Day 3 – Love is Not Selfish

selfishBe devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.  Romans 12:10

According to the dictionary, the word selfish means to be devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.  Think about it.  Our society breeds selfishness.  We are bombarded every day, every hour with enticing ads for items that will make “my” life happy, more successful, more fulfilling, more exciting.  The list goes on.  If we look into the bible to see what God has to say about selfishness we find this verse in Phillippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”

If God wants me to regard other people as more important that myself, then how will my needs, wants and desires be met?  What about me?

If you take notice of what God is saying, He is not saying to give up on our dreams, to cast our interests aside or to become a doormat to other people.  He’s not saying that everyone else will receive what they want at your expense.  This comes down to how you are to treat OTHER people. People you love.  God wants us to stop thinking about what we will miss out on and focus on being an example of what it means to put other people first.  This makes me think about my children.  As a mom, very often I have to put what I want to do or get done on the backburner to tend to the needs of my children.  I do it instinctively.  Without thinking about it. It comes with the territory of being a mom.  Our children cannot truly care for themselves and so I make sure their needs are met before my own. I am now, as they get older, working on creating balance in my life where I will also have time for myself.  But even if I schedule some ‘me’ time, my children’s needs always come first.  That’s easy.

But where does that leave my husband?  Does he get the same type of unconditional, unselfish love that they receive?  Doubtful.

How sad is that?  The person that I pledged to love for the rest of my life doesn’t get the same treatment as our children?  Is that the same in your house?  When you look at it that way, it’s pretty sad.  And then we complain when our needs aren’t met.  When our wants and desires are put on hold.  What would happen if we got in the habit of helping our spouses achieve their dreams or particpate in things they wanted to do?  I think we might end up with a spouse who is more willing to be unselfish and do the same for us.  The question is, are you willing to do that?  I can’t tell you how many times I have told my husband, Mr. Hiking , Camping and Mountain Man, how much I disliked hiking, camping and mountains. Like I didn’t know that he liked them when I married him!  My idea of camping is a Red Roof Inn. I wasn’t raised going camping.  We were blessed to always stay in a hotel or rent a house and it was never in the mountains.  It was always near a beach. We’re just two different people.  He feels closest to God when he is up on a mountain top-in fact, he proposed to me at his favorite spot on the mountain.  I’m contstantly going on and on about the things I like to do and asking why we don’t or can’t do them.  His answer is always, “We can. We just don’t.”  His willingness to do whatever makes me happy is him being unselfish.  Have there been other areas where he has been selfish?  Absolutely.  We all are, depending on the circumstances.  But God doesn’t want us to be occasionally unselfish.  He calls us to BE unselfish. Not just in times or situations that are convenient for us.

A few years ago, my husband decided it would be nice to rent a cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for my birthday weekend. It would be a special family time away from the laundry, the bills and the regular day to day stuff.  He always talked about taking me to Gatlinburg after he visited there when he hiked the Appalachian Trail.  He thought I would really enjoy the town, even though it was in the mountains. Mountains?  You want to take ME to the mountains for MY birthday?  It was the strangest thing I had ever heard!  Even my family questioned it, because they know… I am not a mountain woman!

But guess what?  For whatever reason, I decided that since my husband was kind enough to suggest it in the first place, I would put aside my wants and desires for something he wanted.  Something he wanted to share and experience with me and the kids. My idea of a weekend getaway would have been to a happening town or some place where I would have sand between my toes. But, I went somewhat reluctantly, not knowing what to expect.

Putting my husband first ended up being such a blessing for not only me, but for him and our children.  I would have never imagined how wonderful the weekend was going to turn out.  We stayed in a beautiful cabin, we relaxed and took our time exploring the town and most importantly, my husband was finally able to share with me some of the things he loved about that little place.  Looking back I have so many beautiful memories and cherish that time we spent together.  Strangely enough, this city girl wants to go back to that mountain!

What ‘mountain’ does your husband want to hike?  What is it that will make him fulfilled?  When was the last time you asked him?  Imagine what would happen in your marriage if you started asking your husband what would make him happy. Ask him what experiences he wants to have with your or the family.   I am willing to bet that most of his answers will be things that he doesn’t want to do  alone.  He probably wants to do them with you.

It’s hard sometimes to put someone’s needs before your own, but if you can’t or won’t do that for the person you pledged to be with for your entire life, then who will you do it for?

Ask yourself these questions:

Do I truly want what’s best for my husband or wife?

Do I want them to feel loved by me?

Do they believe I have their best interest in mind?

Do they see me as looking out for myself first?

It’s at this point that you have to make a decision.  Once again.  Will you be the initiator?  Will you be the one who steps up and out in faith, first?  Nothing is gained by not giving it a shot.  Your marriage is worth it!

Now for the dare…

Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It’s hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, “I was thinking of you today.”

At the end of the day, answer these questions:

1.  What did you choose to give your spouse?

2.  What happened when you gave it?

Congratulations! You have completed Day 3!  Tomorrow’s dare is Love is thoughtful. Day 4

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