The Slippery Slope of Selfishness: Am I more selfish than I was last year at this time?

I’m a little freaked about narcissism. I don’t want to become more and more narcissistic the older I get. So, imagine my chagrin when I sensed God ask me this question last weekend:

“Are you more selfish today than you were a year ago?”

I ached when I heard the words. It seems I slip so easily into thinking only about myself, my needs, my wants, my my my my. The older we get, we entrench ourselves in patterns of thinking and behavior that soon becomes cemented, then petrified. The less we think of others, the more our heart shrivels.

But true life comes from self-denial. From letting someone else go first. Jesus said the first will be last and the last will be first. And somehow, as I get older, I sure do prefer first. I love comfort. As I type this, I have a portable heater at my feet, keeping me warm. And yet, as I took a shower this morning, relishing the warm water, I remembered my friends in Ghana who had little water. I remember my friend Paul who told me, “For ten years, I never knew when my next meal was coming.”

Thankfully, I have Paul’s voice in my head, reminding me to think beyond the four walls of my comfortable suburban life. And as much as I’d love to stay here forever, I also know God could call us elsewhere, maybe across the globe. The question is: Will I be selfless enough to go where He leads? Will I give up comfort?

It is my ardent prayer that as age adds lines to my face, that my heart grows larger and my selfishness diminishes. Dear, dear Jesus, make it so. Have Your way. Help me today to be less selfish than yesterday. Kill my narcissism; replace it with Your ever-giving Spirit. Amen.

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