Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish
ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23)
Selflessness: the act of sacrificing one’s own interest for the greater good.
One day, as I was sitting after service chatting with two sister saints our conversation moved to childhood
experiences. They shared that, when they were younger, neither of them had been
allowed to sleep in the bed with their mothers. Not for fun and not after a bad dream; their mothers’ beds were off limits!
Now at the outset, this may not seem like a big deal. Except that one of these sisters expressed that she
thought this denial of access to her mother in her time of need was detrimental
to her emotional development. I reflected that after a bad dream, before their divorce,
I was allowed to sleep between my parents in their bed. For me, their
presence represented safety after the terrors of a nightmare. Though, of course,
my presence in their bed was an impediment to their privacy, personal time, and
marital intimacy! Even after their divorce, my mother’s bed was a safe haven when I was fearful or just lonesome.
I have observed in my children that they place very little value on personal space.
For them, there’s no part of my person, no part of my day that is off limits to them.
I have to set the boundaries because they have none! But while I’m marking my territory, I have to
weigh the consequences of giving too much and not taking enough, or giving too
little and taking too much. Which of us can better bear the burden of the scale weighed out of their favor?
Because selflessness speaks to sacrifice, we know it won’t always feel pleasant.
But because we also don’t know the impact our selfish and selfless choices will have
on our children in the future, it seems wiser to ere on the side of caution.
"Me time" is a hot button for today’s moms. But selflessness is not a denouncement of "me time,"
but rather a reminder to keep it in perspective. Selflessness is sacrificing your own
interests for your children’s greater good. But you choose when and what sacrifice is required.
Application: Have you been living in a "me vs. them" environment?
Your child is not your opponent. This month, seek God for wisdom
on how to balance your needs along with the needs of your children.
Affirmation: Lord, help me to be a cheerful giver of my time and my self for my children’s greater good.