Friday, June 06, 2008

It's all about ME... isn't it?

This article is a good reminder that our lives aren't about us. It's all about God and serving others... without looking for praise.


Me-Points
Posted By Sylvia Dorham
catholicexchange.com

It’s 5:53 AM. I’m standing in front of the mirror trying to force my eyelids to stay in the upright and locked position, and I’m losing. My body would prefer I turn around and crawl back into the the indentation on the sheets. The bed is saving a warm spot for me. But instead I grope for the switch and throw the room into glaring light. I take the sudden illumination like a blow to the head, but still, I persevere, turning on the water to perform my morning ablutions.

Why?

Why do all this, early, before I have to? What could possibly induce me to this violence against my comfort?

That’s the whole point. Every action has a motivation. Everything I do has a goal. And the ultimate goal is an ultimate good. My every action draws me toward fulfilling my need to love and be loved. It’s just that often my desire to be loved and approved motivates some of my most selfish behavior.

It’s good to be loved!

It’s good to know I am an important, significant, noteworthy person. But to whom?

Am I trying to be important to me? To other people? To God?

It’s one of those vicious circles.

I get up early so I can be the first one downstairs. Yay, me! I’m a winner! I have overcome the challenge of self-control, so I am clearly someone important. Bow down! (Me point!)

When my husband comes downstairs 45 minutes later, he says “Gee, you’re up early!” I feel pumped! There is no one else being recognized for early rising! (Another Me Point!) “What have you been doing?” he asks me, sweetly. (And another Me Point!)

I lift my chin and show him the essay on the spiritual life I’ve just written. It will soon be published, and thousands of people will read it and see my name in the byline. “Great!” he says, kissing me on the cheek and heading for the coffee maker. (Another Me Point, but not as satisfying as the first two. He didn’t fawn over my obvious prowess. I need more.)

“I already made your coffee,” I say, expectantly, waiting for his adulation. No answer. I follow him into his office where he is sipping the coffee and reading his email. “Did you find the coffee?” (He’s not giving me the Me Point. I’m annoyed by his breach of Metiquette.)

“Umm hmm.” He is typing now.

“Well, is it good?” (Give me another Me Point! Now!)

“It’s fine. I’ve gotta reply to this.” He doesn’t even look at me. (No Me Point! Now, I’m fuming!)

” ‘Fine?’ Not even a thank you?” I say at a volume carefully designed to sound like he’s not supposed to hear. (He denied my Me Point. Now he must be punished.)

He finishes his email, drains the cup, puts it in the sink and comes to kiss me as he shakes into his jacket. “Thanks for the coffee, hon. It was great.” (Too little, too late. He must still be punished.)

He leaves for work, and I am still mad. My whole morning is ruined. And I tap a wedge into my marriage to the ungrateful, thoughtless, thankless beast.

I’m addicted to Me Points.

Sure, it’s right to want to love and be loved, but if I’m making efforts, sacrifices and doing work with the intention of satisfying my passions, my ego, my vices, I’m wrong!

Those of us who are vain try to feel secure by getting people to love us. “If my hair looks just right, they will admire me and love me.”

Those of us who are prideful try to feel secure from ourselves. “I just shaved seventeen seconds from my shower and dress routine, I am a winner!”

Those of us who struggle with sensuality try to feel secure with things. “I deserve another pair of shoes. I need another pair of shoes. I am going to buy them because I am worth it.”

Whatever your variety, it’s all an addiction to Me Points. All of us trying to fill our need to love and be loved. To be approved, to feel secure.

If you’ve seen “Little Shop of Horrors,” where the carnivorous plant which was happy at first with a little drop of blood can now only be placated by human sacrifice, you know what happens when we start trying to get our Me Point fix.

Like all addiction, we spend more and more time, pain and energy trying to replicate the original high. We can’t, but the process sure makes us into obnoxious people! And we’re supposed to be representing Christ!

So here’s the simple and Biblical solution:

1) God made you, and although you think you’re junk, you’re still alive, so God still has something for you to do. You have a purpose!

2) God designed you with a keyhole. You can only open up and be happy if you let him put in his key and turn it. By the way, no matter how many other keys you try in your lock, none of them work.

3) You’ve been acting like you’re the only one who knows how to make you happy. The real way to be happy is to make God happy with your behavior.

4) Find Philippians 4: 8-9 in your Bible. This is it! Start thinking about purity. Beauty. Graciousness. Dwell on nobility. Truth. Justice. Not just on the concepts but on the places you see them in your life. Read an article about someone behaving with honor? Think about it. Focus on their motivations. Contemplate how the honorability makes God feel. Do this again and again for several weeks. Months. Make it a habit.

5) After a few months of dwelling on praiseworthy things, look at your motivations. If you’ve been thinking about virtue, the Me Points will suddenly look totally irrelevant. Distracting. And the loneliness will be gone. So will the anxiety. The Bible says so at the end of Philippians 4:9 - “…and the God of Peace will be with you.”

Yup. It was all in your mind. It was all in your attitude.

Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the brutality of a Nazi concentration camp, said all your control can be taken from you, except control over one thing -

your attitude.

Want to live without the facade? Want to get past all the messy disaster of a past you are carrying around?

Be motivated by love of good Father, God.

You are after all, his beloved little child.