A running theme in my life over the past few years is selfishness. “Theme” is a cute word for it, in reality, it’s an addiction. God has been revealing to me more and more how this pervasive thought-pattern continues to grow in my life.
To be honest, I haven’t worked out this issue even a little bit, so it seems rather odd to be blogging about it. For some reason though, I feel compelled to write it down. Maybe it will help someone else realize their own selfishness addiction and repent before the Lord, or maybe it will be something I can look back on later and give God mad props for helping me conquer.
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (NIV).
I’m very familiar with this verse. Upon reflection, I can almost remember this to be the first verse I ever tried to memorize. While the verse is familiar it clearly hasn’t taken root in my life. I know this because recently I’ve noticed thoughts, actions, and motives completely contrary to “humility” and “valuing others above yourselves.”
Here’s how I’ve been selfish lately…(I think I’ve just found the reason for writing this post. Publically admitting to some of these things is embarrassing and humbling. Maybe God is saying, “Well if you don’t want your grandma to read about it someday, then stop doing it.” Point taken God). I digress, here’s how I’ve been selfish lately:
- I wanted my husband to cook me breakfast the other day because I was a little sick and a lot lazy. So, I not-so-innocently asked, “Have you eaten breakfast yet?” It doesn’t sound so bad right? It could be interpreted as me wanting to know if I should add more eggs to my own cooking plans. But no, that was not my intention. Before asking, I found myself thinking of how to phrase this question so it was subtle enough to get my point across but strong enough to compel him to serve me (because being served is a basic component of my religious beliefs-sarcasm strongly intended). So much for “do nothing out of selfish ambition.” The worst part is, I caught myself thinking these thoughts and formulating this question to manipulate the situation, and I went ahead and asked it anyway because clearly–I have an addiction to selfishness.
- One day on vacation, I didn’t get to eat where I wanted to eat, and I cried real tears. I felt ridiculous the day this happened, and I feel even more ridiculous now writing it down. Cafe’s are my candy, in line right behind real candy. As we’re walking to the cafe I’m dreaming of finally getting the light lunch I’ve been craving for days. This lunch is also going to make up for the fact that the Coor’s Brewery Tour had no sampling options besides beer. Call me presumptuous, but not all brewery tourists want to drink beer. Give me a cider or something. I guess it’s a good thing I live in STL where the brewery has a range of drinks after the tour (this is not an endorsement of Busch over Coors– I dislike all beer equally). I’m getting off topic. The point is, I had felt slighted all day. Now I learn as we approach the door of this perfectly charming cafe, it will be closing in 10 minutes. No time to order food or anything. I’m heartbroken. I decide to walk in just look around but leave after thirty seconds because I’m starting to cry. That’s right people, I started to cry because the cafe was so cute, but I knew I couldn’t have it. Am I five years old? Why I couldn’t focus on the fact that everyone else in our group got to eat the lunch they wanted and just be happy for them is quite clear– I have an addiction to selfishness.
- Anytime I’m ready to go somewhere and someone else is not, I become annoyed and impatient. If you weren’t wanting to leave at the exact moment I was ready then why did you say you wanted to come? I did this to my siblings growing up, I do it to my husband now. My time is the true time. The problem is you never know when that time is. Is she running 30 minutes ahead of schedule? 5 minutes behind schedule? Because heaven-forbid anyone be ready before I am. My time is the true time because I’m addicted to my selfishness.
- I really do not want kids. Maybe it’s a phase I’m going through. Maybe it’s God’s call on my life. Maybe I’m not ready. Or maybe, I’m selfish. Kids require all your attention, all your time, all your love and all, okay most, of your finances. I am selfish. I do not want to share any of those things with more people. I’m being as honest as I can be here. I love children, deeply. I’ve always thought I wanted to be a mom, but I cannot imagine committing so much time and energy. Kudos to all the parents out there who love their kids and are willing to sacrifice everything for them, my own included. Human kind would literally cease to exist without your selflessness. My main motivation for not having children at this point in my life is because I’m addicted to my selfishness.
I wish I could end this post with some kind of encouragement about conquering this black hole of selfishness. As I said earlier though, I’m certain I’ve gained zero yards toward that goal. For now, I’ll pat myself on the back and tell myself, “It starts by admitting you have a problem.” Then, I’ll continue praying and asking God to show me how he would have me tackle this problem and letting him guide me toward that end.
In the mean time, if anyone is feeling brave, I’d implore you to think about your own selfish habits and consider “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”