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Turning your gaze away from yourself | This Pilgrim's Progress | Lorraine Yeung

True Rest Tuesday #0013 | About Turning Your Gaze Away From Yourself

It’s amazing how God can bring us into prayer. When you turn your gaze away from your narcissistic self and look around, it’s amazing to see that God is doing in and around you!

A couple of items to praise God for this week is simply what He has done in me. I know I sound like a broken record now, but it’s amazing to be freed from the anger and identity issues I’ve been struggling with. I feel like I can suddenly see what’s going on around me because my gaze is no longer fixed at myself and is looking more outwardly towards my Heavenly Father and His image bearers.

seeing God work in my church body

Being four and half years into our church plant, we’ve seen a lot of families being called away to other places, and have lost a lot of core people. But in the last few weeks, as I look out on to His local body around me, our church, and I’m amazed at all the new families and individuals God has been bringing into our community. We have had people from the lower mainland, and the States feel called to join us on mission, individuals who are interested in starting a relationship with Christ and His family, and I’m starting to see hearts being transformed.

Turning your gaze away from yourself | This Pilgrim's Progress | Lorraine Yeung

seeing God’s work in our Youth

I’ve been co-leading our youth group with my cousin for nearly three years now. It has been a big learning curve that seems like a lot of toiling; tilling the ground with very little fruit.

There is one kid in our youth group, who by the way is an excellent thinker. I remember asking our youth one time as we’re going through the Youth Alpha Film Series, whether they believed Jesus was a historical or mythological figure. This particular youth believed Jesus to be mythological and saw science as an argument against faith and religion. I’m not sure where he is at now, but that youth is now responding to some of our discussion questions with some incredibly well thought out understanding of the deity and sovereignty of God. As well, that kid is discussing God, no longer in a hypothetical, but in a “God is…” kind of way. I’m continuing to pray that Jesus would make Himself real to that kid.

Turning your gaze away from yourself | This Pilgrim's Progress | Lorraine Yeung

seeing God’s work in my ministry

There’s another gal in our church who’s been coming out for maybe two years now. I remember when I first met her, she seemed very shy and almost did not seem as if she wanted to talk to anybody. For whatever reason, she kept coming out to our gatherings and spent some time just hanging out with us. She’s another incredibly intelligent lady who understands all kinds of deep science and mathematics, like string theory, and the “God-particle” theory. In our past conversations, she discussed how she felt science disproved a Creator and things like that, and our conversations were very stoic and were a little disjointed and awkward.

Now, I see her blossoming as well as our friendship, as well as having some giggles and great exchanges with her, which is incredible if you were to know her story. In my most recent conversation with her she now explains to me how when you move deeper past the “pop-culture” of science into the real deep science, she tells me that all of it points to a Creator.

seeing God’s work in my friendships

I have another dear friend whom I’ve been walking with for the last three or so years. She would say I’m her friend who disciples and encourages her; I would say she’s a darling friend who mothers me. In our ups and downs, I would say that I have tried to play her functional saviour and tried to be the Holy Spirit to her, which led me to a meltdown. But at the Holy Spirit has urged me to pray for her and her family instead, I am blown away by the work of sanctification, maturing and conviction the Holy Spirit has given her. I’m astounded by the faith and wisdom she is growing in the Lord.

Turning your gaze away from yourself | This Pilgrim's Progress | Lorraine Yeung

seeing God’s invitation to fight in prayer

As I turn my selfish gaze away from myself, I’m beginning to see needs around me, and instead of tripping over myself to help, God has invited me to be a part of their healing through prayer. As I turn my gaze away from myself, I find myself more available, (but just as equally busy).

I can’t tell you opportunities I have missed to celebrate in the fullness of someone’s joy when God answers a prayer that you were not praying for. And then there are crazy awesome times to celebrate in the fullness of joy when God answers a prayer that you were praying for, and your affections for God are stirred.

Turning your gaze away from yourself | This Pilgrim's Progress | Lorraine YeungA glimpse of the fights in the trenches

Spiritual attack is to be expected when the Kingdom of God begins to collide with the kingdom of darkness. For whatever reason, I seem to ignorant or naive to the war I am in.

This week has been a week where I felt the weight of dealing with a demonically oppressed individual, and in the light and mercy of God’s truth, could only find rest and safety from it in Him. For whatever reason, that individual is in my life for a reason and God’s purpose. I ask that my God would deliver them quickly, that they might be returned into the fold.

Do you sometimes struggle with narcissism? When you’re free to turn your gaze away from yourself, what can you see God doing? I’d love to hear your stories.

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  • Heather Faria

    Thank you for the reminder that when we turn our gaze from ourselves, we really see Him at work!

    • So true, thanks for stopping by Heather, hope to see you again!

  • Rebekah vanEttinger

    Gosh, this was such a timely post. I have definitely been there, and can honestly say am still there. God recently convicted me of this self-centered thinking and how un-Christ-like it is. Thank you for your honesty about this. It’s encouraging to know that if we lift our eyes to God, all of the things that consumed us will be lifted away and will be dealt with in their proper times and ways.
    It’s also really encouraging to hear about the growth of your community and relationships. :) I love to hear about God moving between people and personal interactions.
    Thanks for the post!

    • Thanks Rebekah!

      Yes, it’s quite wonderful when we can look away from our dark selves and in towards Him and His light. So encouraged to know God is showing you things as well.

      I’ve been so wrapped up in me that it’s been a LONG time since I noticed all that God is doing in others and around me. It sure feels like a fruitful time right now, hoping to be able to share more of what He’s doing.

      Thanks again for visiting Rebekah, I always cherish your thoughts and words :)

  • Olivia Migenes

    Yes, absolutely…I was praying about this just this morning. I don’t call it narcism but selfishness. That I keep turning my eyes to myself and the my so-called issues that are really light in compared to what other people go through, especially those in my church family. One of the things that turned my eyes inward into myself was my singleness but now as I lose that, or at least put it in its proper place, God has been showing me that being available to others is such a blessing! Being able to pray at a moment’s notice or go hang out with a friend.

    I think narcissim/selfishness can be a trap easily fallen into for creatives as well. I notice that with my blog and wanting to attract people and repeatedly must remember I am writing for an audience of One and if it blesses others than amen!

    I pray that as you keep your eyes focused on Him, you’ll celebrate more and more what He is doing in your life and THROUGH your life! God has you perfectly situated in what He is doing for such a time as this…

    • That’s super neat. Yes, I remember you mentioning how God has changed your heart and revealed some truths in your blog. Very cool, and so glad He’s bought you to a place of appreciation and contentment over you singleness. (He knows how long it took me :) )

      You totally have a valid point on narcissism/selfishness when it comes to creatives. I really have to fight the self-idolatry and self-glorification too. Thank you for being so honest, I’m glad I’m not alone in that too. And yes… you’re so right in writing for the audience of One.

      I’m trying to find a healthy balance – part of me wants to build readership that I might be able to one day make a little income through this blog, and the yet I ought to be remain faithful to the one who is actually providing, (and not trying to control the building on my readership myself).

      Thanks for your prayers Olivia, and always for your time and support.

  • Courtney Maffett

    Yes! I feel like I see it in almost everything I do. In those moments I see the Lord is revealing my heart’s motives and they are about me and my glory and I actually get angry and frustrated, think “Courtney, get it right. Fix yourself.” But he immediately steps in with the Gospel and reminds me, “You constantly, in all things, need me. You can’t save or fix yourself.”

    It’s a hard truth but such a sweet reminder.

    • :)
      That sounds like the same voice I hear when I get frustrated! It makes you really grateful for the Holy Spirit eh?

      As I look back, I see the same patterns of selfishness and narcissism returning, but then as God is slowly sanctifying and maturing me, I am a little quicker to recognize the Holy Spirit turn my heart away from myself and back to Him. :)

  • what a great post! :) it is so crazy how much our perspective can change when we focus on others and what God is doing! it’s so easy for me to become so self absorbed, but when i focus on Jesus i can instantly feel a difference within myself!

    • Thank you Robyn.
      Yes, the difference is crazy awesome – like the difference of pointing the camera at my navel and pointing it at the sky :) It’s like I’m almost blinded by the shock of all the light coming in to my eyes :)
      Stoked that Jesus is making a difference to your everyday :D

  • Matthew Gaither

    Very encouraging. I am overjoyed at how God is working all over the world to accomplish His purposes. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Matthew!
      Thank you, I’m so glad your were blessed by it. I get super encouraged too hearing individual stories too, so if you have any, I’d love to read them :D

  • Alyssa Santos

    I love the stories you shared about the people you are working with, journeying with. I think we’re all selfish, really, and I’m so thankful that the Spirit of Christ working in us helps us to see and understand and have the courage to live out “where there is less of me, there is more of Him.”

    • Thanks Alyssa, it’s been really neat to finally being able to all of it.

      Yes, I quite agree, the Spirit really does quite a marvellous work – I’m learning to lean on Him and trust in Him more, to pray and ask rather than to try and fix – (trying to get out of God’s way) :)