Friday, May 3, 2013

"On Fire": Are You Selfish? (Are You Sure You're Not Selfish?) 

"Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done."---I Corinthians 13:5(NCV)

What prompted me to reads this particular article this morning, I'm not exactly sure...

It doesn't much matter though because after I checked out "Are You Selfish? 6 Ways to Tell", I knew I had to share the insights within it. What I dug so much about it is that honestly, I believe that a lot of people would be shocked to know just how selfish they actually are:

"Healthy, happy relationships are based on caring, cooperation, and commitment. Your partner and relationship must be a top priority for you. Selfishness, or being overly concerned with just your needs, wants, and feelings prevents you from holding up your end of a mutually satisfying relationship...

Here are six ways to tell that you're selfish:

    You like being in control and find it difficult to compromise.
    Giving and sharing do not come easily to you.
    Putting your partner's needs first — before your own — is very difficult.
    You hear constructive criticism as personal attacks.
    You become moody when others have the spotlight.
    Forgiving others is difficult. 

There is also no gene for selfishness; it's a learned behavior. That means like any other bad habit it can be changed. Your relationships, intimate or otherwise, are the perfect place to practice changing. Use the everyday interactions that go on in your relationship as opportunities to be less selfish. Make a conscious effort to shift your focus from me first to we first."

Yep. Many of us would probably consider ourselves to be fairly good givers (although it's only *real giving* when there are no strings attached) and yet, I think it is *stellar* that there are other things that classify someone as being a selfish person. 

If you're a control freak, you're selfish.
If you don't know how to be told about yourself, you're selfish.
If you don't know how to forgive're selfish.

And what I appreciate about these revelations is being that the New Century Version of the Love Chapter clearly tells us that "love is not selfish", then deductive reasoning would tell us that if we are controlling, if we can't receive correction, if we don't know how to forgive, then we are not the kinds of people who are ready for a healthy intimate marital covenant...yet.

There are a few reasons why this is the case. Especially for Christian women.

1) The New King James Version of Ephesians 5:22-25(NKJV) tells us this: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." If you are a control freak, walking down an aisle in a wedding dress is not going to miraculously change that. And while we're on this particular subject, if you're looking for some signs that you are indeed one, I found one article to brilliantly address the issue: If you want to plan out everyone's life for them, you are a control freak; if you self-appoint yourself to monitor everyone's moves, you are a control freak; if you don't know how to speak to people in a kind tone, you are a control freak; if you feel like you need to be in control all of the time, you are a control freak and if how you act constantly costs you your relationships, you are a control freak. And here's the thing, being that a wife is to submit to her husband *because the Lord said to*, if you marry someone and then "buck the system", that is not a sign that you are "independent". It's more of an indication that you are *rebellious*. (Jezebel spirit, anyone?) And rebellion is rooted in a demonic extreme of selfishness.

2) I've said it several times before. Another problem with a lot of people's marriages is that they have a spouse *and then* a best friend. The healthiest marriages that I know, their covenant partner *is* their best friend and everyone else is a "good" or "close" friend at the very most. That said, being that Proverbs 27:6(NKJV) says "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful", if *anyone* should be investing in helping to make you a better person, it should be your husband. There are some "On Fire" women who I've personally dealt with that I find to be *extremely exhausting* because they don't know how to take correction well and so I'll just say this: If you don't want to be a teacher *and student* of love simultaneously, marriage is definitely not the "life class" for you. As one person once told me "I never knew how selfish I was until I got married." Exactly.

3) I'm not sure why more of us don't take what Christ said...*just as he said it*: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15-NKJV) but take it from me, it's pretty bold and dangerous to determine that you should be forgiven of whatever you've done but people should not be "pardoned" for what they have done to you. Matthew 18:21-35 speaks very clearly of how things turned out for the unforgiving servant. It wasn't good. That's because it's a very deceptive way of thinking to believe "I can't forgive my parents, my siblings, my ex, my co-worker, my friend, my pastor for what they've done but when I get married, I can forgive my husband." You wanna know one of the main reasons why? It's because if there is *anyone* who you will need to "practice the art of forgiveness" with, if there is ANYONE who will bring new meaning to "seventy times seven" (Matthew 18:22), it will be a spouse. That's one of the reasons why I believe God hates divorce so much (Malachi 2:16). On so many levels, for so many reasons and in so many cases, it is the ultimate act of unforgivingness. So, if you want to get some "practice shots" in so that you can be prepared for marriage in this area, forgiving those around you *regularly* is a really smart and spiritually mature (Hebrews 5:12-14) place to start.

Philippians 2:3(NKJV) says "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." If you're in a relationship, reflect on the ways that you may be selfish. And if you're not, be thankful that the Spirit (John 4:24) is providing so many ways to get ready to love and be loved.

Stop being so controlling.
Give and share freely.
Put others' needs before your own.
Take constructive criticism.
Learn to be on "the stage" and in "the audience".
Forgive. Quickly.

And watch how love unfolds because of it...



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