Scripture: Proverbs 18 (focus on 1)
Observation: Unfriendly people care only about themselves, and so they’re against people who offer insight or common sense.
Application: I’m an extrovert. I’m a let’s-bring-all-the-people and go-to-all-the-parties kind of girl. Unlike most people, I don’t dread small talk and actually consider myself an expert when it comes to talking about the weather to multiple people over multiple hours. I want life, I want fun, I want activity!
Until I don’t.
When I crash, I crash hard. When I start to feel tired (and then ignore that feeling and push through it 12 more times until I can’t possibly ignore it anymore) or overwhelmed, I’m suddenly done with all the other people and can only think about one person: me. I’m ready to be done, to be alone, to get out of the spotlight, and to hide.
And in this isolation? I am so far from my best self. I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to listen, I just want to think about me and do what I want to do.
The writer of Proverbs warns us that this isolation can breed selfishness…
“Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense.” (v. 1)
The CEV puts it like this:
“It’s selfish and stupid to think only of yourself and to sneer at people who have sense.” (v. 1)
When does your selfishness kick in?
While I’m probably susceptible at any moment (hey, I’m human!), I’ve started to learn where my “people fill tipping point” is. It’s the moment when I feel fulfilled by the time I’ve spent with others and am ready to take some time alone to recharge – before I crash. Instead of ignoring that feeling of being tired, I’ll honor it by leaving early or taking a quick break. Instead of leaving an event and then having another emotionally engaging conversation with a friend on the way home, I’ll leave an event and listen to a mindless podcast or my favorite 90s throwback music, so I can come home recharged and ready to pour into my family, not retreat into myself.
Simple habits help me focus less on me and more on others.
Think about your life. When does that selfish monster often invade your life? When you’re tired? Hungry? After you hang out with a certain person? Listen or watch something specific? Decide to call in sick on serving or hanging out with a friend?
Identifying where selfishness finds a home in our lives helps us identify how we can guard against that very selfishness.
Prayer: God, I pray for the ability to see where I’m selfish or inward focused. I pray you’ll help me develop the attitude of Christ, always thinking of others. Amen.