Monday, July 8, 2013

The Continuous Battle with Self

Great theologians and philosophers such as C.S. Lewis and Phoebe Buffay have spoken and written about this subject. (Yes, the Phoebe from the T.V. show FRIENDS.)  The subject I am speaking of is selfishness. Phoebe talks about it in an episode of FRIENDS when she is trying to convince one of the other "FRIENDS" that no one does anything out of pure selflessness. There is always the element of self and the desire to get gratification from helping others. C.S. Lewis spoke of it when he admitted that even in his writing when he was trying to glorify God, he was in a constant battle within that truly his writing was about himself and not God. 

This has been an area of great sorrow for me lately as well.  See, even as I write about seeking selflessness and humility it is about me. This drives me insane!!! My husband even had a dream about selfishness which was very vivid and real to him recently and he RARELY has dreams that he can remember. He dreamt that he came up with a great idea that touched thousands of lives. He had a dream job in which he implemented this idea and shared it all over the country. While speaking in front of a large crowd it hit him like a lightning bolt that this entire idea, no matter the good it was doing, was about him. He said he shot up from his sleep and couldn't sleep the rest of the night. He was so distraught over making sure that he doesn't live that life. The life where no matter the good that the world sees you doing, no matter how selfless it seems, it is really about glorifying and elevating yourself.

 There seems to be no greater tool of distraction or defeat than that of being consumed with self. It can keep us from serving and following God. It can keep us from relationships and friendships. It can even keep us from experiencing the most amazing gift of giving life to our children. Our love for ourselves is the deepest, strongest, yet most toxic and destructive love there is. 

I find myself sabotaging relationships so many times because I feel the need to talk about myself. In my desire to share or tell someone that I relate to their issue, I end up making it all about me. Humility is such a struggle. My nature is to be talkative. Many times in chattering there is no room for humility.  

So what are we to do about this overwhelming problem of selfishness? Honestly, I have no answers. I am thankful that I do know the one who has all of the answers but I also get so caught up in myself that I don't seek Him for the answers. I get caught up in my own mind. I get lost in feeling sorry for myself or trying to figure out how I can do more to make it feel like I am truly giving my life to God. When in all reality He wants a REAL relationship with me. He doesn't want me talking about it on a blog or flashing a biblical status or quote. He wants me broken and bent, on my face before Him seeking and listening.  Why is that so hard?  He has ALL of the answers if I would seek Him. My worst enemy and my biggest obstacle is myself.

I end with something from Mother Teresa that I "happened" upon. (The quotes mean I think God helped me "happen" upon it as I have been struggling with all of these selfish thoughts.) "There is a very holy priest, who is also one of the best theologians in India right now. I know him  very well, and I said to him, "Father, you talk all day about God. How close you must be to God!" And you know what he said to me? He said, "I may be talking much about God, but I may be talking very little to God." And then he explained, "I may be rattling off so many words and may be saying many good things, but deep down I do not have the time to listen. Because in the silence of the heart, God speaks."