Have you ever spent time looking for something, someone to confirm something to you, to validate you, to help you to just know that you are not alone? We feel, we bleed, we break, we try, we fail. We ask, we seek, we knock. Sometimes even when we do all things, we still find ourselves answerless and alone. We are still seeking, searching, only to find ourselves more lost.
Sometimes I find that all of the seeking that I have been doing to help me, to love me, to validate me has all the time been a wasteful search. I already have felt the depth of peace within and have enjoyed abiding in it, yet I try and find something outside to give me something close to that. I have honestly wasted so much time searching for that and it has always only ever brought me misery. And I mean like ugly-cry, self-loathing, people-hating, world-shunning, misery.
Because it always comes back to selfishness. When I focus on others I am filled, lacking nothing. In selfless service I am complete. In the moments when resentment creeps in, or uncertainty or sometimes just plain tiredness, or lack of motivation to give, I start thinking about me and how much I’ve been giving and how much no one else has a heart like me, or even cares about me, considers me, or notices my needs. My focus shifts and I end up ungrateful, entitled, selfish.
As a writer, or maybe just the type of writer I am, I like to write the good stuff. I want to inspire and when I find myself in these moments I feel anything but inspirational. And I wouldn’t be if I stayed there, thinking about myself or even worrying about my writing or what people might think about what I share.
Well, forgetful and human as I am, I do know one thing, I don’t have to be perfect, have a perfect life or present something perfect. That would not be me. I do know inside that when the waves of selfishness come to knock me off track and cause me to become self-minded, self-centred, there is pain, but there are also lessons and the lesson is this…
I am not here on earth to be served, I am here to serve. Kingdom living is different than how things seem to be logically. Christ’s path is heart-centred, love-focused, giving, serving. To empty yourself repeatedly and to die to self. It is not easy. After years of putting it into practice, I still struggle. I still wish that it could be any other way. Sometimes I want the recognition. I want to be spoiled and pampered and treated especially special. I want to be acknowledged and cared for more. I don’t want to clean the toilets and sinks again. I don’t want to have to cook or be counsellor, teacher, friend, wife. I don’t want to forgive again. I just want to be loved and feel super blissful, NOT uncomfortable, please God, not again.
In selfless sacrifice we are truly found. In the upside down version of life where Christ beckons us to selfless service, to pick up our cross and follow him, to die daily, to abide in him and bear fruit, that is where true peace and contentment is found. To forget what we want and to help someone else, we will find joy and purpose and our needs will be met. When we focus on others and stay grateful there is no way that we will be left wanting. When we shift our focus to what we are taught is the way things work, the way of the world and our sick selfish society always instilling us with messages of satisfying ourselves by buying this, or that, doing this or that for self edification and glorification, we will remain lost and longing.
It takes a continual effort to remind ourselves of the trap of this lie and remember what is true and how things really work. The more you love others and live as a representative of Christ/love on earth, you will feel loved and as though you have a purpose. The more you live for yourself, seeking after the fluffy, magical feelings of a permanent state of bliss found in the hands or others or the temporary pleasures of the world, the more empty and dissatisfied you will feel, even unto sickness or death by suicide for your lack of discontentment and frustration in why this world-principal of me first, selfishness is not and has not ever worked.
It is counterintuitive until you really, repeatedly and continually, consciously choose to serve, choose to not dwell in negativity with a self-centered focus and you come to really gain this wisdom and have it be the road map of your soul. You are not empty. Maybe you have forgotten and deep down you know what I am saying is true. Maybe today is the day that you dust off your soul and soak in the soothing waters of selfless service to remember who you truly are and why you are here on this planet for a limited time only.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:4-5
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. – Galatians 5:24
And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. – Matthew 10:38
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. – Romans 8:13
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. – Romans 7:4
“I’m convinced we have each been endowed with a beautiful heart. We may not always see it. We may not even believe it. But it’s a gift that came with birth and, every time we act selflessly, it grows a little.”
❤️ This post! I too am completely miserable when I am self-focused & Ego driven. I only have peace when I am focused on God & His love for me. All the material things in life will pass as so shall we, but God’s love endures forever. So while we are here, Do what you can, with what you have, whenever you can to make someone else’s life a little bit better.
I have been thinking along the same lines for some time now. Just this morning while walking with my husband, I asked him, “Why do my beliefs and emotions always have to be in such conflict?” I’m not sure if you’re into personality typing, but I’m a 9 on the Enneagram (Peacemaker) and an INFP for Myers Briggs. Both types tend to want to live an idealized, peaceful, slow life. I can try to say Jesus wanted the same thing, but I also know there was much sacrificial giving in there too. Fostering/adoption has been on our hearts for many years, and we actually started the process about 2 years ago and have been licensed for over a year now. We’ve been able to open our home to 18 different kiddos since then. But right now, I’m feeling very conflicted. I know everyone can only do what they’re able to do, and overextending yourself (especially long term) isn’t good for anyone. Through this process, my husband and I, and our kiddos have learned that none of us really do well with change (who does though???). While we have done well with some of the short term foster placements, the long term ones nearly broke us. Yes, you can get attached to the kiddos and that can be hard, but also many of their behaviors have been very different than what we’re used to. So after reading your post Tiffany, I’d like to get your take on us serving others: Should it always bring us joy, are are we called to be in the trenches with those less fortunate? We’d love to be able to adopt, but the fear of so much change, and so many unknowns is very scary! As a 9, making decisions is extremely difficult and unnerving. I want to trust God in all that we do, but sometimes it’s hard to know what path we should be taking.
But as always, thank you for sharing! I haven’t been online much, so it was nice to pop on and see you had posted something. 🙂
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Hi Diana! I wouldn’t call myself an expert on anything, especially balance and boundaries, but I am learning and have experience.
You said it was 2 years ago you felt inspired to adopt/foster and it sounds like you have done a lot with having 18 kids come to your home! That’s amazing! Do you think the time for it is over perhaps? I find in life I go through seasons and sometimes the inspiration for something seems to be gone and then I am going along and trying to still do the same thing that maybe the time is over for now. As in, I don’t have the energy to put into that thing that I used to. No fault of mine. nothing I did, no regrets, just that something else is now calling me.
I do believe from my experiences that serving does bring some pain sometimes but then I have to look at my reasons for doing what I am doing. If there is still a bit of resentment, doubt, fear, than I am still holding onto selfishness and not fully being sacrificial. In true surrender we lose ourselves and what we think and feel is irrelevant. When we know what it is we are called or inspired to do, we don’t ask how we feel, we just do.
I think it comes down to our will vs. God’s will. And only you in your heart know if it is your will or God’s to adopt. Maybe it truly is God’s will and that has you scared because sacrifices are a part of the deal. But when you truly know when it is God’s will you will be able to see any task through, no matter when the waves of anxiety, depression, fear, hit.
I have never gone through anything in life without first feeling a bit of fear. Fear seems to be able to rear its ugly head in every circumstance to some degree so I suppose that your matter is one of heart vs. head. Think back to 2 years ago and see if your heart hasn’t changed on adoption and fostering. Maybe it has. Maybe you are called to now do something else. If it hasn’t, face the fears and do what you know in your heart to be the right thing in the moment, even if it means dying a little bit more to self. We are never given more than we can handle and your strength will increase by God’s will to be able to get done everything you need to when faced with more difficult challenges in life.
Much love to you! ❤
P.S. I am an INFP and a number 3.