Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Road To Selfishness

"I really deserve some time to myself. I just want to go somewhere alone for a while! Do something exciting and fun!"

I've lived with myself a while. Whenever I hear those words running through my brain I know that I am traveling down the road of selfishness. It is not a pleasant road and I am not a pretty person on that road.

photo courtesy of mrpuen/

When I'm traveling this road I'm not speaking truth to myself. And when I'm not speaking truth to myself it is easy to start believing the lies of the enemy. Lies like, "My husband doesn't care about me." "My kids are in my way." "God's not doing anything in my life right now." These lies can tear apart the fabric of our home. These lies can destroy relationships. These are lies because they are directly contrary to the Bible. And I want to correct myself as quickly as possible when I'm going contrary to the Bible.

Women lived for centuries without this "alone time" that is so popular now. Alone time. Me time. Personal time. Whatever it's called it's really a call to get away from the "menial" work that wives and mothers do and find some excitement. Excitement that leaves me more discontented and unhappy when it's over.

 Ask Susanna Wesley about alone time. She had it. Yes, that Susanna Wesley. I distinctly remember reading (don't ask me where) that she taught her children to play quietly nearby while she prayed under her apron. That's the alone time she needed: time with Jesus. It's the alone time I need as well.

Jesus Himself left his work to spend time with God. It's never recorded that He laid around whining about wanting vacation or Starbucks. And Jesus had many more burdens than I do. When I search for escapes I grow more selfish and more discontent. The flesh is insatiable.

So what do I do when I find myself on this road to selfishness?
1. Confess my sin.  I tell God about my selfishness. He already knows anyway. And then I confess to other people if I'm sinned against them. (Usually my husband or children. Because I'm too fake to act that way to others, right?)

2. Ask for God's grace. Grace has been defined as "the desire and power to do God's will." Sometimes I don't even want to do what God wants. But I do want to want to do what God wants.

3. Commit to God's plan. When I start thinking about how nice it would be to go out to eat for dinner or go on vacation, I banish those thoughts. What does God want me to do? Commit to it mentally. Then get to work physically.

I've been training myself to ask "What does God want me to do right now?" instead of thinking about what I do or don't want to do. Telling myself "no" gets easier the more I do it, is just as hard each time as the first time. But there is satisfaction in knowing that I'm striving to please my Master instead of giving in to myself. There is satisfaction in knowing that I'm creating beautiful memories for my family instead of making an idol of me.

There are times for vacations and Starbucks and yes, even a few hours apart from our home and responsibilities. But those times aren't just any moment when I happen to not want to do what's before me. Instead I need to die to self and serve like Jesus.

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