Self is a small word that covers so many areas of my life. As a small young child, I was not able to see/understand/desire more than what was my self wanting instant gratification with the words, “I want it!” As I grew up, I was encouraged to be more polite, to be expressing myself with more discretion so not to be offensive to anyone and even ask tactfully “May I have it?”
This “self” issue in me today is just as strong as it was when I was two years old, but the maturing process coupled with good parenting helped me to know that performance orientation is helpful in keeping friends and not making enemies. My performance of being nicer when I wanted something was encouraged and applauded by my parents. And so as an adult, I continue to test the waters and perform so as not to offend. The dangerous phrases that I try to not let have expression in my life go something like this:
I want it my way!
I want it to be my way!
I want what I want!
I want to be in control of all that is in my life!
I will prove that I am right!
When I am selfish, there is no room for God! When I am serving my “self” there is no place for God to be glorified.
But there is another richer layer of life that has happened to me. I chose to become a Christian, committed to knowing, loving and serving The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This commitment has changed me. I still struggle with “self” everyday but now I have God to help me.
The scripture that provides this truth is 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I am learning/discovering that this business of self-centeredness can kill the divine life within me. If I let it, it can make me a prisoner, with spiritual emptiness and personal misery. This “self” is strong and can bring many negative responses of anger, self pitying, self seeking, indignant attitudes, resentfulness, depression, anxiety, bitterness, frustration, worry, dishonesty, and much unhappiness. I find it strange that the “self” wants what it wants but when it gets it, the “self” is not satisfied.
Often I sense my “self” wanting to justify my actions or words or thoughts. This is false pride taking control. I am learning that when I seek the Lord Jesus Christ with a humble heart and seek His help and healing, then I have opportunities to grow and want to become more. He blesses/empowers me with a change in my mind: (Romans 12:2) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. Then after absorbing this truth, my thinking changes and my attitudes and motives change to becoming non-critical, non judgmental, non-condemning, and am able to have self acceptance, self affirmation, self esteem and I am without shame. I am learning that an attitude of gratitude helps me block the “self” from trying to gain ground again in my life. With gratitude comes an awareness of how much love God has poured out into my life and how much I appreciate His Love. I grow closer to Him and my heart desires to love Him more.
Today I make my choice. I choose God! His desires become my desires. I am slowly being transformed. I am in process. “Self” will always be with me as it is a part of my humanity, but my victory over self is not my own personal victory because God is the one who has equipped me for the battle. It is His victory! Glory to God!
Copyrighted © 2012 Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.