I use this comment a lot as a joke, but I’m starting to realize that I actually live my life like it really is all about me. It’s the Rachel Show and the rest of you are just spectators. I’m literally wincing right now as I type this because I think it’s more true than I’ll even admit here.
My beautiful and wise mother had dinner with me the other day. I confronted her on some things that happened when I was kid and wanted to know why they happened. As we talked through it, she explained from her logical black and white perspective what happened. While I had been expecting what she had to say, I argued that it didn’t change my wounding and the things I believed in years following.
And then she brought up the fact that living out of this wounding was selfish. That the minute I began living others-focused, the wounding wouldn’t matter. I got all riled up and we continued to have a tense discussion around it. Because, who wants to be told their wounding is selfish. It’s my bubble of protection, my thing that lets me off the hook for behaviors, the place I go to when I need to hide.
It’s totally selfish.
I left feeling incredibly defeated that night. Knowing that my mom loved me deeply but that I was misunderstood. The next morning she sent me a beautiful email apologizing for making my real hurts feel insignificant and affirming me while speaking tough truth.
The funny thing about my family is that we’re starting to realize how vastly different we are and most noticeably how different I am from them. As we’re figuring that out as a family, it’s been bringing up old hurts and behaviors. I have to commend my amazing brothers because they have been so diligent in trying to restore our relationship as siblings. If anything, I have been the cause of the fights.
That conversation has been simmering in my brain along with my process of sorting through finding my worth in Christ and Christ alone. I’ve gone on the journey of not finding worth in men, friends, and now family. This one has been tough and many years in the making. Anyways, I’ve been trying to examine what my life really looks like.
Yes, I am self-centered. I don’t have a husband, children, pets, or anything else that requires sacrifice by me on a day to day basis. I can buy whatever I want, fix dinner with anything and whenever I want, and my schedule is my own. But that’s how single people live right? Sure I could volunteer more, give more money away, be more disciplined, but isn’t this supposed to be the best years of my life? Living as an independent woman?
And I guess I’m so able to justify my selfishness that I can’t even see it. I can’t see it when my humble mother has to call me to the carpet while I’m drowning in my “issues.” I certainly don’t ask the LORD if I’m selfish, because I’m so selfish I don’t even know to ask Him!
I don’t see it until I start reading The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. And within the first two chapters my heart is crying out in repentance and heartbreak for the way I live my life. For the way I’ve treated friends and community. For the way I put myself first. For the way I fail to run to the LORD to fill me. I don’t know if Timothy Keller meant for this to a be a “come to Jesus” moment, but it was for me. Here was a brilliant and pivotal moment for me:
Self -centeredness by its very character makes you blind
to your own while being hypersensitive, offended, and angered
by that of others. The result is always a downward spiral
into self-pity, anger, and despair, as the relationship
gets eaten away to nothing.
But the gospel, brought home to your heart by the Spirit,
can make you happy enough to be humble, giving you an
internal fullness that frees you to be generous with the other
even when you are not getting the satisfaction you want
out of the relationship.
Oh man. Oh man does that hit too close to home. And for some reason, the words on these pages were what finally clicked in my heart as to the depth of my selfishness. I don’t want to subject friends to that side of who I am, let alone a husband and kids some day.
And I’m so grateful as a single person I’m being exposed to this now instead of disillusioned by not having my needs met within marriage.
For now, I need to send an open letter to those of you who felt used, mistreated, ignored, or unloved by me. I’m sorry for the times I’ve made it about me when it wasn’t about me at all. I’m sorry if I’ve used your times of sorrow to bring myself back into the conversation. I’m sorry if I made your 4th birthday party about me (Mike). I’m so very very sorry.
I also know that the longer I live, especially as a single person, the more chance I have to practice one of two behaviors. Living my life more about me or living my life more about others. Because the more I live my life about me, the harder it will be to have a healthy marriage someday. The more I practice living for others now, the more natural (hopefully…) it will be in the future.