1- I can’t do anything for myself (i.e. time alone, spa days, resting, ect.)
This one pretty much covers what I thought selfishness was. I thought that anything I did just for me was selfish and that meant that most of my time and energy was spent taking care of everyone else. This produced a very worn down and beat up Jess. It’s important for us to take time away just for ourselves! Taking time to rest and do something nice that’s just for you is not being selfish; it’s being healthy. Don’t forget, even Jesus took time away from the crowds to rest and recover!
2- I can’t focus on healing my own pain if others around me are hurting.
I still fall into believing this one A LOT! I want to care for, help out, and support the people I love, which is a fantastic desire! However, many times it led me to forsake my own healing in pursuit of their’s. This led me to an extreme breakdown as the people in my life watched with disbelief, “I thought she had it all together.” It’s a dangerous lie that Satan whispers to us because it takes a pure desire of love and twists it into something powerfully destructive. It’s important to remember that we cannot heal others unless we are healthy. I mean, you wouldn’t let a doctor with pneumonia treat you for your cold would you?
3- I must always put myself down.
For an extremely long time I believed that if I ever thought of myself as being good enough, even for a moment, then I was being prideful. This caused me to beat myself up, be harsh and critical of my mistakes, and sabotage myself when anything good came my way. This way of thinking makes us consumed with our mistakes and takes our focus off of others and God, which actually makes us more self-focused rather than less!
4- I can’t be happy with who I am right now because I can always be “better.”
Such a dangerous lie this is to believe! I struggle with it daily as the little voice inside my head calls me broken. It’s so easy to believe that voice as we hear it, not just in our heads, but also from every corner of our lives. Even our churches tell us we are “works in progress” that God is making more holy as we live lives more in line with Him. That is a lie straight from the mouth of Satan himself! It is FINISHED. We have been forgiven, perfected, and made holy already and our own works (even so called “righteous” ones) do nothing to gain us more with God; we already have His fullness! It’s ok to be excited about that! It’s ok to walk around with a smile on your face because you know that even though you don’t always do perfect things, you are perfect! That is not being selfish; that is living out of who you are in Christ!
All of these attempts on our part to be selfless actually make us more self-focused. Accepting these things as true makes us consumed with self as we begin to believe that we can gain our freedom, peace, and happiness on our own. We will always follow after what we believe will fill our emptiness, thus giving selfishness power through our perceived duties. Humility is not shown by approaching God with fear, but with confidence. Confidence that says, “I know I don’t deserve all of Your favor but I am so thankful that I have it!” Humility is being willing to give up our religion for something bigger. Humility is choosing to stop doing and to start being.
So my challenge to you is this: Just be. Be who you are and throw a party about it! Find hope and joy in knowing that the desire of God’s heart is that you let Him love you. Be free, my friends.