It's All About Me
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.
— Romans 15:1-2
The pastor’s words rang from the pulpit. Each word pronounced distinctly and clearly.
“We live our lives as if it’s all about me, it’s all about me.” What does that mean? What does that look like?
When we are thinking it is all about me, we might sound like God wants us to be happy (I remember the painful/haunting words my father blurted to my sister and me as he left our mother for another woman – “I know God loves me and wants me to be happy”). Or we might insist that God wants us to serve others in ways that we find most comfortable (at times I have tried to design His call for my service to fit into my present circumstances). Or we might call out, “Please God answer my prayers, I need… (and the list of wants is quite long). Lord, please protect those I love (another long list). Lord, please help this person realize this and change (according to what works for me). Lord, I deserve to have (feeling entitled to what others around me may have).”
My ears absorbed the sound of the pastor’s voice. Startled, my mind tossed the concept around for a second or two, like the little ball traveling in the pinball machine. I felt a conviction that this might really relate to me, but I promptly convinced myself that my own lifestyle is filled with caring for others. After all, I try to meet others needs before my own. I want to serve. I find ways to serve. Yet, it seemed like a lot of my sentences had an “I” in them. Could it be all about me? What I want or think? Maybe the selfishness that has a hold on my heart is masked by self-righteousness. My heart longs to be more like Christ.
The sermon concluded. The service ended. The car ride home was without incident. But the words – it’s all about me – kept coming to mind, convicting me over and over. Does everything I do have an underlying selfish/self-serving motive?
I don’t think I am selfish. That old Sunday school song from childhood floats through my mind – JOY, Jesus first, yourself last and others in-between. I live this way, don’t I? I serve others, I often put others needs before my own wants. I agree to do things that I think others would like to do, even if it isn’t my first choice. I work hard to keep order in my home and in my ministries. I try to make others comfortable. Could it be possible that I do what I do to feel good about myself? Could all my motives be all about me?
As I kept pondering the exhortation by the pastor, it began to become clear – it really is all about me. So many of my sentences do begin with the word, I. Even prayers begin with the word I. I realized that “it’s all about me” is not just a weakness or a flaw in character. It is my human condition, one I cannot change or improve, but one I can be aware of. The “I” can become “Him”. My human condition can only find true satisfaction as my need for a Savior becomes clear and constant, and that is why Jesus came for them. “It’s all about me”, is in each of us.
Years have gone by since that pastor’s sermon. My intimacy with Jesus continues to develop through the study of His Word, studying His character, corporate worship and the preaching from His Word, and His work in my life. His love and grace were extended to me, an ‘all about me’ person. He uses my husband, our children, their spouses, our grandchildren, our church family, and the people He puts in my path. There are still times I fail, and I struggle. There are still times I believe my opinions constitute what is right, what is best. At times I am defensive. When my expectations are not met, I can be sad. There are times when the choices others make that don’t feel right to me, hurt. I am so grateful that I can run to Jesus.
When I start my day remembering that any good in me is all about Him, when I begin my day remembering all I have been forgiven, I can better forgive others. When I start my day praying that I can be true to my purpose in life – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever – when it is not “all about me”, on those days, it is a good day.
Whether therefore you eat or drink, whatsoever you do, do it all to the glory of God.
— 1 Corinthians 10:31
Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
— Psalm 73:25-26
Lord, please help me to surrender my wants and desires to Your Will. Please help me to be intentional in making choices and responses that honor You. Please help me to always give You the glory, not take it for myself.
— By Sherry Bitler, Guest Writer