Confession: I am selfish.
I don’t know about you, but Mondays are hard for me. I always struggle to motivate myself on Monday morning. I guess because, like anyone else, I just want to stay home and not have to face the world for another day. However, as hard as it is, I have to remind myself that I am blessed to have this Monday. I am blessed to have another day, to go to my job that I am so lucky to have, to make an impact on my students and others lives in some way. That said, I’ve been thinking for a while about including some sort of devotional-type posts on my blog… and I feel like now is the time.
Because, for some… Mondays don’t always come.
Sometimes I am so incredibly selfish (as I think we all can be as imperfect humans) and I feel like I shouldn’t have to face my Mondays. I feel like I deserve a day off. Like I am entitled to slack off a little.
Am I really that selfish?
God teaches us to be selfLESS. To give to others. To WANT to give to others. He not only commands us to be selfless, but teaches us how to do it. Sometimes I wonder if I’m really doing what I can to be a servant of others. A verse that stands out to me on this topic is this one from Phillipians 2:3-4:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”
I think the profound message here is putting OTHERS before yourself. This is something that is admittedly hard for me. Putting someone else’s needs over my ambition? Over my own wants, needs, goals? I’m a hard worker, a go-getter, a girl who is always on the go and looking for that next big step. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am always busy, always doing something, and I hardly ever give myself a real day off.
But… is that ambition causing me to be selfish? Am I being so focused on MY path, that I’m leaving others in my dust? I think this is something worth reflecting on, which is one reason why I wanted to write this post. I want to call myself out, and hold myself accountable for my selfish actions.
Because, like I said… Mondays don’t always come.
My sister, Hannah, passed away on a Sunday. It was August 21, 2016. She had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor 6 months prior (DIPG- Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). We knew the end was coming, we just didn’t know when. In those first few months, I was planning a wedding. A wedding she was supposed to be in.
We never really got much of a chance to get to know each other, since I am her half sister that lived on the opposite side of the country. When she finally moved to Texas to live with my dad a few years ago, she was an emotional, moody teenager. We didn’t have much in common, and I found it difficult to relate to her. This is something that really bothers me, especially now, because I just should have tried a little harder as her older sister to form that relationship. Now, I won’t ever get that opportunity.
When I found out she was sick, I was overcome with grief and heart-wrenching emotional pain. I had no idea how to deal with what was happening. I still don’t. I had never had something so horrible and tragic happen in my life. I think that I was so emotionally incapable of handling that pain, that I sort of pushed it out of my mind. I was slightly in denial. I focused on planning the wedding, and I remained unaware of the daily struggles and pain my dad, stepmom, and Hannah went through. It’s easy to stay naive when you live 45 minutes away, and you don’t have to deal with it every single day.
You can start to see the selfishness I’m talking about. It’s so apparent now, it’s sickening.
So time went on. We got through the wedding. We were so lucky she was able to be there, although she was unable to walk and was very uncomfortable/in pain. After the wedding, I basically had the whole summer to myself. Key word there being to MYSELF. I didn’t make the time I should have made to go see my sister, to spend time with her, to help my dad and stepmom even though they weren’t asking for help, and would never tell me what they needed. It’s scary to think I was so emotionally inept that I couldn’t make time for something so incredibly important.
I’m not saying I never saw her. I definitely did. I just feel that there was SO much more I could have/should have done. It’s ironic because even though I knew she was dying… I just felt like we had time. Not a lot of time… but more than it ended up being.
Something else that I find ironic is that on that Sunday that she passed, my husband was at church. I was asleep when I got the call. I had wanted to sleep in. I was so selfish that I couldn’t make the time to get up and go to church with my husband. I was supposed to do a trial run that day with a bride. I could have gotten up and gone to the early service and still made it to the studio, but I chose not to. Do you see the pattern here?
That Monday never came for Hannah. It did come for me, however. It was the first day of school. I had to be there for my students, so I was. That was probably the least selfish thing I did throughout this whole ordeal… which is pretty sad. I should have been grateful that I had that day. Instead, I was feeling sorry for myself because all I wanted to do was hide in my bed.
In those first few weeks/months after she passed, I had a very different perspective on life. I KNEW that it was short, and that I shouldn’t care about silly things that were, in the past, so important to me. It was so fresh, and raw, that there was no way I could NOT think about it every day. What’s frustrating is that as time passes… you forget.
You forget how painful it was. You forget how much it rocked your world and made you realize that you were being so incredibly SELFISH all the time. You forget how many people went out of their way to make you feel loved in those times when you were lost. As I write this, it makes me so angry that I could even forget that.
Am I REALLY that selfish???
The answer is, yes… but I’m working on that. I am imperfect. I am still loved by God, though I am far from what I should be for Him. I think realizing that I have so far to go to becoming the person I should be, is worth something though. I know that I have work to do. A LOT of work. I know that I need to think less about myself, and more about OTHERS. Everything I have is God’s. Every day I wake up belongs to Him, and I need to remember that.
The last time I saw Hannah alive was when my husband and I drove her, my stepmom, and my dad to the airport. They were flying to Portland so she could meet John Mayer. Make-a-Wish had made it all possible… and for that I am forever grateful that they could bring that happiness to her. It’s funny how it takes something like that, to make me realize I need to give back. I’m blessed to now be a Wish Granter and get to bring some happiness and joy to families in their darkest times. It really makes you appreciate life more.
So… how can I be more selfless? Here are some steps I’m vowing to take on a daily basis, to really keep my selfish ways in check. I have this list on my phone, so every day I can refer to it and check it off.
Pray each day for humility, selflessness, and the clarity to know when others are in need.
Go out of my way each day to serve someone besides myself, either someone I know or someone I don’t.
Make at least one person feel appreciated in some way each day.
Identify specifically things that I am thankful for each day by writing them down, and thanking God for those things.
Read scripture each day.
I feel that by doing at LEAST these 5 things every day, I will start to feel better about how hard I’m actually trying to serve others as Jesus did. I am hopeful that it will bring me to a better place with my relationships with the people I love, as well as make me feel better as a person.
On this day I am thankful for my family, for the relationships I have in my life, for the opportunities I have, and for my health. And, although I hate waking up on Monday morning (and really any morning, let’s be honest… so not a morning person!)… I am thankful to have another day to ATTEMPT to live in His image, with selflessness and humility.
If you’re interested in being a Wish Granter for the North Texas area (or anywhere, really!), please visit our website by clicking the link below. We are in need of MORE people to grant wishes! There is a list of children waiting (about 40 actually) and we need your help. If you don’t want to grant wishes, but you’d still like to help, please feel free to make a donation to our chapter!
If you’re interested in learning more about DIPG and donating directly to children’s cancer research, please click the link below.