This Is Where I Get To Be Selfish
Before I begin, please understand that I'm an imperfect being who is learning each day. My thoughts and my positions are not yours, and I love that because we are all growing through our experiences. You and I are subject to see life in our ways and encourage each other through healthy conversations to broaden our perspectives.
Oh man, this is going to be an exciting post.
As a believer, as someone who grew up in a Christian household, I was always taught that selfishness is not from the Lord. Whenever I wanted to do or act selfishly, I have always reminded the fruit of the spirit. But…
As an adult, I think it's time we reexamine this whole Christian shouldn't be a selfish thing. I know I know, the pastor told us many times that we ought to be generous with our time, money, and energy. That's not what I'm here to question because I agree. However, I've learned that sometimes we can become too generous that we risk the most important things God has given us; peace, energy, and time.
I had been struggling for some time to understand how I could choose to love and live like Christ but also prioritize myself and my time with Christ. It's not an easy thing, trust me. When I would prioritize others over myself and solely focus on those around (even to the point of jeopardizing my happiness and my energy), I would feel a disconnect from Jesus and from who I know I am. (Now this didn't happen every time but mainly when it came to when I was too generous to those God wanted me to love from a distance.) Though, when I would choose to prioritize myself, I would get flack from others around me stating that I was selfish, playing the victim card, and sometimes being told that I make everything about me.
I've had to grow some tough skin since then to understand something that Maya Angelou gave the world:
Loving people should always be a priority of ours as believers, but anything that threatens our peace, time, energy, and relationship with Christ must go. This is where we get to be selfish. It's alright to tell people to back it up if it threatens your relationship with God. In fact, the best person to teach us this is Jesus himself!
Remember when he told the disciples that he was about to die at the hands of his enemies for the people? Oh you know what it's the Word of God and I'm not about to butcher it so let's read the real thing:
'Then Jesus said to them, “Tonight all of you will fall away because of me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” Peter told him, “Even if everyone falls away because of you, I will never fall away.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” “Even if I have to die with you,” Peter told him, “I will never deny you,” and all the disciples said the same thing. '
'From then on Jesus began to point out to his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned and told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.” '
See what I mean? Jesus doesn't just say this once but twice when he brings up the fact that he will have to go through pain to complete the mission God has called him to finish. At both times, Peter (oh Peter, how we like to bring up your name for lessons, smh ) tries to vere Jesus away from the very mission he was brought on earth to complete because of the perspective and the lack of understanding Peter had.
What am I trying to say? Being selfish is not a bad thing, and I'm calling it selfishness because that's the way the world will see it. In fact, if you choose to focus on who God has called you to be, what he has exclusively shown you, and spending time in the presence of the Lord, then who cares if you're selfish?!
Yes, we are to love all people and care for all with no form of discrimination but at what expense? It's not healthy nor is it the will of God (at least not for me) to pour so much into others and neglect allowing God to work in you.
If you had told 10-year-old Abigail that I would be saying these, I would've looked at you real funny. I thought that it was appalling and wrong in every way that people would ever choose themselves over others. But experiences teach you that you're not always right and that there is still more to each story.
There is a healthy balance in loving others and loving yourself. You can love others and be there for them as the Holy Spirit guides you to. Though you can and should allow yourself to be filled spiritually, emotionally, and mentally by God by being selfish with your time with him.
I've come to set some new boundaries:
Boundary 1: My Jesus time is not up for negotiation by you or myself
Boundary 2: What the Holy Spirit guides me to do is more of a priority than your opinion, sorry not sorry.
Boundary 3: I must love on myself just as much as I love on everyone else. Caring for others and caring for myself go hand in hand.
Boundary 4: Do not under any circumstance allow anyone to threaten my peace, time, joy, and energy!
Boundary 5: If it takes away from Jesus and me, then it must go.
Boundary 6: I can, and I will be selfish for Jesus! I do not need to apologize for it. Comprising my relationship with Christ is a no-no. Case closed.
We must learn to prioritize everyone even when they don't deserve it because we don't deserve anything God has given us. Love should always be an instinct of ours. However, we cannot love others if we do not love ourselves. You cannot pour from an empty vessel so what use are you to others and your health if you are not taking the necessary time and allowing God to help you discern when to be selfish for your spiritual life.
So by the power invested in me (oh who's getting married), I permit you to be selfish for you and Jesus! Now let's get on with that self-care mojo!
Until next time…