I hate being told I’m selfish. The thought of someone thinking I might be selfish makes me cringe.
I hate it even more to find out that I have been selfish. Running away from the truth seems preferable.
Deep down, I know I am self-obsessed to some degree. We all are. It’s hard to admit it and deal with it.
God designed us to worship Him, but too often we end up worshipping other things, other people, and ourselves, more than God.
Our sinful tendency is to want what we want instead of what God wants. We want to figure it all out rather than wait on God and trust that He’s already worked it out.
We want to be seen as better than. Whatever better than is better than.
To step forward in a new direction means swallowing the truth of self-will, self-focus, self-pride, and self-protection.
Do you feel a little anxious just thinking about it?
Accepting the truth of our selfish ways might translate to a message of identity no one wants. There might be an underlying fear that says what you do equals who you are. Or that you won’t be safe if you tell the truth. Or that all you need to do is try harder next time, because what’s in the past is in the past.
These are distortions and destructive beliefs that keep us living stuck. It keeps us reliant on on ourselves rather than God.
We can’t just try harder to do better the next time. We can’t pretend away our sin. We need to confess honestly and openly to our God who already knows. There is freedom ahead in accepting His forgiveness and trusting in His direction.
It’s time to untangle the beliefs that comes with mixed messages. The enemy would like it if we just ignored them and carried on with life, crippled from the freedom God has for us.
The enemy wants us to believe that we what we do is who we are. He wants us to believe that because we’ve done something selfish, we are irredeemable. Or that we need to figure out a way to just do better next time.
This conclusion leaves many a believer down the rabbit hole of defeat.
The message may sound like, “You’re no good.” “You’re just a selfish person.” And being selfish, means being bad. And being bad equals unloved. It’s not true.
For the believer who wants to get “it” right, it says, “You’ve failed. You’ll never get anything right. Why try?”
Even though I’m a fan of failing and getting up again, this is not a failure I want to endure. I want to be on the other side of perfection already.
The duty I wear, to carry my own perfection, becomes soiled and weighs me down.
Y’all, it’s so much better to wear the lighter burden of living in Christ’s perfection! We need the light of His life to change us. All the time.
Like many of us, I want approval from others. I also want to do the right thing as a Christ follower so I can get God’s approval. The realization that I am not perfectly honoring God sometimes buries me in guilt. Criticism or complaints about something I’m doing get met with disdain and defense. Bitterness quickens.
Pleasing God sometimes comes at the cost of appeasing others. When we do this, we might do things that appear selfless but in reality are selfish. They are more about protecting ourselves from bearing the pain of change.
What I thought I wanted more than anything is to please and honor God. What I didn’t know I wanted was to get everything right so no one would be displeased with me. So I wouldn’t be rejected. By refusing to consider the truth of my own selfishness, I refused to recognize areas of my heart in need of surrender.
One Day, I Got Brave
This knee-jerk reaction to defy selfishness created a wall of denial around my heart. It made it harder to humble myself and become less selfish. When someone told me was I selfish, it catapulted me into tears and a shaky mess.
As God kept working in me, he helped me say in response to another’s accusations, “You know what? There may be truth here. I may act in selfish ways. I can own what I do do that keeps me from living free in Christ. It doesn’t mean accepting an identity that isn’t mine to wear.”
One day, I said, “I can be selfish” in front of an intimate group of married couples doing intensive work.
I choked out the words for all the room to hear.
Others wanted to reassure me that I’m not, but it was important I confessed the truth about actions and motivations. I wasn’t declaring identity. I was freeing myself of pride so I could identify with the humility of Christ.
Oh God, I could use more of these moments. Give me grace and strength to confess.
What about you dear one? Is it hard to say the words? Do you refuse admitting selfishness because maybe it makes you feel less than (less important, less valuable) in some way? It cannot take away your value in Christ.
I’m on a journey to let God have his way in me more and more. Even when it hurts like heck, and there are days I’m wrestling with God in crazy ways, this path consistently brought greater peace, joy, and freedom. Maybe you are too.
The First Steps to Moving Out of Selfishness
I see your trembling kind of brave and it makes me smile. If it makes me happy, think of how much more it makes God happy. This kind of brave shows willingness to trust God and it’s the first step to changing direction.
He will give you the strength you need.
Choose to accept the truth of imperfection so you can rely on God’s perfection.
Admit the things that are hard to admit. God is strengthening you right now to get honest with Him.
Confess your pride, which is sin. Even if the word pride makes you think of what someone else does, and a problem they have. Admit if for yourself, because we all struggle with it.
For all the ways you trust self over your Savior, say, “Lord, I have acted this way.” He will free you so you will better know your value in Christ.
A Prayer for Moving Away from Selfishness
Father, I want my life to honor you. I love you and want to be led by you, but sometimes it’s scary to let go of all the ways I know how to do things. Give me courage and strength to take the next step of faith. Thank you for walking with me through my fears as faith grows.
Oh God whom I love, I need you. Reveal to me ways I’ve been focused on myself. I want to surrender these. I repent of putting myself or others before you. I choose to believe your way is better than mine and I’m taking one step today to act as if I believe it.
That step is: (fill-in-the-blank for yourself)
Thank you for strengthening me to move forward, even now.
- How to Know if it’s Self-Denial or Self-Devalue
- An Open Confession of a Self-Obsessed Woman
- (iBelieve article) Here are 10 Things Selfish People Always Do In Relationships (Original Title: 10 Ways You’re More Selfish Than You Think)
POSSIBLE FUTURE ARTICLES:
(if these sound interesting to you, please let me know. These could be video and/or blog content)
- What Self-Denial Looks Like as a Christian (It May Not Be What You Think)
- How to be Selfless and Have Self Worth
- When Selflessness is Actually Self-Protection and How It’s Keeping You From Living Free
I’m on a journey to let God have his way in me more and more. Even when it hurts like heck, and there are days I’m wrestling with God in crazy ways. This path consistently brings greater peace, joy, & freedom.