I decided to be selfish. In my car, on a rainy day, burned out and fed up, I decided to be selfish. And it was exactly what I needed.
And what I didn’t.
It was one of those decisions that I thought would relieve me of stress and get me back on track. And to be honest, it was also me screaming, “Forget you!” at the world. Ahem. Or maybe something a little more offensive than that, but shall not be repeated.
Being selfish meant I said no to just about everything and everyone, and I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. And for a while, selfishness worked! It decreased my stress and increased my time.
But the joke’s on me.
Selfishness isolated me from the people who wanted to and could have helped me. It masked the problem, not solve it.
And maybe you’re thinking, Duh. Everyone knows you shouldn’t be selfish. Nothing good can come out of it.
Well, I learned something about selfishness that has turned out to be a very good thing. I learned to be selfish in my relationship with God.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “selfish” as “having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people.”
If I’m selfish with my relationship with God, I have no concern for the needs or feelings of other people regarding my faith. My selfish faith means you can’t bribe, guilt, or force me to stop loving God, worshiping Him, or going to church. My selfish faith means the ministry does not come first. God and my relationship with Him comes first, because if that was to suffer, everything suffers.
My selfish faith means I love God selfishly. My relationship with Him is not dependent on emotions, people, circumstances, time, and money.
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Mark 8:36)
I learned the hard way that my relationship with God needs to stand strong on its own because if it does, I will be okay no matter what happens.
My selfish faith means I try to do this:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.“ (Matthew 22:37-38)
as best as I can even if other people tell me to stop. Jesus also said:
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:39-40)
Which means that as I am selfish in loving God, I need to be generous in loving others (including myself).
That was the part of selfishness that I got wrong. Selfishness for yourself makes you lose love for others. It hardens your heart and pushes you into isolation. It’s a long road out of this kind of selfishness, but there’s hope. There’s this:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
Being selfish in loving God brings freedom! All will be given to you: love, peace, hope, healing, community, and all the things God can give (and He can give anything and everything!).
Most of us would be quick to say we’re not selfish, and I dare hope that’s true. But maybe you are where I’ve been. Out of pain, hurt, or anger, you decided to close yourself off. You decided to be selfish with your love, friendship, ambition, dreams, time, whatever. Then friend, I pray for love to overwhelm your life because there are people around you who want to help and can help you through this tough time.
Whatever season you’re in, may you be selfish in loving God and find the freedom from putting Him first. Including the freedom to love others generously!