Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.

Luke 6:38 NLT

 

I wrote about other-centeredness shortly before the world changed in the big way it has—before we started self-isolating. I knew I had to bring this topic back when I started feeling the early signs of depression bringing me down. Like so many of us, I had been spending too much time at home—not seeing anyone except my husband. I wasn’t exercising. By bringing my favourite coping strategy into play, which was to write this piece in the hopes of helping others, I did indeed start feeling better.

Years ago, when I led my Living Room group and raised church awareness about mental illness, I had frequent bouts of depression. What kept me going was other-centeredness. Anytime I felt symptoms coming on, I turned my attention to the needs of others. This was the opposite of the self-centeredness that naturally happens during depression.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t do this so people would think I was such a nice person. I helped others because I needed to help them. It was a survival technique. Well…it wasn’t only that. I also happen to like people and I want to serve God. While I lifted other people’s spirits, I lifted my own.

The world situation has changed dramatically since my Living Room days. Many individuals are for the first time learning what it means to be depressed. They will need the help of those who know—those who have learned how to help. They need people who understand and can have enough patience and compassion to be there for them. They will need people who know how to help themselves while helping others.

The amazing thing is what other-centeredness living can do for you as a giver. When we help others, our own stresses become easier to manage. When we lift up those who are feeling low and lonely, we’ll lift ourselves up as well.

Think of what this concept means to the world we’re now living in. This world with so many troubles. This world of lonely, fearful people. Think about what the collective other-centeredness of many people like you and me could do to bring healing to the places we live in. There will be healing for those who give and for those who receive.

marja