This is the true joy in life: Being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
— George Bernard Shaw
This is quite possibly the best most amazing quote I’ve ever heard. Got it in my new Beth Moore study at church this morning. It piggy-backs on a passage I read last night from Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Seriously, I’m starting to think God feels that He needs to hammer His points home several times within 24 hours for me to get it. I appreciate the repetition, because I’m kind of stubborn and have difficulty listening (it probably would help if I’d stop talking once in a while), but I’m getting the feeling God thinks I’m a little slow on the uptake or something.
My own tendency is to be extremely selfish. Lucky for those around me, I have kids – who basically put the kibosh on my self-centeredness the moment they were born. Left on my own, I know that every breath, every action, every single thought would be driven by what is best for me. In my life prior to being a mommy, there was nobody more important than mwah. Even now, I cannot wait until my kids are in bed each night so I can have a little me time. I know that’s sounds brutal – and I’m certainly not saying I don’t cherish my days with my children, but by the time seven-thirty-ish rolls around, I’m probably counting the minutes until it’s time for stories, brushing teeth, the “special song”, getting tucked in and prayers. Probably part of the reason I’ve become so addicted to my daily workouts is that in addition to granting me the ability to wear cute clothes and eat what I want (mostly) – they give me two hours of undisturbed Tonya time.
I’m tempted often to justify my predilection for personal preservation. I mean, who else is going to put me first? My family takes top priority in my life pretty consistently, so when I have the chance to have a little quality me time, I jump at it. Case in point. I’ve started and stopped this blog three times already. Got a few sentences written, then the little boy woke up from his nap and needed some food. Wrote some more, then heard the stirrings of a little princess upstairs who needed assistance in the bathroom. Few more lines penned, then paused to sing a few songs so the princess could dance to them. Apparently the radio or a CD just wouldn’t cut it for music at the “royal ball”.
Sometimes I feel like I earn a little selfishness in the evenings after spending all day every day caring for everyone else. That attitude is totally not appropriate however. If I’m only serving to feel vindicated when I choose myself first later, I’m missing the true joy of a life lived for others. Displaying a servant’s heart doesn’t build up interest at the Bank of Tonya First, and delayed self-gratification isn’t any less egocentric. Of course we all feel like we deserve to be selfish. Isn’t that pretty much the definition of the word?
I don’t know the answer to this problem in my life, but I do know that I’d much rather be a force of nature in my service to others than a selfish little clod.
Random Association from Real Life: I’m currently listening to the following lyrics – Mommy-props for the first person to identify the song!
“This is a song for your pregnant kitty
She’s looking nauseous and a week past due
But if I sing for your pregnant kitty
She will feel better in a day or two!”