Rev. Dr. J.N. Manokaran served as Junior Engineer with Public Works Department (PWD), Tamil Nadu Government and God called him to ministry. He served as missionary in Haryana from 1986-1997. Since 1997 he has been based in Chennai and is involved in training leaders. He has done his theological trainings with B.D., M.Th. and Ph.D. He has been trained in Coaching and Mentoring, Church Management from renowned global leaders. Presently he serves as trainer and consultant with several organizations like: Trainers of Pastors International Coalition – India, Glocal Leaders Network, Christian Institute of Management, National Prayer Network, Chennai Transformation Network, Mission India and has trained leaders from several organizations like ICGM, Intermission, Mission India, FMPB, IEM, TTM, World Vision, IPC, Christian Assembly, NSM, JMA, ..etc. He has authored several articles and three books: 1. “Christ and Cities” 2. “Christ and Missional Leaders.” 3. “Christ and Transformational Missions”.View all articles by Dr. J. N. Manokaran
I was one of the panelists to interview a girl for a job in a Christian organization. She was about 40 years old, single and not much educated. Her story made me to feel pity for her and also got annoyed that she was so blind that she never thought about her life or future. Being the eldest among siblings, she felt responsible for her younger brother and sister. Parents did not earn much to bring up all the three children giving them good education. She worked hard, sacrificing her studies to put her younger brother and sister into college education. They studied well, got job, got married and left home. Mother was sick and the girl had to take care of her for few more years and she also died. This girl is left alone with her father, with less education, less income and no hope for future; and now the married brother and sister do not even bother to speak with her.
She became victim of her own ‘Martyr Complex’; that she did not think about her life when she ought to have and lost opportunities in life. She did not even have ‘Self-interest’ as she thought, Self-Interest and Selfish-Interest are one and the same.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’(Matthew 22: 37-38).
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalms 139:13).
The order ordained by God is: First God, Second Self and Third Others. Loving God with all heart, mind and soul gives you right relationship with God, meaning and purpose for life.
You need to have ‘Self’ interest and not ‘Selfish’ interest.
Self interest is to love yourself, i.e. accept what you are. God has created and designed you even when you were in the womb of your mother. That means God has a definite in purpose in your life and should not miss it at any cost.
Your body is the temple of Holy Spirit and you have been chosen to be His Representative or Ambassador in the world. Your physical being is the best according to God’s definition and should not bothered about opinions of others. Learn to allow God’s love, plan and promise shape your thinking and attitude towards life rather than allow human opinions to define or distort your self-image.
‘Self Interest’ is to protect you from loosing your vitality, energy and harm yourself by having a robust ‘self-image’. If ‘Self Interest’ is not there, you will get ‘martyr complex’ – to suffer for unproductive purpose. In this suffering is magnified instead of purpose. There would be many who would be benefited by the ‘martyr complex’ a person, but the person is not rewarded. There is always needs around you, and sometimes emotionally or sentimentally you are attached and feel responsible to solve that. It may not be God’s will that you solve all the world problems. God has ordained certain functions, role and purpose to fulfill in this life. Trying to write your own job description for life is tragic, God has a job description for each person’s life.
Your personality is unique. Psychologists may define it as four types and make a set of combinations. They are helpful tools to understand your own strength and also weakness. It is essential to build on the strength and develop ‘survival skills’ so that you weakness does not shipwreck your life or marriage or career.
Self image is built when you discover your natural talents, aptitude and capabilities. These shape your career and would decide how successful you would be in life. Not only discovering, but also developing the talents, aptitude and capabilities by training and practice.
God gives opportunities or open doors to move forward and become successful. These opportunities come from unexpected quarters. You have to be mentally alert, spiritually agile and street smart to grab those opportunities. Some body said, “Opportunities have wings, they fly away!” They do not come again and again, but rarely. When you experience such small wins, it boosts the self-image to aspire, attempt and accomplish more.
Your resolutions should be: “I accept myself as I am as God has created me in such a way with a noble purpose. In fact, I can celebrate my own life as God’s gift, my body as God’s specially designed customized gift. My personality style is God’s unique gift and need not worry about what I do not have. Discovering my natural talents and spiritual gifts would be my priority. Upgrading my skills to enhance my effectiveness and usefulness in the society would be my long term goal. Using all opportunities would be my life goal, so that I do not slack behind in the life of race.”
Discover your personality type by doing a personality test. It is available free in Internet. List your talents, aptitude and capabilities and examine whether you use it optimally. Or plan to use, develop those. Find out what training you need to grow and develop and draw a long-term plan to do it.