Me First

My nieces were with us for a couple of days this past week and though I really do wish I would have started a tally count, I’m not sure I would have been quick enough to document all the times I heard, “Me first!!!”

Suffice to say, I heard it a lot, and it annoyed me a lot.  Oh, and did I mention who was saying it a lot?

Oh, well that was my brother’s kids firstborn.

Serving eggs…

“Me first!” 

Filling Water Bottles…

“Me first!”

Putting on shoes…

“Me first!”

Going to the bathroom…

“Me first!” 

Serving a snack…

“Me first!” 

Making a craft…

“Me first!” 

Walking out the door…

“Me first!” 

Buckling car seats…

“Me first!” 

EVERY. SINGLE. BLASTED. TIME.

Over EVERY. SINGLE. BLASTED. THING.

Grating on my EVERY. SINGLE. BLASTED. NERVE.

Side Note: “Blasted” may be considered ‘Christian profanity.’ Not sure, but pretty sure. It kinda feels like it. Not like I would know anything about ‘real blasted profanity’.

I confess digress.

ANYWAY, I was incredibly annoyed and semi-sickened by the selfishness I was hearing at every turn. 

So, we had a little Gospel-talk, and it went something like this.

Me: Buddy, do you know that God and His Word says very little about “me first?”

C: Oh.

Me: Yeah. In fact, God’s Word says something completely different. It says, “Him first.”

C: Oh.

Me: Yeah. And do you know what God asks of us?

C: What?

Me: He asks us to put Him first and to follow His example. Do you know what example He gave us?

C: What?

Me: He set aside His God-given rights and looked to the needs of others.

C: Oh.

Me: Now that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t care about us and our needs, but He desires us to make MUCH of Him and MUCH of others, trusting that He will care for our needs.

C: Oh.

Me: Yeah. So every time you are tempted to say, “Me first,” I want you to think about “Him first” and His example.

Now, I don’t entirely believe my four year-old was completely convicted over our “me first” devotional, confessing his sin and repenting of his ways (because in all actuality, maybe he just wanted to avoid another Gospel lecture from mom that kept him from play time with his cousin) but nevertheless, I did hear it a whole lot less. Well, kind of.

Sure, I had stopped hearing it from my firstborn’s mouth, but then I started hearing it elsewhere.

LIKE. EVERYWHERE.

LIKE. OVER EVERY. BLASTED. THING.

LIKE. AT. EVERY. BLASTED. CORNER.

LIKE. JUMPING. ON. MY. EVERY. BLASTED. HEART. STRING.

And before I realized it, I was seeing and hearing my own selfishness at every turn. And my oh my! Was it ever yuck!?!?

Literally, it was like God overheard our mini-devotional on a Wednesday afternoon and turned to His angels and said, “Hey fellas, do you think she hates and even see her selfishness as much as she hates  and sees his?” And His angels were probably like, “I don’t know, Almighty, but let’s find out.”

Standing at the computer store waiting to pick up my computer…

Do they know that I’ve waited four extra days for this computer and now they are leisurely talking to some guy who is vacationing from Nicaragua who wants to just sit around and talk about how awesome MACs are? Do they realize that I have four, tired kids with me? Do they realize that I need this computer for work? ME FIRST!

Driving behind a really slow driver on my way to the hospital…

Do they have any clue how much I need to get done today? Do they have any idea how sick my mom is? How tired I am? How stressed to the max I am? ME FIRST!

Waiting in a long line at the bank…

Oh, for crying out loud!!! Why are there only two tellers on a Friday afternoon? I have a million other things I could be doing and would love to be doing. Does this man in front of me really need to tell his sob-story about his ailing back to one of the two tellers, and why is she even acting interested? ME FIRST!

Driving around the hospital parking garage trying to find an open spot…

Why in the world are there so many reserved spots for the florists? You’ve got to be kidding me! And now spots for the Pulmonary Specialists, and for the Cardiac Specialists….?!?!? I don’t have time for this! I have a mom to visit, a shower to take, and dinner to bake! ME FIRST!

“Hey, babe. My work picnic is on Sunday afternoon”…

What?!?! After a fairly stressful week, you want me to give up two of my weekend hours to chase kids in a public park while eating off a Styrofoam plate and talking to people I barely know!?!?! Oh, and you need me to make a side dish!?!?! ME FIRST!

And on and on it went…

Do they know what I have on my plate right now? ME FIRST! 

Do they realize they aren’t the only ones struggling? ME FIRST!

Do they even see how hard I’m trying? ME FIRST!

Do they know how many things have gone wrong in my week? ME FIRST!

Do they have any idea what it’s like to have family members who are sick in the hospital while others are getting ready to leave the country? ME FIRST!

UGH.

I could continue on with a myriad of other examples, but I’ll spare you the juicy details of my yucky sin and stop there. Suffice to say, I was quick to think of “ME FIRST” in a whole lot of incidents this week. And boy, oh boy, was it nauseating!

Neglecting opportunities to seek “HIM FIRST” while simultaneously forgetting to consider the needs of “OTHERS,” I started to realize that I was just as focused on me, my, and mine as much (if not more) than my son was.

And as I thought through my week and the yucky sin that was leaking into the crevices and corners of my heart, I had to stop and ask myself, “Did you even hear the ‘me first’ devotional you spouted off to your son two days ago, or was that just a bunch of obligatory-mumbo-jumbo-Gospel you recite to your kids without letting it permeate your own heart and life?”

Yuck and double yuck.

And when the Spirit graciously held up the mirror to my own heart, reflecting the selfishness that was pervading my own life, I was humbled, convicted, and reminded of Matthew 7:3-5…a mini-devotional that God wanted to share with my “me first” heart. 

Hey, Jessica…

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your [son’s] eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your [son], ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your [son’s] eye.

Oh, Lord…may we see these yucky parts of our sinful hearts as your grace and your Gospel at work in our “me first” hearts. May your Spirit continue to mercifully reveal those planks in our own eyes, changing us from the inside-out. And may we be more than just hearers and speakers of your Word, but faithful doers and repentant believers who are seeking YOU FIRST. 

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