Why is it so hard to give away something that has never belonged to me in the first place? That is the question that keeps popping up on my spiritual radar screen. Why can't I give up the control I've never had, the life, the money, the time, the talents that are on loan from God? Why are phrases like 'take it all', 'I surrender', 'here I am, send me', so hard to say? Why is it so hard to fall on my face before God and acknowledge freely that I am nothing, and He is everything? Why do things like control and pride continually cause me to stumble? Why? Why? Why?

I've made a little progress. For close to a year, I have been able to stay in the mindset of looking at my money as God's, not mine, and trying to be obedient in using it as He prompts. This usually means giving it all away at (for me) extremely inopportune times. Of course, this mindset is much easier for me to maintain than it would be for most other people. I'm still living with my folks, so I know that, even though I'm jobless, I'll always have a roof over my head and something to eat. Yes, I know that this classifies as 'sponging off your parents' and yes, I know that it's socially non-kosher, and yes, I know that some people undoubtedly think I'm a failure, a bum, or worse. However, I've noticed that God seems rather fond of having His people do socially unacceptable things, so I feel like I'm in good company.

I don't want to demean the aforementioned victory, but looking at it in comparison to all of the things I'm not doing right...well, let's just say that I have a long way to go. The question that's been plaguing me lately is 'how do I stop focusing on myself?' I am incredibly self-centered. I'm so self-centered that I'm sure I don't even realize the full extent of it. I've started taking notice of my prayer times: 'God, would You help me with this? God, I can't do that. God, I would like to have this. I, I, I.

Praise and worship also seems to have degenerated into self-centeredness: 'I will follow, I will listen.' 'I love You Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship You, oh my soul, rejoice.' Please, don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that any of these songs are bad. But praise and worship is, I think, supposed to be two-fold. One part is to be joyful and thankful to God, and to declare how we intend to worship Him. The other part is to abase ourselves before the throne, and simply give God the praise, honor, glory, and majesty He deserves. It is this latter part that gives us the humble, God-centered attitude that I find sadly lacking in myself. It is worship, without an 'I', a 'me' or a 'myself' in sight that brings home to us the fact that we are only rebellious specks of dirt, and that God is something so much purer, better, and higher that we can't even imagine the full extent of His greatness.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou are holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in pow'r, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Notice that there isn't a single reference to 'I', 'me', or 'myself', in this entire song, and furthermore, that there are only three references to humans, at all. Perhaps, if I could live this song, if I could pull away from this lopsided 'life of I', all my problems would be solved. But I can't. If I try to get rid of my own selfishness, then I would simply be replacing it with a new self-centeredness. God is the only one who can make any real and lasting change. And so, with deepest humility, I ask Him to 'take my life and let it be, consecrated, Lord, to Thee.'

But still, He gives me a choice. Every day, He says 'choose you this day whom ye will serve'. And, instead of asking God to help me serve Him, I often choose to serve myself. My desires. My thoughts. Mine, mine, mine. Why do I willfully choose the wrong path again and again? Why do I continually rebel? And why does God continually forgive me and welcome me back when I turn to Him? How can someone love me that much? Such love, such forgiveness, such mercy, is a mystery to me. I trust that, one day, I will have the strength to answer 'choose you this day whom ye will serve' with 'I will serve the Lord'. And, when that day comes, I will be enabled to fully and completely 'turn my eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.'

P.S. Yes, the irony of writing a post about myself, in which I complain about my own self-centeredness has already struck me. So, if you're one of those helpful people who likes to point such things out, you can save yourself the trouble, because I've already done it for you. :-)


  1. Your P.S. amused me. Very good post, Janie, and don't think that writing such a post is hypocritical to the point of the post itself: you have to admit a fault to be able to deal with it. Very good thoughts on worship and praise, that is also something I find myself having difficulty with, though not in exactly the same way that you describe.

  2. There is an orthodox Christian tradition to say the Jesus Prayer repeatedly throughout a day, sometimes silently without stopping. It goes: Oh, Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner. It reminds one what exactly is his position before God, and from it comes the right attitude, the one of humbleness, gratitude, need of help, centered on God, not on however great, but still worldly accomplishments. One's goal is to keep it (this prayer) in the heart of his heart,no matter what the situation is, then nothing can confuse mind. It's a blessing.


Post a Comment

I enjoy hearing what you have to say! You can comment using your Google, LiveJournal, WordPress, TypePad or AIM account. If you don't have any of those, you can simply fill in one or both boxes on the Name/URL option. Feel free to leave me a link to your own blog or website - I'm always looking for more good things to read.