Media promises us that a life centered on vain pursuits and personal achievement is an easy one. Many of us have bought into this selling point. After all, who would want the difficult life?
Yet, Jesus tells us that a life following after Him—though it does present challenges—is also one of easy yoke and less burden (Matthew 11:30). Unlike media, Jesus tells us that His life is satisfying to our soul. He aims at who we truly are.
If I’m honest with you, I’ve struggled with this statement from Jesus. At times, it seems like the greater culture’s promise of fulfillment was much easier and much more relieving.
But then, I did what no one wants to do in tough times—look at who I truly am.
What I found was, following the promises of a self-centered life kept me shackled to many unintended consequences. Like Jesus said, only the path of selflessness is the one that releases our spirit of burden.
You might believe otherwise. You might believe that the less you serve the needs of those around you and the more you serve yourself, the easier life will become. If this is what you believe, consider the following problems I only deal with because I’m self-centered. Maybe, you might struggle with these problems as well.
Because I’m self-centered . . .
1. I struggle with wanting to impress people.
When I’m centered on my own gain, I don’t seek to impact people. Instead, I want them to think more highly of me, as if it would make me feel more comfortable in my own skin.
What I tend to forget is, impressing does nothing but chain us to people’s approval. What’s better is to focus on what others need, not on what they think of us.
2. I struggle with sounding superficial.
Sometimes, I can become so driven toward my personal pursuits that I forget about people. This happens especially in business. Whenever this happens, I come across as a superficial salesman. I don’t care where the person is at or what their needs are. I only care about what I’m trying to sell them.
Don’t lose your authenticity in your self-centered pursuits. It is how well we relate with the rest of humanity that controls our ability to impact, not whether we can sell people on a product.
3. I struggle with fearing the wrong decision.
When you are trying to excel in your self-centered life, decisions become strategies. You want to make sure each decision is drawing you closer to where you want to be. Because of this, I fear the wrong decision. I fear one decision can set me off track.
There is a freedom in following the needs of others. I don’t have to worry whether I’m making the right decision or not. Serving others and adding value to their life is always the right decision.
Ditch strategy, choose people.
4. I struggle with always wanting to take the shortcut.
When I’m trying to accomplish many things in my life, I hope for the shortcut to success. I want to make it easier on myself.
But when you deal with people, there’s a certain reality you have to assume. It’s that dealing with people is messy, difficult, and doesn’t come with shortcuts. Truly when we focus more on serving others, we’ll be content to not follow the illusion of shortcuts.
5. I struggle with social media.
I talk about social media a lot because I struggle with the validation and interaction part of it. Sometimes, I spend more time controlling my image online than I do with community. This is because I want to appear better to people, but this is a self-centered pursuit.
Having a thousand or more friends on Facebook is not the same as being in community. There is more freedom in being with people in person than there is being “with them” online.
6. I struggle with stealing.
Finally, I struggle with not giving people my time, love, and attention. People close to me deserve what I’ve promised to give them, but because I’m too busy chasing my own things, I struggle to give it to them. Instead, I’m taking something that’s theirs for my own gain. I steal from them because I’m that self-centered.
These are the struggles under the surface that we don’t oftentimes see when we’re self-centered. These struggles are the reason I believe Jesus is the better path. In becoming selfless like Him, there is more freedom for our spirit to thrive.
Jesus always promised us that the life of meaning is one following His ways. We just have to decide whether to take Him up on His word or not.
What struggles do you deal with because of possible self-centeredness? Talk about it in the comments section below!
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