I’m tired of thinking about myself.

I realize the irony in the title of this blog. I’m writing a blog about how thinking about me drives me crazy. So in acknowledging that something makes me crazy and gets on my last nerve, I am indeed thinking about myself, and since the object of my frustration is myself, I am doing it even more. I get that. And that’s why it’s ironic, and that’s why the scope of this entry has changed since its inception in my mind.

I was going to write a blog cataloguing my frustrations and how tired I get with all my selfish thoughts and then ask for help. I was going to ask all of the other people in the world how they do it – how can everyone else be so selfless? But that’s when I realized a couple of things:

  1. You only think everyone else is selfless because you’re so impossibly selfish that you compare everyone else to yourself and you belittle yourself just so that you can be a superlative – Most Selfish.
  2. There’s no process to it – it simply involves death. [more on that later.]

I’ll try to fly through my thoughts as clearly and logically as I can [despite the fact that I am indeed irritated to the point of incoherence.]

I hate thinking about myself. The spirit wars against the flesh, says the Bible, so that I do not do the things I want to do (Galatians 5:17.) My spirit is selfless. My spirit realizes I was (and am) so completely useless without the help of Jesus that I can’t possibly be more special than anyone else, and while I am valuable and loved in the sight of God, that doesn’t puff me up because I realize that God so loved the world (not just me) that He gave Himself. My spirit wants other people to know that, too. But my flesh is selfish. My flesh is bent on sin. My God-formerly-damned self can’t stop thinking about itself. Sin was once defined as humanity bent in on itself, and boy, is that ever true. I think sometimes overtly selfish thoughts like:

My hair looks sweet today.

I hope people like it when I sing this solo at church.

I love having a beard.

I’m such a good athlete.

I hope people love when I play with kids and think how great I am with them.

Or sometimes the really ironic ones, the humble-brags (or brag-humbles) like

I hope people think I’m humble for driving an old car and think I’m wise for not owing on it anymore.

I hope people think I’m humble because I don’t have a lot of cool stuff.

[side note {and this may tie in later} but do you notice how many of these relate to others? I’m writing off the cuff so maybe this’ll make sense later.]

But sometimes it’s a lot more covert. For me, this is my isolation. It’s the fact that sometimes my schedule has me driving a lot by myself and spending time at home by myself when I can’t afford to go out and do social things. And so inevitably, since I’m the only one around, I think about me. I start thinking about my life, I start thinking about what I want to do, and suddenly my priorities concern only myself. Sometimes this feels inevitable, and with how unpredictable my schedule is, I can’t always make plans because things may come up, not to mention that I sometimes work different hours every week.

The reality is this: I want to spend more time with others. I want to meet friends for coffee during the week. I want to have people over for dinner (I’ll have to talk my brother into cleaning the place up) and I want to be involved in the lives of others to a deeper extent than I am. It has, at times, ached my heart that I can’t do this, or maybe that I just don’t do it.

My hope (and simultaneously my concern) is that things aren’t the way they are due to a lack of desire, and solely due to circumstance. Because as I said earlier – sometimes my own interests conflict each other. Sometimes I desperately want to have dinner with friends, but sometimes I’m burnt out on work, or I’ve been away from my own home for days on end and I just want to stay home. Sometimes I think I just haven’t met anyone to meet with and disciple or study the Bible with and then other times I think I just haven’t looked hard enough [surely they’re out there.]

And I realize [or I at least hope] that I’m not the only one who wrestles with this. I think that we are our own worst critics [I have a definite propensity to be mine] and so we’ll inevitably think we are in the wrong. One of my least favorite things to hear is “you’re too hard on yourself,” because I never think I’m hard enough. I think, “if I were harder on myself, things would change. But I’m not that hard on myself.” And I blogged about this a few weeks ago – I often don’t know the effect I have on other people. Maybe I really don’t come off as selfless at all. Maybe I do everything I can. I have no idea.

But my conclusion is this: there is no process to becoming selfless. There is no formula, save one thing: die. I believe that all sin is selfishness manifested in different ways: greed and lust are selfishness of what I want; pride is selfishness of how important I am; lots of sin is related to entitlement (thinking I should be able to do whatever I want) and so inevitably, life with God is to be the complete opposite. I am reminded of Romans 6:11 which beckons the believer to consider him or herself dead to sin and alive to God. The two are inseparable. I can’t be dead to sin and dead to God (that is, I cannot be my own savior,) and I can’t be alive to sin and alive to God (that is, God isn’t tolerant of my sin, I am not His savior and I am not doing Him any favors.)

The answer to the sin problem and the selfishness problem is death to sin. Letting it die. Giving it up. Burning it at the stake. Or more specifically, seeing it nailed to the cross in the form of Jesus Christ, who became my sin so that I could be set free from sin. That’s the only way I can truly discover what it means to be selfless.

Lord, this is my greatest struggle. I’ve heard it said that a gospel mentality puts an end to relating every experience to myself, whether that be comparing myself to others or desiring others or simply exalting myself, and that’s what I want. I know that the only way I can discover what it means to be selfless is to embrace the gospel and apply the gospel to my own sin-prone heart. So that is my prayer today, God – let the scope of my own life be so much bigger than myself. Where I am unrestricted by any other circumstance to share my life with others, let me not be restricted by my own wretched selflessness. Oh, and forgive me for all of the curse words I wanted to use (and the ones that I did) while I worked through this. Make me more like You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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