Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Forgive my slight absence… we were able to travel during the holiday. Phew! Four kids in a van for a LONG drive… crazy and fun.
A couple of days ago, while playing with my 1 1/2-year-old daughter, I asked “What’s your name?” to see if she knew how to respond.
She even pointed to herself. Try again. “Hannah, what is your name?”
“Me!” points to herself again.
Mind you, this child DOES know her name. She answers when we call her name. She points to herself in pictures and says “Hannah.” Plenty of evidence that she knows her name.
But she also knows how to say “me.” And boy does she use it! She used to say “mine.” Now she says “me.” If she has one of her sibling’s toys and they want it back, she moves it as far from them as she can reach and says “Me!” with a pouty face. I’d love to correct her but I don’t much like hearing “mine!” either.
This whole situation reminded me of how people do not have to be taught selfishness. No one taught me to care about myself. No one had to teach me “survival mode” in desperate situations. It is all very natural. Rooted in the depth of the human soul and conscience, we are a people born to think of ourselves. I certainly have not taught my daughter to take what she wants without regard for who it belongs to or their feelings!
Fortunately, we can be taught to consider others. These two desires- loving others and loving ourselves, will always butt heads. Unless loving others somehow satisfied our own selfish desires, we will battle the tension of those two loves.
I’ve been challenged recently with my own walk of faith as well. I get excited over the little things that God does that seem to say, “I hear you” or “I know you.” I pray for blessing and health and favor and safety…. and for friends and family. But it struck me. How often to do I ask, “Lord, what can I do for YOU?” Instead, I’m thrilled by what He does for me. That is not entirely bad. Every parent wants to see their child’s excitement and gratitude over a thoughtful gift! In fact, parents can feel hurt if their child doesn’t respond with some glee.
But how nice it also feels to hear, “Mom, what can I do for you today?” or “Dad, tell me more about you.”
I can’t have a relationship with others or God if I am always so inwardly focussed. How I long to wake up and breathe “Lord, show me my day!” and then follow it sweetly! Or to wake up and naturally think, “How can I love my kids and husband this glorious morning?” Instead, I tend to wake up and think, “Already? Ugh! Just a few. more. minutes.”
I know my story is not necessarily yours. Maybe you do wake up and think of others right away (and sincerely, too. Not in regard to how others effect YOU. That doesn’t count! 🙂
But our stories will all cross over as they relate to our natural tendency to think of me, as my darling daughter so joyfully proves each day. And not just her, but my other three as well. Then again, I usually notice their selfishness because their behavior is impeding on what I want (i.e. a peaceful home!). Bring the selfish-people-total to SIX for our home.
What a beautiful thing, though, that we don’t have to succumb to our natural thinking. We have been given resources galore in how to deny ourselves for the sake of others. And not for our own glory, but for the glory of the One who equips us and guides us into the ultimate love gift: laying your life down for a friend.
Weed your way through my meanderings and decide today whether you want to live a life that is so inwardly focussed that you miss out on many good things or the deeply satisfying walk of setting yourself aside for the sake of others- and watching God meet your needs in the process!