Any time you take up a challenge to reflect more of the heart and love of God, the enemy rushes in with arrow pointed, ready to aim. The very day I issued that challenge to myself, was possibly one of the hardest days I have had in a long time. I was physically ill and emotionally drained and no matter what help I needed from those around me, I wasn’t getting it. Their actions seemed to say. “You don’t matter.”
I refused to have a pity party because after all that would be selfish…and I was doing my best to keep from that. But, I talked to God a lot, asking how I might turn my feelings around into something selfless for someone else. Only, my motivation seemed more out of spite than love, and thus, the wicked cycle of selfishness hit my heavy heart again. I cried out to Him, “This is hard!”
And, I realized. It isn’t for Him. He is in His very nature selfless love. For Him to give it all for us is His joy not His challenge. The challenge resided in my flesh not my spirit. I had to control my flesh. Not an easy thing to do. In fact, it’s a very hard thing to do. But, He was there…selflessly loving me through each step of painful reflection.
We are selfish.
It’s killing us.
The root of every divide lies in the “me first” mentality. And we might see this, maybe silently admit this to ourselves…but we don’t change it. Honestly? – Because we don’t want to. We say “I love you..” but what remains unspoken is “..when you do this… while you act like that…because I need something… that’s what I’m supposed to say… if I’m happy.”
I have always hated the saying “You wanna have your cake and eat it, too!” Well heck yeah…how are we gonna enjoy it if we don’t eat it!? But when we love selfishly it’s a pathetic picture…(You English buffs will relate) It’s Miss Haversham in her molded wedding dress sitting at a lavishly spoiled wedding table. The feast is there…but in our desire to please our selves and what we want, we guard it and mourn it at times, but never eat it. Love lived selflessly doesn’t sit at that table, but stands behind it offering slice after slice and taking a bite here and there, smearing your cheeks with icing and offering extra servings. And guess what…? Love like that doesn’t run out, and it doesn’t feel like a chore and it doesn’t drain you. In fact, it fills you as you fill others.
I guess the challenge in selflessness this week has become, “True love can’t be selfish.” By definition it is not. So how do we show true love? What does that look like? I’ve gotten some glimpses. How about you?