Sunday, May 07, 2006

It's All About Me

I was the baby of four children. If you do one of those birth order analysis things on me, that makes me the spoiled, attention-hog of the group. Well, that's probably pretty accurate. I remember being desperate for people's attention as a child. I was constantly trying to stick my nose in the grown-up's conversations. Trying to say and do funny things to turn the conversation my way. Helloooooooooooo! Look at me! Adore me! Come to think of it, I still do that.

But there is a part of me that detests that. Probably the part of me that is seeking after God and what it really means to know Him. I hate it that I want all that attention. I hate myself for feeling that way. There are times I fight so hard against that and try to blend. I have to make a very concsious effort to listen to others, to hear them and be honest and genuine and think about their needs before my own. I suppose there is something in me that is even selfish about serving others. If I am sweet and kind and caring then people will think I'm so great. Really, don't we all hear that voice? Don't we all want to be recognized to some degree?

Lately I've been fighting hard against that martyr. That martyr keeps saying things like, "You meet everyone else's needs...who is meeting yours? Why does your husband get to do things without children whenever he wants, but you have can't?" I find myself getting angry and resentful when he tells me he needs a day at school to work on things "without interruptions or distractions".

No distractions? No interruptions? What is that like?

Then I get angry at myself for not being better than that. For not being able to give the man what he needs. For not being more supportive. For not being selfless.

God, I want that. I want to be selfless. I want to be perfect and righteous and holy. I want to care less about myself and more about others. I want my life to be about serving and giving without a thought to my own desires.

But is that possible?

This is a recent struggle I am having. I was raised in a traditional church, where the idea of outreach was to knock on someone's door and invite them to church. To witness to someone was to grab your Bible and take them down Roman's Road. But all that left me feeling more like a door to door salesman, and that has never been my forte. I think all that helped to train me to think mostly about,

Here, let's have church just the way we like it, surround ourselves with only things we like, wear only the kind of clothes that will make us feel special, sing only songs we enjoy, and custom make this service to our liking. Then we can invite people to come and check out our wonderful thing here and if they don't like it they can go on down the road. Just invite them to church and everything will be fixed if we can just get them in the building and make them good, faithful, church-goers. And in all our classes we'll teach exactly what it means to be a good church-goer, by discussing all the things we should or shouldn't do to live a good, clean life. Then when we go home we will feel good about ourselves and everything we are doing or not doing. Church is all about feeding ourselves and getting fat on God's Word.

But I can't blame it all on the church, because I'm the one that bought into it.

Even on this blog I have found myself becoming obsessed with people reading it. I check that little Site Meter constantly, trying to figure out what I can do to generate more traffic. Oh my gosh, I am really sick.

I want to get past myself. I want to put away that little girl that always needs to be the center of attention. I want to be a mirror, that reflects back to God everything that is wonderful and magnificent about Him. I want my actions to speak volumes about Him when my words can't possibly scratch the surface.

(A note to all my friends in Blog Land: I am not searching for compliments or affirmation. Only being completely honest and voicing my feelings. Please don't feed the Monster today :-)


janjanmom said...

Now I know why we "clicked" when I read your blog. I am number 4 of four GIRLS and I was also the "chubby" one so you can multiply your faults times 2 and then add 100 because I got a pretty fair amount of resentment and jealousy towards others built in as well.

I just wanted to let you know that I share in these issues as well, not feed the monster.

I know I have to examine my motives for EVERYTHING very carefully. This often makes me take the actions of others too personally because I have come to realize, not everyone is so introspective. Some people just do things. They don't then sit around for hours and feel guilty and wonder why they did it and took up way too much space in a comments section of a total stranger. I should have just wrote something funny.

Do you still like me?


Hee Hee, we all have monsters!

jjofar said...

Every single time I am expecting or anticipating a pat on the back for my wonderful Christian ways...first of all I am reminded gently by the Holy Spirit that the Devil is after me, then I am reminded of verses in Luke 17. See one time I had just finished DIRECTING vbs for our church and was leaving the same day to lead a mission trip with 20+ teens. (i was still single and childless) During service our preacher was supposed to slip me a gift of recognition and it slipped his mind. The lady who had bought the gift was furious, which in turn made me question my value in the situation. Was all that work really that easy to forget??? I mean come on!!!
I was so bitter that another sponsor on our trip wrote me a note and said to read these verses.
"...We are but unworthy servants; we have only done our duty." Luke 17:10
Shame on me for being bitter. I knew that was my honor to serve Him, not to serve anyone else. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with ourselves.

jessica said...

I share your pain. I was adopted at age 5 and lived in a home where my brother was the perfect one. I learned to be the center of attention and am much that way now. Most of my struggles in life: my kids, my husband, my friends, come from my need to be the center of things. I don't know if it is selfishness or just a need to be loved and accepted... but either way it is a struggle.

janjanmom said...

Maybe this is why we blog??? To meet others like us!!

I am reminded of the Designing Women episode where Suzanne Sugarbaker told some new girl hanging out that she was "too much and I know your too much cause I'm too much too and there is only room for one of us so you are gonna have to move on".

As I get older I realize I should be uplifting everyone else I can, not myself. Doing good is its own reward.

Heth said...

Oh can I relate. God has been working on me lately and the issue He keeps bringing up is my "motives". It seems that I AM a very selfish person after all.

But guess what? We all are. I think it's our human nature. Darn it.

jesprincess said...

Ok, so no feeding the monster...well, I love you girl and I never see your evil selfish motives so God must really be helping you with this struggle. Maybe once in a while I can just call you a sinner so you'll snap out of it. hee hee

Sarah said...

Well, thank you for stepping forward to reveal how so many of us feel. I, too, LOVE to get attention while acting modest! :-) I have taken it to the Lord and as I get closer and closer to Him and find my value in Him and His love for me, I do see that need diminish, but it is part of my flesh that I daily have to put to death.

Anonymous said...

Well I found you from CHBM and it was really great to read this post! I have been struggling with the same things as well. I have come to a conclusion: It's great to get attention! Enjoy it! But I have also found the joy of doing something without anyone's knowledge that I did it and knowing that it's what they need. I found joy in making someone feel like they're worth something! and that desire for attention, isn't such a fire breathing monster anymore. Somehow the bottomless pit is full! Don't worry too much about it....Oh yeah and a new thing I discovered.....Turn off the self-critical voice inside! Ignore it everytime it speaks! It helps a lot! Like your site, by the way!

Leesa said...

I sometimes jokingly call myself an Attention Whore. Not a nice way of seeing oneself. But you know, mostly, I like being in the corner looking at others. I really do. I am fascinated with others.

Sometimes I do good things and don't tell others I did them. Oh, it tears at me, but I hope in some way, it makes me more humble. And I need that.

Stuckwidiot2 said...

Is it really wrong to feel this way? You are in marriage joined as one and not living as two together. Is it wrong for you to feel dissapointment when he can be oblivious about how selfish he comes off? As long as you leave it at dissapointment, express it and let it go, is this your "being all about you" or is it you being allowed to be you? Why do we have to hide ourselves from our spouse?
Isn't that a bigger sin?

Nicole said...

I am the same way. I love to sing, but a big part of me loves to sing because after I do people tell me I'm good. I like the praise. THat is why (one reason) that I am not a part of the worship team at church right now. I am not in the right 'heart-set', if you kwim. When I finally use my voice to glorify God I want it to be for JUST that reason, not because I want people at church to hear what vocal abilities I have.

I also feel resentful of my husband at times. Dang Eve. I constantly want to make the decisions that I KNOW are not my responsibility, worry about things that aren't my concern, spend money on things that I want just because I want to.

Oh, btw, I am the oldest of 2, my younger sister being 12 years younger than me. Wonder what they'd say about that!