Tired of being a Self-Absorbed Human? Me too!

It’s a huge thing when we face the fact that we are (by nature) self-centered. This delightful malady has infected every person who’s ever existed-except perfect Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1:15-20) When we accept this as our reality, we understand ourselves better. In every relationship, our flesh instinctively asks, “What’s in this for me?” When a human is faced with hardship, the human asks “How can I get out of this pain?” An embarrassing revelation of this condition always seems to show itself through photography and our response to pictures. Who do we look for first? Ugh.
Many of us are tired-very tired of being self-absorbed. Self-absorption always promises happiness and delivers nothing. We spend hours on ourselves feeding the flesh and still have no peace. How can we be freed from this? Is it possible?
There is one way-we go to Jesus and say, “I cannot make myself different, but you can!” We give Him our inability and He gives us His ability. Only He can give us a new heart. (Ezekiel 36:26) We all want to be absorbed by things that deliver joy-serving God and serving people. We can be free to love, free to initiate, free to focus on other people, free to experience true peace. Because He is the great Exchanger, Jesus can give us His eyes that look out at others rather than in at ourselves.

(My kids and I laughed at this selfie pillow below! #airkiss #pretendlove #JesusGivesusANewHeart!)

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A Piece of Peace

IMG_2578Exhausted yet? Everyone is running right now. We are all breathless with wrapping up school years and starting to busily make plans for the next months. No matter what the age or stage, we are just a stressed people. What’s the source of our anxiety? (Ugh. No one likes that question!) More importantly, how do we organize our lives in a way that allows God to be God? I have to consistently step back to check my “control gauges”. No matter how we dress it up in spiritual language, our human nature will try to control all dimensions of life . It’s with conscious daily discipline that we sit before God and give Him our plans. I need to breathe, pray and ask myself certain questions.

1. Do I want God in control of my life? Do I truly believe He knows what He’s doing?

2. If my day doesn’t go my way or unforeseen circumstances occur, how long do I let myself struggle before I receive events as God’s hand?

3. Will I choose to stew through decisions or just release them to God? What Scriptures can I read to exchange my stress for His peace?

Here’s some Soul Food:

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

Philippians 4:6-7“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Proverbs 3:5-8“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and turn away from evil; This will mean health for your flesh and vigor for your bones.

Proverbs 16:2-3 “All one’s ways are pure in one’s own eyes, but the measurer of motives is the Lord. Entrust your works to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.”

What is it about His word that gives us peace? His power is here. He wants to gives us peace for our anxiety, wisdom for our confusion, and humility for our pride. When we lean in to Him, He responds.

Man Down

Can you imagine what the world would be like if Christians chose to pursue servant status rather than celebrity status? If we lived this way, the world would come to the church and say, “Why are you like this? Who changed you? Can we know this love?” I’ve been thinking on this for quite a while and have come to the conclusion that it is extremely hard (read: impossible!) to turn away from the flesh and its desire for glory.  It seems that the chief cultural issue that facing our generation is the same one that started at the tower of Babel. “We will make a name for ourselves!” (Genesis 11:1-9) Human nature always gravitates toward glorifying itself rather than God. This could be why we love celebrities-they are tangible objects of worship. What are we to do? How can we “humble ourselves before the LORD”?

  1. We acknowledge that the fact that our nature (by nature!) wants to be above or be equal to God. Something beautiful and deep happens when we see this in ourselves.  Take-away? We just admit it to the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.
  2. Ask God to show (this is tough!!) you where you crave attention, importance, and value. All of us have different gifts and personalities yet all of us have blind spots. It’s ugly-be ready to see this weed in the garden of your heart. He will help because He wants to do something new in you. Do you want Him to?
  3. Read Scriptures that portray Jesus as servant. The majority of Christians try to emulate Jesus without Jesus. You cannot push your flesh into the mold of obedience. If we do and deceive ourselves that we are “servants”, we unconsciously steal glory from God.
  4. Take a step of faith by believing His word. Recently, I was reading James 4:10 (and contemplating the fact that I CAN’T change myself!), I noticed that James says “Humble yourselves before the Lord …”. As usual, I told the Lord “That’s too hard , Lord. I can’t and I’ll never know how to do this!” Suddenly, a thought drifted past .”If I say humble yourself, its because you CAN through me. I don’t ever give you a command without the promise of power!” Bottom line? This is do-able and available!
  5. What are steps to “humbling yourself”? In human interactions, ask God to remind you to take the lowest place. In moments of self-absorption, ask Him to give you His strength to reject the idolatry of self. He will give this because it’s HIS will that you love Him first.  IMG_3358 #mandown