you’re so vain. you probably think this post is about you.

self·ish adj: devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

Sometimes I hate that the word “selfish” gets such a bad rap in our society.  In just the last week, I have had several conversations with different individuals who expressed a need to focus less on others and take care of themselves for a time.  And always, that statement was followed up with this disclaimer, “but I feel so selfish doing that.”  Since when did it become selfish to practice self-care?

Maybe in the Western world where the argument is easily that the majority of our visible population is quite self-consumed, those who (at least in word) try to distance themselves from the self-obsessed are consequently terrified of being label selfish.  “I’m not one of THOSE people.”

And maybe it’s a Christian thing.  After all, didn’t Paul say “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4 New International Version).

Except the next line states, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”  And, if I recall correctly, Jesus drew away from people to have God attend to to His needs constantly during His earthly ministry.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35).

So, is it selfish to draw away for a time?  To address inner needs versus other needs?  Given Christ’s model for us ~ absolutely not!  I like to think of it this way:

If a friend lends me something, say their favorite sweater.  I’m going to take caution when wearing it that I don’t spill on it or stretch it out.  I’m going to wash it after using it and return it in the same condition, if not better, than when it was given to me.  Someone said this to me yesterday in reference to I Corinthians 6:19-20:

“If my physical body’s really just on loan to me, shouldn’t I do my best to take care of it so at least I can return it in the condition in which it was given to me?”

So, I’m choosing to be selfish for a bit.  To focus on aligning myself with God’s desire for my life and to soak up His care for me.  Funny enough, it’s much harder to be controlling that way!  I think it’s quite easy to suggest that the definition of selfish turns negative with that ending statement – “regardless of others.”  And maybe this is where I’d like to adjust the definition.  Perhaps it should instead read, “while trusting that God will continue in His provision for those He created.”

P.S. For those of you that get the connection, I’ve got a great story about Carly Simon. Ask me sometime if you’re interested!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to you’re so vain. you probably think this post is about you.

  1. garyb says:

    I love that song! It’s stuck in my head now for the day 🙂

    Great post Debbie! May I add that Jesus not only left to be alone, he also HID from the crowd. John 12:36

    Sometimes I think we have to hide to assure our alone time with God will not be interrupted. And this can be very difficult not only because our pride may tell us we are so needed for others, but with technology now demanding our immediate response, it’s easy to lose out on this time of “solitary”. Culture tells us that great service and products means they are always available and at our beckon call. Such a tide to swim against at times…

    • So true G! I remember went I went to S. America and left my cell phone behind, it took me almost a week before I finally stopped hearing it “ring” all the time. Thanks for the verse and the reminder to hide.

  2. Sarah M says:

    Well, I’m pretty sure you know what I think but just in case you somehow missed it, I couldn’t agree more! Oh, and I love your title. Clever!

  3. jamesgorton says:

    I would totally agree with the other comments on selfishness. I might add that when Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment he stated two and the second one is to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus wanted and wants us to love ourselves in the same way we love others. Great post

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s