do and are working to fulfill it every day.
You may be asking, Njeri, how then do I discover my Purpose/ calling mission in life? Join me next week as we step into this subject of calling.