For most of my life I have lived in denial.
As a kid the word “selfish” was tossed my way a time or two. The way it was said made it clear such was not a praise of encouragement but an accusation and indictment; so while knowing it was true, I denied it vehemently and defended my honor.
I rolled through my teen and young adult years interpreting life in a way that enabled me to continue to deny my me-ism.
I’m just tired excused the selfishness that led to being impatient or unhelpful.
They deserved it excused the selfishness that led to harsh words.
I don’t like meeting new people excused the selfishness that led to rudeness.
But then I had kids and the walls began to close in on me. The me-ism didn’t just appear at this time — it was always there, but now I was faced with its reality on an hourly, and even minute by minute basis.
But so much of it, in this context, could also be rationalized away — I am indeed exhausted so my bad attitude about being woken up again by a newborn is not sinful. I am absolutely famished, so my anger at having to change a diaper blow-out while my lunch sits there uneaten and getting cold is reasonable. This is a new transition and I’m still adjusting is a great cover for the me-ism that sees a child as an impediment to what was once freedom to come and go as quickly as I pleased.
Thankfully much of the time I was able to overcome the me-ism, or at least mask it enough to do what I ought to do despite my feelings. But even in that, even with that ability, my denial of the existence of the me-ism grew. I was able to fool myself and sought to fool others about the extent of my motherly virtue while downplaying the extent of my selfishness.
It is only in the last few weeks that I have had the courage to face my own me-ism with honesty. Here is what it looks like at various times:
I do not want to serve 4 extra plates of food. I am hungry, I just finished cooking and all I want to do is serve myself, sit down and eat leaving the children to fend for themselves.
I do not want to cook at all. I am not hungry and therefore have no desire to eat. I’d rather let you four have rumbling tummies because it is a great inconvenience for me to stop working in order to make you food.
When will you learn how to tie your shoe already? I’m tired of tying shoes. When can I simply tie my own shoes, get up, and walk out the door?
Similarly, waiting for 4 extra people to be ready to leave is irritating. The extra potty stop, the child who forgot something in the house, and the child who simply moves to the beat of her own drum — all of these impede my agenda and interfere with how I think the day should go.
“Mama” – the very same word I once longed to hear from each child just learning to speak has now become a grate upon my contentment as Mama Mama Mama is often the refrain from an inquisitive 5-year-old with endless questions – ever interrupting my personal train of thought.
I will not get up to deal with the sibling fight in the other room that really needs to be dealt with, instead I will continue to ignore the sinfulness over there that needs correction and guidance because I simply want to sit here, sip my tea and read my book.
I could go on for days, as the extent – the depth and breadth of the effects of my me-ism seems endless – but such are the symptoms that I can no longer ignore.
ME invades everything. ME wants to control everything and rule everything. ME wants ease and comfort. ME wants to be served, not to serve others. ME wants what it wants. Thankfully, ME does not rule the day.
While ME tries to assert itself constantly as the central force, I am aware that ME is not in charge. I see the tension, I feel the tension, but I know the solution. ME is to be submitted to HIM — to the ONE who does rule and is in charge and is the central force. ME is to come under the authority of Christ, not seeking its own glory and ease and comfort, but the glory and righteousness of the ONE who created ME. ME is part of this sinful world – part of the effects of the fall. But one day ME will be completely made over, into the likeness of the ONE who did have every right to demand to be served, and yet put aside that right to become a servant.
The battle is real. I am a Me-aholic for life – and I will only succeed in overcoming this disease to the extent that I submit my will for HIS.
Hello. My name is Melissa. And I am a redeemed, forgiven and recovering me-aholic.