Psalm 135:15-18 (erv)
I think for as long as I can remember, my life has been all about me. I’m an only child, and my parents are both amazing. My mom made sure to work a schedule that allowed her to be home with me and to attend and participate in all of my events. My dad gave me everything I wanted and more. But I didn’t really have to share with anyone. Not just physical things like toys, but also, emotional time and space. My needs were never put on hold to tend to someone else’s. My big, “dramatic” teenage happenings were never overshadowed by someone else’s life events.Even now, when I call my parents, I assume they’ll be home and ready to talk to me.
As I got older and got married, I realized that I expected the same thing from my husband; for life to be all about me. It wasn’t until I really started reading the Bible that I realized how self-centered a lot of my behaviors were (and still are!). When I read the devotional, “Free Of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not All About You” (shared below), I learned that I was treating others like a mirror. I’ll share that devotional entry now, as Sharon Hodde Miller, the author, explains it.
“The Mirror Reflex
It’s hard not to look in a mirror, isn’t it? If you walk by a mirror you are going to take a look. We all do it.
This reflex is also true in relationships. We’re constantly looking to others as a reflection of us. When we do this, we allow other people, our possessions, and our profession to shape our self-image. When the reflection is good, we feel great. When the reflection is bad, we feel insecure.
The mirror reflex causes us to make everything about us, even when it’s not. Maybe a friend doesn’t say hi to you at work, so you assume she’s upset with you. Maybe the cashier at the store is impolite, and you take it personally. Maybe you volunteer to serve at church and feel hurt when nobody thanks you.
When you treat people like mirrors, you create a world that is all about you. Take social media. Studies show that Facebook directly impacts personal satisfaction, because users interpret the “likes” and comments as a measure of their worth. It’s easy to compare: Why don’t people like my photos as much? Are my kids not as cute? Do people care about me less?
But it doesn’t stop there. Consider marriage and relationships. Have you ever pressured your spouse into doing something, or acting a certain way, because of how it reflected on you? Has an unhealthy dating relationship shaped the way you see yourself? How about friendships? When a friend didn’t call you back or didn’t respond to an email, did your imagination run wild with questions like, “What did I do wrong?” Maybe she was simply busy, but you immediately jumped to conclusions about yourself. That’s because all of our relationships can function as mirrors.
When I realized that I had made my relationships and ministry all about me, I saw that my confidence was bound up in their successes or failures. A successful writing ministry meant I had value. Successful friendships meant I was lovable. But the reverse was also true, which left me devastated and insecure.
This is the natural course of all idolatry. Whenever we put anything before God, it’s only a matter of time before it turns on us.”
From today’s devotional: What is something in your life that you are insecure about? Where do you think that insecurity comes from? In what ways does it make you focus on yourself?
Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the areas you’re too focused on you as He adjusts your gaze toward Him.