It is both unsettling and relieving to awaken to one’s own “neediness”. Unsettling because the pride I was subconsciously clinging to in my walk with Christ is being dispersed. It is relieving for this very same reason. One cannot be prideful when one sees this unattractive quality about themselves. Or at least a quality that is unattractive in their sight. In truth I can’t believe I’ve journeyed so long with Him with this quality and that in His patience and care for me, He would wait until now to expose it so fully. It really attests to His relentless love for me that He will endure with me through anything, even unattractiveness.
I am probably not even seeing the “neediness” in its fullness, but what I am seeing has jolted me forward into awakening even further to the wholeness I already obtained when He saved me from sin. It’s interesting to note that He is using singleness to expose this in me. Though I’ve been single for 9 years in Him, there has been much dual-ness of heart. As scripture would label it, there has been much “double-mindedness”. But maybe I am being too hard on myself (it wouldn’t be the first time :-)). More than likely He is probably pleased with the path I’ve walked thus far simply because it was His path and He smiles when His kids walk His path. Even if they are stumbling and taking shaky, wobbly steps along the way. Kind of like when a toddler first begins to walk: unsure, but determined to keep moving forward.
So I’m awakening to being “self-oriented”. With no husband, no children, and no tight family unit, it would seem the odds were stacked against me to be anything but such. I was raised an only child and everyone knows what that means. Spoiled. Thankfully I still developed a strong work ethic and didn’t become too much of a “big head” but that probably had to do with more of God’s grace than any good quality I possessed in and of myself.
One thing about walking with Yeshua is, He goes deep. So while others may label you with admirable adjectives such as “confident, humble, selfless”, well He shows the real deal that is happening in your heart. And we all know the heart is deceitfully wicked.
It has been exciting seeing my own selfishness simply because I desire to walk in the freedom He says I have. I find myself now no longer asking, “God, what can You do for me?” but instead I want to know, “God, what can I do for You?” I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to get there. But I’m here now, and I see how the culture’s worship of “self”, and “me”, has aided in my own self-centeredness. And of course the blame does not lie at the culture’s feet. We were all destined for self-centeredness long ago when a man and a woman chose to eat from a certain forbidden tree in a perfect garden thus propelling imperfection into the world.
I know believers get all riled up about this generation’s stance on people’s sexual orientation. I myself carry a burden to intercede for those under the deception of homosexuality, transgender, and the like. But wouldn’t it be a phenomenal thing if the body of Christ became even more riled up about “self-orientation” instead? After all, selfishness is the root of all sexual immorality. Selfishness is the root of all sin.
I was talking with a friend a while back who was defending the homosexual movement. He said, “How can a person help how they feel and deny those feelings if they are for the same gender?” My response was, “I lay down my cross everyday in singleness. I desire to sleep with men, to be in relationships with men, but that is not the Lord’s will, and thus I deny myself”. This generation does not like pain. We nurse our carnal appetites with bottles of pleasure, racy TV shows, and erotic reading material. After constantly feeding ourselves these things, how can we not start calling good bad and bad good? How can the shades of gray not emerge?
So how has God used singleness to bring me to this place of revelation? He told me very clearly, “Nicole, the purpose of marriage is selflessness”. “Say what Jesus?!” And here I was thinking marriage was going to be my “out” of the selflessness I kept experiencing in my walk with Him. I wouldn’t have said that that was my reason for desiring marriage, but that belief was running in the background of my personhood. Because even though I had no husband, or child, or tight family unit to practice selflessness with, I had Him. My selflessness has come directly through laying my will down for His. Over and over again. And there was a huge part of me that was trying to get out of this occurrence! That huge part was Self. So I was thinking, if I get this man God has promised, well, the pain will end. But now I see, this time with Him was really just a picture of being a disciple of Christ. We no longer live for ourselves, we only live for Him. And that will not change with a relationship status. In fact, I suspect, it will only intensify.
At first I thought, well maybe I just need to serve more to be less selfish. Maybe I need to “do” more. Now that is the typical yet FALSE response to sin: “DO more and you will BE better”. Holy Spirit gently reminded me to only do what I saw my Father doing. He also reminded me of many who thrived in their gifts for serving others and yet their selfishness eventually surfaced in the form of entitlement because they were unaware that Self was still in operation, even under layers of giving. Instead, He is having me practice selflessness in much smaller, unrecognizable ways, which directly affect my personal sphere of influence and which stem out of my being with Him in relationship.
Now that I’m understanding that I am a “whole” person and my Father has “given me everything that pertains to life and godliness” I desire to GIVE. I have an overflow of gifts to share and now look for opportunities to share them. My only regret is that this was not my outlook prior to this season. But I comfort myself with the truth that in the past, I was still functioning for the kingdom, even if my motivation was more to please my Father than to aid His body. Now I desire to do both.
In the spirit of discussing selfishness, how about a little selfie? 🙂