Lift Up

Perusing through the channels a few weeks ago, hubs and I stumbled upon an interview on PBS that captured us.

The subject? 112 year old Walter Breuning of Great Falls, Montana—the oldest living man in the United States.

Mr. Breuning has lived through 21 presidents, the Great Depression, Civil Rights Movement…and many historical moments. It was fascinating to hear this centenarian speak of his experiences.

But there was one exchange that really struck us.

The interviewer, William Marcus of Montana Public Television, asked, “How would you counsel future generations to be a part of their country?”

Mr. Breuning responded, “Everybody learns from life what’s going on. And if they pay attention to everything that people do, especially helping people, that’s one big thing. A lot of people think they’re born for themselves; I don’t think that. I believe that we’re here to help other people all the way through.”

To help other people all the way through.

Sometimes it feels like it will take me 112 years to realize—I mean truly realize–this truth.

This truth is part of the substance of the very last chapter in our study of Jennifer Rothschild’s book: Self Talk, Soul Talk.

Our last chapter is entitled, Lift Up: Praise the Lord, O My Soul.

Through a couple of sweet stories and a revealing heart exam, Jennifer reminds me of my natural tendency toward selfishness–how I tend to think of myself and those I love before others.

After that tight clenching feeling of conviction, I truly felt Jennifer’s desire to reveal to me that God’s plan is better.

“…I can say for sure that the most miserable times of my life have been when I was the most self-centered, self-aware, and self-promoting. Those were the times I told myself, It’s all about me.”

“Selfish people are not happy people,” she tells her sons.

And I have to agree.

It amazes me how God lines up truths to drive a point home for me.

I am reading about this very thing in the book, Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland, our Higher Calling Book Club book.

In this amazing story, the author states (about creating a jobs training center and community arts program for an at-risk community), “…I didn’t do any of it out of selflessness. I did it to be myself. I did it to enrich my own life, to deepen the quality and meaning of my own experience. I did it because it was a part of what I had to do if I genuinely wanted to be me.”

The author recognizes that giving of ourselves, as Jennifer puts it, “…keeps us connected to God’s creativity and compassion.”

Jennifer hints to us that lifting up others and lifting up praise to God just may be the secret to happiness.

“When we lift up others we grow smaller. And ultimately, as we lift up God, we find unlimited satisfaction in our own lowliness.”

Jennifer quotes one of my favorite C.S. Lewisisms: “…A proud man is always looking down on things and people and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

Amen? Amen.

I must say that I’m a little sad to say goodbye to this book study. It has been a precious walk with you, my friends. Thank you, Lelia, for hosting us and spurring us on. And thank you so much, Jennifer, for being an encourager of our souls.

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  1. says

    Hey Laura,
    My hubby and I happened to see that very interview! That man was amazing! We both said that we wouldn’t mind living to be 112 if we could be as on top of things as he seemed to be. We were so impressed!

    Have really enjoyed your journey through Jennifer’s book! I got a lot out of your travels!


  2. says

    Wise, wise man! This has been a truly wonderful book, and that’s just from me peeking through your window as you blog about it. I have to add it to my cart for my next grab for books!

    I can say that every period of new growth in my life is also marked with a woman of God that God has placed me beside to serve, to be of assistance. It has happened several times over the past years and we always enjoy friendship that lasts after the period of service! Not too mention that opportunities we get right in our own families, above all!

    Lovely thoughts, Laura, as always!

  3. says

    Hi there!
    As you can tell by my post, God got me with this chapter too. It is amazing how He has been using this book, and the one before it, to directly coincide with some of the things that have been going on in my life.
    He is so good.
    Helping others along to the end…
    The trick for me is looking out for others besides those I love… keeping my eyes open for others around me who need help, besides those in my immediate family… thanks for mentioning that selfishness could extend to our loved ones, and not look beyond them to others not in our immediate circle.
    I hope that made sense…. i am really tired! 🙂

    Love you… and if I do get a video of me singing, I will see if my husband can get it cut for me and get it up on you tube! The concert is the end of April, so it may take a bit! 🙂

  4. says

    Wow, what a lesson to pass on! The “selfish people are not happy people” statement is so true. We think that by protecting our rights and establishing limits we are protecting our happiness, but that it faulty thinking, (as I am learning myself!) I appreciate the thought you have put into these posts; they have been encouraging.

  5. says

    The book arrived today! Thank you SO much. I’ve already read the first chapter, and I’m looking forward to picking it up when the boys are back in bed. I really love the way Laura writes… I will send her a note to let her know it has arrived. It’s already made an impact so I know it is a book God meant for me to read, ‘channelling’ it through from you – bless your heart!

    I’m going to take a look at that interview too – my, what a grand age! And thanks for all that you shared about the book. I didn’t read it, but have gleaned so many wonderful notes.

    We’re off to soccer now. I got engrossed in reading you posts, and forgot where I was!!!;) Arh, so, we’ve been late before 😉 🙂 N xx

  6. says

    This book has been made into a video-driven series with Jennifer. I’m thinking about doing it in the summer in prep for our Fall Bible study. I’ve so enjoyed reading everyone’s comments regarding the book.

    I want to be a “lifter” of hearts and heads to Jesus. I’m just about over myself. Taken a long season, but I’m working on it everyday.

    To see Jesus and him alone. That is my hope and goal for my everyday.

    peace to you this week~elaine

  7. says

    Hi Laura,
    I enjoyed your account of the old man and his wisdom. Isn’t God’s timing awesome! He loves teaching us through other Christians, life experiences and his Word.


  8. says

    Great reminders- when we take our thoughts off ourselves and put them on others, we no longer consider our own needs. I think it is God’s divine design.

  9. says

    I must agree with the old man, he certainly has a point. I often think of this when reading how much of a community those in the new testament had, they really looked out for each other. The challenge is of course to look outwardly and forget ourselves for a moment.

    Thanks for sharing from this book Laura, it seems like an uplifting read.

  10. says

    What a great piece of advice from that gentleman. I know I’m still learning too.

    I have to tell you Laura, that I get lost in your blog. You always have so many wonderful posts.

    I’m so glad you decided to share your writing instead of pursuing the hairdresser idea. You are truly gifted. Your book is on my list to read.

    Love ya,

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