I have a lot going on at the minute. I’m in the middle of a very difficult season in my life. The most difficult. I’ve written about that before, and I’m not going to go over it all again here.
There have been times when all I’ve really been able to think about is me, my situation, my past and present and future. Me. Me. Me.
It’s important I think about myself. It’s important I seek to deal with some things, and I am trying to do that in a few deliberate ways. But to adopt a purely “Me, me, me” attitude, while tempting, is not a good thing.
And there’s an important word that acts as a corrective for me: “You”.
I know, I said I was going to talk about “You”, not “Me”, and I will. But first, why is it that it’s so easy to get stuck on “Me”? Well, I’m selfish. We all are really. For most – if not all – of us, our default is to see the world with ourselves at the centre of it. Everything matters in terms of how it relates to me.
That’s my nature, my default, my base instinct.
God isn’t like that. He is all about relationship, it’s at the heart of who He is. God Himself, in Father-Son-Spirit relationship. God in relation to the world, giving Himself to us. He is not selfish. But I am.
We weren’t made to be. We were made to love one another, to relate, to give ourselves to each other and to the world. I wasn’t made to be selfish. But I am.
And especially when things are hard, there’s a tendency to default back to selfishness, back to my broken nature. I can feel that if anyone has an excuse to be self-indulgent and inward, it’s me!
Me. Me. Me.
I’m going to level with you. There’s something I don’t understand: where on earth does belly-button-fluff come from? How does it get into my belly-button? I didn’t ask it to, I don’t want it to, but it does.
And here’s the key: unless I’m very conscious to find it and get rid of it, it just stays there.
Let’s be clear. I’m a hygienic person. I wash and I’m clean. But if there’s part of my body I very rarely think about it’s my belly-button. I don’t look at it often, it doesn’t get in the way, and it serves no purpose. Fluff could hang around there for days, and build up, if I didn’t actively find it and get rid of it.
So can my selfishness.
If I’m not careful, I just get more and more selfish, more and more bent in on myself. I have to root it out, combat it. Actually I don’t have to do any of that. Not on my own. I have to let God help me root it out and combat it.
And that’s where this important word, this important weapon, comes in:
“Me” isn’t bad, but if it’s all “Me” and no “You” then that is bad. In my thinking, and so in my speaking, what is the balance?
And who is the “You” that I’m talking about?
It could be anyone. It could be the “You” of a friend, who I need to choose to care about, to ask about their lives, instead of just expecting them to care about mine.
It could be the “You” of a total stranger, who I choose to invest in even though I have no reason to believe they can help me at all.
It could be the “You” of that person I struggle to like at all, who I choose to search for the best in instead of comparing my best with their worst.
It has to be the “You” of Jesus, the only one who should be at the centre of my life, who I choose to love more than I love myself.
Day to day, am I combatting the fluff of my selfishness, by being actively other-focused? Am I more interest in “I think…” than “What do you think?” Do I care more about telling you about my day than hearing about yours? Do I fall into the trap of thinking my situations trump yours?
Do I honestly let “You” be as important – if not more – than “Me”? And I guess I should also ask, do you?