On feelings, selfishness, and God

“How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you.”
I ran across that quote earlier today and felt it was a God-nudge. You know those times when God kind of gives you a heavenly elbow in the ribs and hints that you might need to fix something? This was one of those times. See…most of you online see one dimension of me. Granted, you know a lot about me and I do my best to be honest with you, but you still only get one side of mme and my personality. And not to crush your Mirriam is Perfect dreams, but I’m not the kindest person. Sure, I can be thoughtful and sweet. Sure, I can give you a compliment that makes you feel good about yourself. But in real life, on a day-to-day basis, it isn’t my modus operandi. Rather than making others feel good, rather than choosing to lift them up, I blunder around without thinking and toss around remarks that, while not obviously derrogatory, certainly aren’t kind and complimentary. I’m much kinder to people I know on the internet than I am to my family, and that is all kinds of wrong. Do you know why? It’s because the rule that applies to me also applies to you – I only see one dimension of you. I see the funny and kind dimension that makes me want to make you happy. It’s much easier to love someone you know only through a computer screen, because (while I’ve been wounded by internet friends before) – you’re much less likely to say something hurtful, or dislike me when I make a mistake, than people I know on this side of the screen. You’re safer, and I’m not being brave when I’m kind to you. My family knows from experience that, while I might provide sarcasm and humor with my presence, I don’t provide the kind of loving sunlight and joy that helps people feel better. Just because I make someone laugh doesn’t mean I’ve watered their soul or made them feel good. This is a reminder I really need, day to day, because my natural instinct is I, Me, Mine; not how can I bless you? Selfishness is my biggest pitfall, and it’s something I struggle with every day. I don’t know if you also struggle with it, but if you do, I think that quote at the top of the post is a good reminder. Because, as I often remind myself, people may not remember you – but they will always remember how you made them feel.

7 thoughts on “On feelings, selfishness, and God

  1. Very wise words, Mirri. But I think we really would still love you even if we knew you face-to-face. Everyone is special in their own right, no matter what their past is. I think selfishness is something we ALL struggle with — someday, I don’t know how far down the line, we’ll conquer it if we try. *grins* You’re one a those, Mirr.

  2. Oh my gosh. It’s almost creepy. I have been thinking about pretty much this EXACT. SAME. THING. for the last day or two. O_O I’m nice to everyone else… but my family. xD I’m not a horribly mean person, but the last few days I’ve been a brat. But I’m so glad to know even perfect Mirriam makes mistakes and goes through the same things imperfect, blundering Rana goes though. ❤ Thanks for the honesty, as always.

  3. This post really spoke to me! I struggle with selfishness to a huge degree myself. I get so snarky sometimes and basically will say absolutely anything that pops into my head, which is definitely not always uplifting thoughts… God has been working on me with this very thing lately. I want to be an encourager, and instead I’m just sarcastic. I needed this post today.

    You are a lovely person, Mirriam! Don’t ever think you’re not. The fact that you see your pitfalls and want to improve on them proves it. Most people are just blind and stubborn. But you have a heart for the Lord and seek to live for His glory. We all stumble, but I think the trying is what counts.

    Thank you for this enlightening post. Hope you have a blessed weekend, sweet girl!

  4. Wanna know a secret? ::come a little closer I don’t want everyone to know:: (begins whispering) I used to be a sour-faced complaining me-focused high-standard holding person who was a grump and snark.

    What shocked me down to my boots, was an off hand remark that Mom made some years ago “You’re just like your grandmother” she said and I can still remember how my stomach dropped down into my toes. The grandmother in question, while a Christian who loved and served the Lord, was not a “warm fuzzy” person to be around. In fact we called her a prickly-wickly.

    She was an ice-cactus who made the family around her feel like if they were living up to her standards, they were less-then.

    Looking back, that moment of absolute horror of being compared to her and my mind linking the comparison of myself to the negative side of my grandmother (and it was definitely a moment or afternoon of horror) began the long journey to where I am now. One of my spiritual gifts believe it or not, is encouragement, but it sure didn’t look that way at the beginning of things. Did you read that up there? Sour-faced complaining me-focused high-standard holding, that was me. Just cos encouragement is a gift of mine, didn’t mean I didn’t have to PRACTICE it. A lot. A lot a lot a lot.

    One of the best books I ever read on this was The Five Love Languages (pick your flavor, kid, teen, singles,) and there’s a fantastic book too called The Five Love Languages of God, How to Feel and Reflect Divine Love (also by Gary Chapman) which are definite helps.

    I also went and worked in Ireland as a missionary for three months. Wow, that was eye opening. It gave me lots of ways to practice encouragement AND prayer. O_o yeah, lots of both.

    By the end of that time, I actually earned the moniker from my missions team of “Lady Barnabas”

    From sour-faced complaining me-focused high-standard holding prickly-wickly to Lady Barnabas.

    xD Jesus has a sense of humor. I’m convinced of this. And while my change wasn’t as dramatic as some (my family would beg to differ I’m sure) I’m so grateful that He changed me so I’m more like Him.

    *I* personally think that you’re right on the money and that the Holy Spirit is poking you to start training NOW by practicing your writer’s observational skills on your family so you’re ready to tackle the 6 month deployment coming up. O:) I will make this prediction:

    If you let Him, Christ will take you from where you are now, to being called Daughter of Encouragement.

  5. Nope you & I, we’re not perfect. We ALL have our pitfalls, those weak places God needs to keep in check and those places we sometimes fall into like stepping into dog do-do. It stinks (pun originally not intended, but now, definitely intended!). I am grateful for your honesty. Your effort to be even more real and to direct glory to the Lord; blesses my heart because it shows God’s faithfulness in you, growing you, helping you. It’s all Him! The real us we show behind closed doors…. You’re right, it’s safer to hide that. It’s MUCH nicer to show the sweet, encouraging, happy us when we are online. There’s no stress in just showing that layer of us, but…. It is not a full picture of the flawed us we are. Anyway, I never thought you were perfect, though I wonder if your mom might get concerned sometimes about the level of praise you receive. I do absolutely think you are such fun. Flawed, habitual pride-fallers, or whatever…. Let us cling to the Lord, seek His face and continue growing in Him, and lay our weaknesses before from which He can make them into strengths or just use them to keep us humble. Big hug, sistah mine in spirit… “To obey is better than sacrifice” Jesus rules!

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