Charity... “seeketh not her own” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Seeketh not her own...
This is simple: Do not be selfish! When we seek our own, we worry about how everything affects us.
Let me tell you my “ME MONSTER” story...
Behold the “Me Monster”
Long ago and far away there was a pitiful young mother. I say “long ago and far away” because the behavior is so foreign to me now. I was that pitiful young mother. I was depressed all the time. When I looked back on my life all I could see was what others did to hurt me. “Why me?” I would moan and whine. I kept thinking of all the rejection, shame and pain that I had endured.
Death was something I coveted, for I thought I was worthless. I thought the world would be happier without me in it. As I struggled daily with the scars of abuse it impacted my family negatively. Some of you may have read my article in No Greater Joy, “When You Need a Miracle.” There are people who like to think that my husband was uncaring or unkind in my greatest hour of need. Here is a flipside that I did not have room to talk about in the article: My husband tried to hold me, to heal me. He cried for my pain. When I was pregnant with Michael, my fourth baby, I was bed-ridden, in pain from a broken pelvis I had suffered a year earlier. During that period I was trying to become like the Amish—or at least what I thought they were. I had my mind made up. I had my bonnet on, my black socks on, and did not care a thing about my husband’s wisdom. I knew better than he! I was more spiritual. He would beg and plead with me to get ahold of my senses. And when he saw that I was completely mentally deranged, he put his foot down and told me NO! He felt that joining the Amish would be giving up his faith in the sufficiency of Christ, and he could not do that.
I became so angry that I was willing to kill myself.
It is embarrassing to admit, but I became so angry that I was willing to kill myself. One cold evening, when I could hardly walk, I went outside to die! I jumped into a snow bank and offered my body to the sub-zero temperatures. My husband came searching for his wife, calling desperately for me. When he found me there, he sat there nearly crying, begging me to live. I cry just thinking about this moment. I screamed, “NOOOO! Leave me; let me die!” But he picked me up in his strong arms and carried me, kicking and screaming, back into the warmth of our home. He held me in his arms and said how much he loved me, how he would die to protect me, how he would lay there all night outside if he had to in order to keep me from freezing to death. He assured me that my purpose in this life was not over. He was able to see me as something I was not: a pure and precious gem.
Later, I met this man, a guy who was working with Mark on a job. Something drew me to him. He looked at me and told me, even as I smiled, that there was a sadness in my eyes. It was like a gift. I opened up to this person I did not even know, and he told me how sinful I was. Me? Sinful? I was sinned against as an innocent child. I was rejected by nasty people. I was hurt and in pain. How could I be to blame in this? At first it made me angry.
He told me that I was so focused on “ME” that I actually put “MYSELF over everything and on the throne.”
He said this because I had been telling him, “I am home all day taking care of these kids, and my husband comes home and says he is too tired to help. What about me? I am tired! Furthermore, I want to raise my kids Amish; my husband won’t allow me to do this; what about my dreams? What about how I feel? They are my kids too! I have been through so much. I, I, I, and what about me, me, me” (notice the “ME” monster). That was my sin. Depression is selfish. When you are depressed, you are only thinking about yourself—about poor and unfortunate ME. I was seeking my own. That man forced me to look at my heart. I hated him for it, but I realized later, as I really thought about it, that as a Christian I am not here for ME. I am here for a purpose. Christ did not come to die so that I could worry about ME.
Once I got my focus off myself and onto what my purpose was, and onto Christ, it really made me get better. I had to start realizing that things could be worse. I had to start seeing things differently. I was really bad. You have no idea what grief I put my poor husband through. But he never once made me feel bad about how I treated him. He took all my hatred and turned to me with charity. I will always love him for that.
His mother hated me when we first fell in love. Being a wise woman, she could see that I was a mess, a broken vessel. She could see the baggage and the shame. And yet, most of us Christian mothers would do the same; we, too, would want better for our sons. Which one of us would want a wretched, broken, used-up girl to drag down our son? If I ever find myself in this place, I hope I can see past the shame as he did and choose to take a broken vessel under my wing and love her like Christ loves her and died for her. I want to be patient, to endure the hard times, and understand God’s perfect will and timing in the lives of others.
God called my husband to complete me. He called him to save me from my own self-destruction. My husband understands charity, never seeking after his own. No matter how badly I treated him, threatened to leave him, cussed and fumed at him, and no matter how many mind games I played against him, he just loved me. He loved me. He loved me. When I did not deserve love, he loved me. When I was selfish and prideful, he loved me. And when I ask him, even today, “How did I ever deserve you?” He looks back every time, and says, “How did I ever deserve you?”
Christ did not come to die so that I could worry about ME.
Our relationship grew into something wonderful when I stopped looking at my glass as half-empty. Now my joy is overflowing, and it is because I compare myself to Christ instead of trying to measure myself against my lot. My lot is not always favorable. Several years after my frigid crazy moment, I had a bad accident that crippled me, leading to a four-year uphill battle to get back on my feet again.
You guessed it…my husband took care of me, he homeschooled our five little children, he cooked, cleaned, changed my bed pans and carried me in his arms when I could not walk at all. It was very hard to fight against the “ME MONSTER” lying in a hospital bed, unable to minister to my family the way I desired. I would often say to my husband, “I was created to be your HELP MEET, not you mine.” This man of few words would say in response, “I was created to do whatever needs doing, and right now I am going to take care of you.” He encouraged me to LIVE. He encouraged me to rise above my circumstances and choose LIFE. Choose JOY. He always wants me to be all I was created to be. While I shine and prosper, he hides in the background. He is a humble, quiet man. He never looks for glory or honor in any form. He humbly serves his family and his Lord.
He looks back every time and says, “How did I ever deserve you?”
Marriages end because of selfishness on the part of one or both spouses. Wars start over selfishness. People abuse others because of selfishness, not caring about the effect of their actions. When people are unkind, prideful, hateful, depressed, greedy, unthankful or lazy, it is due to selfishness and seeking their own. It is the opposite of charity.
Today, I get emails and phone calls from women who are utterly depressed. I finally figured out why. They are singing the same tune I sang those 10 years ago: “What about MEEE?” The chorus repeats after each sad refrain. The sentences always start the same way; with “ME.”
“Start a new habit today!”
Here is a way to practice bringing your thoughts into the captivity of Christ: When you get a bad, negative and selfish thought, write it down on one side of a journal. On the other side, take the time to find scripture to prove your thoughts godly, or if you can’t prove that thought is right, you simply write down a verse that shows you a better way to think or behave. It is good practice to examine our motives and our words on a daily basis. Here is an example…
My Thoughts vs. God’s Word
My thoughts: I am so scared of the future.
God’s Word: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
My thoughts: My husband does not appreciate all that I do.
God’s Word: “And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).
My thoughts: I will not help her because she was mean to me!
God’s Word: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44).
Start a new habit today!
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