He gradually makes his way to the podium; a visible limp slows down his steps. He shuffles the papers in front of him while his slightly
disheveled hair falls onto his face. When he speaks, his words are muffled, difficult to understand and you can see the audience shift carefully in their seats, leaning closer to the stage in an attempt to hear him more clearly. His first question to them is “What’s your problem?”
David is inflicted with cerebral palsy. This physical condition that hampers his ability to do a lot of things, like speaking and walking, might lead you to believe that he would be quick to complain or think that life is not fair. Instead, David has chosen to become a fairly prominent national speaker who shares his journey about the many obstacles he has overcome. Then he asks the audience, “What’s your problem?”
David’s rather poignant question usually catches the audience by surprise. He is challenging them to think about what is stealing their joy. In other words what are they allowing to get them down?
For most of us who function okay physically and mentally and who may also be financially blessed, what is our problem? Why do we sometimes continue to let life get us down and create great despair? Some of it may result from not knowing what else to do.
As I’ve thought about this myself, I think part of the reason is because we tend to focus on self way too much. I’m working currently with someone who is pretty self-indulgent. I’m trying to help him see that if someone else could switch places with him, they probably would because his life is pretty good. I want to challenge you, as I do myself, that if you find yourself thinking quite often that life isn’t fair, ask yourself David’s question, “What’s your problem?”
There are certainly many people today who are struggling financially and have valid concerns. There are also a lot of people who are doing fine, but complain about everything including the unfairness of life. Andy Stanley, a pastor from a large mega church down South, once spoke about the unfairness of life in a sermon. He said something along the lines of the fact that nobody really wants life to be fairer. That would mean a number of people would need to give up a lot of their own stuff to others to make everything more equal. He went on to infer that what we really want is for others, who don’t have enough, to receive more stuff and for everyone else to still keep what they have.
Today, instead of focusing on your problems, maybe you can reverse the process and think about what problems you don’t have compared to a lot of other people out there who have some great struggles. Be thankful for your blessings and consider what you could do to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Although we can’t change every life and we won’t be able to help every individual, start off the new year by seeking to help one person perhaps weekly or monthly. It can be as simple as sending an encouraging note or helping with a household chore. I’m not saying you shouldn’t address your own concerns, but stop focusing so heavily on your own problems and instead be more like David. Choose to use all the circumstances in your life and turn them into something positive.