I hate to break it to you, but you are selfish. I mean this in a very loving way. I am, too. We all are. We live for ourselves: for our own survival, happiness, pleasure. It’s part of being human. It’s not an insult. It’s just truth.
Now, when we live this way, we are always discontent; we are waiting and striving…for the next thing to make us satisfied, happy, pleased. This leaves us forever seeking a new means for fulfillment.
Painting this picture, for me, has made me realize how empty living for myself can be. Now, you may be thinking: I am a mom/wife/friend (fill in the blank as you see fit) and those relationships or living to please those other people is fulfilling. I would agree, but I’d also pose that those moments are fleeting, too. Because, just like you, every person you have a relationship with is just as human. This means that putting your complete fulfillment in others (and idolizing these roles/relationships) equally disappoints and carries an emptiness because these people, not maliciously, will inevitably have moments when they disappoint you. And this can crumble your spirit.
Then, there is material fulfillment. We all know these create moments of satisfaction, but material possessions very clearly wilt, lose their luster, become dated...then, we want the next thing. Or, living to keep up...this has no happy ending - I am confident I don't need to unpack that scenario. Living for earthly things is "like chasing the wind. It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to be always wanting something else." Ecclesiastes 6:9
Living with yourself as #1 is just human nature. It is because we are broken. And this is definitely one way to live your life and you will definitely have moments of happiness – even elation – you just won’t ever be completely and ultimately fulfilled.
Here's the best news ever: you can be completely and ultimately fulfilled. All you have to do is look up...
Clasp your hands together, fall to your knees and look up. We were made to praise God.
And I am going to lay it out: this is not just nonsense-theory, speculation, koolaid-drinking, desperate, aimlessly-striving-for-an-answer-talk:
It’s life changing when that focus is shifted from self to Jesus.
Here's a couple ways God talks about the true joy found in living for the Lord:
"These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." John 15:11
Through the apostles teachings:
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
“Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:10
In Praise and Prayer:
"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalms 16:11
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.” Psalm 30:11
Why some people have a hard time with faith - it's a hard truth - is because it takes a lot of humility and understanding that living for yourself is secondary; it takes sacrificing your selfish desires, your pride and admitting that you cannot do it alone. But what's amazing is Jesus has already done it for you. It's just a matter of surrendering.
It’s not about limiting yourself because you are restricted. It is about living for Him because you are FINALLY free.