Being Selfless in a Selfish World

This morning, as I sit with my coffee growing cold on the nightstand and my baby in my lap, I groggily scroll through social media.

I love seeing all the babies and artful photography. The delicious and beautiful food displays. The workout gear. All of it.

In the midst of all the fun and lighthearted sharing, I also see the immense push for “self love,” which is merely selfishness in disguise.

I know, I know, I lost a lot of you there – but hear me out…

I see quotes like “you do you” and “yasss queen – who cares what people think” and “live your best life.” That’s all fine and dandy, but if this self love and self care is so great, and only looking out for yourself and your feelings is so freeing – then why are we collectively more anxious, depressed, and medicated than our predecessors? Pew Research published an article about the rise of anxiety and depression in young people earlier this year.

The reason “self love” aka selfishness isn’t correcting the epidemic of depression and anxiety is because it is of this world and it lacks substance. Believe it or not, we are more joyful and satisfied when serving others – whether that means serving within our own families or outside the home. Selfishness is isolating. When everyone practices “you do you,” sacrifices are never made for each other.

Imagine having a bad day and needing a friend. You call your friend to meet for coffee. She’s practicing “self love” and has such a busy day of work and then she needs to hit the gym and get her nails done because #selfcare. She tells you she “just can’t but let me know if there’s anything else I can do.”

I’m not saying to always drop your plans, but the above exemplifies just how disconnected we are. We do things in the name of “self love” but we aren’t getting happier.

The void most feel will not be filled by more time taking selfies, or buying new things to show off on Instagram. True biblical joyfulness comes from contentment and serving each other. Only Jesus can fill that hole.

I struggle with this, too. I am a loner by nature, so I am terrible at making plans with friends. My service lies within my family. It brings me joy to keep a tidy home and cook dinner for my family each night. It is exhausting having a tiny human physically attached to me most hours of the day. Though it can be monotonous and tiring, that is where my joy comes from.

The bottom line is – people are so caught up in this world that we have lost sight of what true happiness is and how it is achieved.

You may feel good for the 15 minutes “likes” are coming in on that new post of your gym body, but how do you feel every day when you wake up and look in the mirror.

We don’t need more self love, we need more sacrificial love. The kind of love Jesus has for us. The love he, who was sinless, came and died for.

Take care of your family. Be there for a friend in need. Give the dollar at the checkout counter for a charity you’ve been prompted to give to every week.

The world isn’t going to get better if we believe the lie we’re sold that “self love” is going to make us better. It makes us bitter.

E

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