What should I wear out tonight? I need more sleep. I really feel like a smoothie. I hope Adam comes home soon. I wonder if anyone has liked my Facebook status?
me. me. me.
I don’t know about you, but I think a lot about myself and all the things that (have the potential to) affect me. I worry, wonder, ponder, think, ruminate. And I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Sure, self-preservation is probably just part of being human, but I know deep down that me, me, me, is not the way I was intended to spend my days.
For the last few weeks I’ve been reflecting on my self-centredness as I’ve been reading The Meaning of Marriage, by Tim Keller and I’m only a few chapters in. So far it’s authentic and a very interesting examination of marriage – firstly from society’s point of view and then digging into the meaning of marriage according to the Bible.
There can be no doubt that marriage exposes our sinfulness, our selfishness, who we really are. Married friends counselled us with this advice before we got married and we nodded and smiled. How right they were. The ups and downs on the marriage journey have brought to light ugly parts of my character that I barely knew existed.
The book has put words on a page for my own struggles with self-centredness (guess that’s almost ironic) and the ways that this has brought difficulty to us.
Self-centredness by its very character makes you blind to your own while being hypersensitive, offended and angered by that of others. (p.57)
Yes. Blind. How many times have I thought “He’s being selfish…Why doesn’t he think of me?” It’s almost ironic.
Every day offers opportunities to pursue our own gain or that of others. One Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I had my usual to-do list – baking washing and grocery shopping, and probably other wishful ideas in my head. But Adam needed me to help him make his music video.
I’m not going to lie, I said yes to helping because on some level I knew it was right but for the first half an hour or so I wrestled with anxiety about not doing my things. By the end of the session, I knew I had made the right call. We struggled to understand each other at times, but it was lots of fun and we had this rare opportunity to get outside and wander around our area and create a story together. The fruit of that afternoon (and a few others) will be public in the not too distant future, we hope! Keller writes (p 60),
Fulfilment is on the far side of sustained unselfish service, not the near side.
I’m pretty sure that joyful unselfish service is the key to authentic love. In the famous Bible passage about love, Paul explains to the Corinthians…
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
After four and a half years of marriage God continues to reveal my selfishness on at least a daily basis. Apparently, it goes to a whole new level when you have kids, so I’m glad to trust in God’s perfect timing for this and look forward to the ways it may refine and grow me anew!
This is how we are to love – by being others focused and it is Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is the ultimate picture of what this truly means.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
So what about me? It’s not about me, it’s about God. Stay tuned for Part 2…