I can be covetous, I worry about money, I am self-indulgent, I am often unhappy & discontent. Whenever I begin to feel any of these things, I focus & obsess over it. I dwell on what they have that I haven't got. I start writing out unrealistic budgets & get in a funk when I realize how "poor" I am. I think about how I am "friendless" and my life never goes as planned. I become depressed at my life being the "complete opposite of what I had planned". If I ever feel a twinge of guilt over these selfish and wrong thoughts, I say to myself, "Stop think about that. Get over yourself." and I'll insert some cliche like, "Think about all those starving orphans in Africa" or something. That doesn't help. You can't just snap your fingers and be selfless & satisfied with life. And, a moment of silence in honor of orphans rarely truly changes your perspective in the long run & doesn't do a hill of beans worth of good for them.
I read this expert form a blog post today and I had an "Aha!" moment.
"When you start to feel . . . do. For example – when you start to feel scared because you don’t have enough money….find someone to give a little money to. When you start to feel like you don’t have enough love. . . find someone to offer love. When you feel unappreciated, unacknowledged . . . appreciate and acknowledge someone in your life in a concrete way. When you feel unlucky, order yourself to consider a blessing or two. And then find a tangible way to make today somebody else’s lucky day. This strategy helps me sidestep wallowing every day."
I feel like this is such a beautiful approach to taking the focus of of me, myself, & I. It's putting into action these verses:
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."
"For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you. "
"And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ "
I love it because because when the devil tempts me to give into self pity I can throw it back in his face and use his temptation to sin as a prompt for me to go and bless others. I love it because it gets me pumped about fighting my sins. I love it because it gives me hope & reminds me that His strength is made perfect when I am weak. I love the idea of hacking my sin to death with defiant action. I. Just. Love. It.
Also, it made me think of one of my favorite quotes by Anne Frank:
True dat, Anne.
I'm feeling a couple of these things today and I'm going to go & do something about it.