My kids are reaallllllllyyyyy needy. Like, insanely, obnoxiously needy. Since their birth I cannot recall a day that they didn't impose their neediness on my otherwise idyllic personal life. Some of the most obnoxious things I have resigned myself to enduring are; Preparing 3(THREE!!!) meals a day, daily baths, diaper changes, baths, snuggling, book reading(sometimes the same one multiple times!!), listening to their stories(which rarely are very engaging since they generally lack a purpose and plot), and lets not forget I have to put them to bed every night since they don't just walk off and get in bed promptly at 8 every evening.
You know why their neediness is so offensive to me? Because I am insanely self-centered. My self-centeredness does not just effect my view on my perception of my children's obnoxious neediness, it causes me to be offended by everyone's neediness. Every time someone, uninvited, engages into my life it is an affront to my independence and plans. Sure, I want my kids around, but only when I am the one who wants them around. I would prefer they operate on my schedule and stop infringing upon mine.
And that goes for everyone else as well!
I will be your friend, as long as our friendship is convenient to my needs and wants. I will be your spouse, as long as I am feeling "spousey" at the time. God forbid you want or need something from me when I am not actually interested in that at that exact moment. I am the sun at the center of my universe and I prefer everyone to be oriented around me. Spinning and moving according to the dictates of my own personal gravitational pull.
Now, why am I, and seemingly everyone else, so lonely and depressed???? It doesn't seem to make sense...I only do what I want when I want to with who I want to. And the more and more I put myself first, the more and more I feel driven to fix my problems that seem to keep occurring by putting myself first. Yet it never gets better.....
Selfishness is arguably the most destructive attitude and behavior that us imperfect mortals can embrace. Why does this looking inward become so damaging? Because at our fundamental level, we are not that great of a person in the first place. Don't get me wrong, you are probably pretty nice and friendly. I know I am. But at my very core I sense a destructive nature within me. As the apostle Paul said, "I don't do what is good, but I do what I hate".
Be honest, think about your own life. How many times do you know what you should do, but you do the opposite? Everyone knows that overeating and smoking is terrible. But we do it anyways. Even while it is killing us we can't bring ourselves to stop behaviors, attitudes and mindsets. Our constant struggle is that at the same time we ARE improving some areas of our internal life, we still recognize a bunch of messed up crap inside of ourselves.
No one knows us better then we know ourselves. And when we become more and more selfish we become more and more defined by a destructive relationship with a person who is extremely harmful; Our own self!! What if your only friend in the whole world was angry, bitter, selfish, violent, etc, how would that effect you? That is what selfishness creates for us.
How do we change this? How do we move from broken selfishness to healthy wholeness?
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. --Matthew 9
Jesus is God. He came for a very essential purpose. Reconciliation and redemption of sinful man with a Holy God through His death and resurrection. He is preaching about repentance and the Kingdom and what is the response of the crowds?? Help me, fix me, do this for me, make my runny nose stop running!!!!
How would I generally respond? Seriously folks, this is quite inconvenient to my goals right now....
How does Jesus respond? Compassion.
Their needs and hurts were not viewed as an inconvenience to Jesus, but instead the outward manifestation of their internal pain and loneliness. Instead of thinking about Himself, He thought about them. And He loved them.
When I find myself frustrated with people in my life for their constant demands I forget that what is true about me is what is true about them. They are harassed and helpless. Hurting and lonely. Sad and desperate. While I am being selfish I am mad at them for my perception of their being selfish. When I am angry about their neediness it is always because I want to put MY neediness before theirs.
Why are my kids obnoxiously needy? Because they NEED me. They are just like me. And just like them, I need help. When I become bitter and resentful to their needs, I am in turn shutting off finding my own needs being met. Living for myself only leads to a deeper and deeper problem of brokenness. My lack of compassion for others needs creates a mindset that there is no compassion for mine.
The process of believing that the needs of others are inconvenient and obnoxious causes us to internalize our own hurt and pain because we believe internally what we put into practice externally. At the moment we act in love and compassion it opens us up to becoming recipients of love and compassion.
If you are struggling with peace, contentment, satisfaction, etc. Ask yourself, am I a selfish person? As long as you are, those struggles will only magnify.