I was out with a friend the other day, telling her...
If you think about it, if everyone in the world were completely selfless, we'd all have all of our needs met all the time because everyone else would always be looking out for us, and we'd be looking out for them. Yet no one does live like that, so we can't depend on each other. We live in self-defence mode. Carrying our own struggles because no one else is free enough of their own burdens to carry them for us.
Then, last night, I was thinking about this again. It is so easy to become self-focused and self-absorbed in our minds... because we are the only ones that live inside of our own heads, so we are the only ones who know what's going on in there. When we're hurt, we know it. No one else does, unless we tell them... and even then, they can't feel what we feel. When we're happy, we feel it. When we're sad, we feel it. Whatever we're going through, other people are limited in their understanding of where we're at based on how we can communicate it to them, and then how they can relate based on their own experience. You are the only one who *really* knows what it's like to be you. And the same is true of everyone else you know; they are the only ones who *really* know what it's like to be them.
Often, when we're hurting, or feeling particularly selfish, it's because we feel the weight of our own emotions and struggles, and we can't seem to get out of them. You are you, and you're the only one who knows what it is to be you.
So, this selfish condition of ours... it seems a little helpless... You're stuck being you forever, and as much as you would love to think about other people, and feel for THEM even more than you feel for yourself, you just don't know what it's like to be them, because you're not them. And you are limited in your understanding of their hearts based on how much they are able to communicate it to you, and then based on your own level of experience and ability to relate. Your greatest depth of understanding of anyone's heart would be your understanding of your own.
...It makes sense that you would think about yourself a lot then, doesn't it?
Yet... There is One who also knows your heart. In fact, he knows it better than you do, and he cares about you more than you care about yourself. He cares about you more than anyone ever has, could, or would. He knows and loves you like this, AND... he knows and loves everyone else the same way.
He is our God. And he inspired the Bible to be written in order to adjust your focus. To take your eyes off of you, and put them on him. It teaches us that his heart... is full... Of you. Of others. Full of people he loves, who break his heart on a consistent basis.
So... If you can't know other people's hearts like you know your own, why not stop focusing on yours, and start focusing on the One that made and knows both yours and everyone else's?
If you could really stop looking inward, and start looking upward, you might learn that there is a heart that overflows with love for you and meets your every need, and that this heart is full of love for other people, just like it is for you. So if you focus on THAT... You find yourself, and others, in the centre of his heart. You find yourself loved and cared for in a way that the people around you cannot do. And you learn to see others as loved and cared for in the same way.
You learn that to live selflessly in a selfish world, you have to take your eyes off of yourself... To find that you are fully loved in the heart of someone else. And that this powerful, gracious, kind love also exists for everyone around you.
Gives you a bit of new perspective, does it not? You don't need to learn to stop thinking about yourself to be a selfless person; you need to start thinking about yourself through the heart of the One who made you, in which place you are not the only one present.
The dictionary defines "Selfless" as "Having no concern for self." You don't need to be concerned about yourself. You have to learn to know the heart of the Father, who knows the depths of all of our hearts equally, and is, in and of himself, fully sufficient to satisfy ALL of our needs.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, self. Your cares are not overlooked or misunderstood in his presence. Cast them on him. He cares for you.
Look at others with the heart of Jesus, self. Their cares are not overlooked or misunderstood in his presence. Carry their burdens to him with them. He cares for them.
Focus your thoughts on the heart of Jesus, self. He'll teach you how to dwell on it. And through it, will teach you how to live and love like he does.