Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Self Help...HA!

I saw an episode of Intervention yesterday. It's a show on the A&E channel that documents an addict and their family/loved ones right up to and including an intervention, where they all confront this individual and beg them to get cleaned up. I was curious about it and tivo'd it from earlier in the week because the info thing said it was an alcoholic PTA mom. It's really a terrible thing to watch, the train wreck of a hurting someone's life. But "PTA mom" snagged me, and I wondered how does it happen, that someone falls apart like that?

Having watched the episode, I don't think I can answer that question, but I think self-absorption can be a piece of it. I've written much about how being a follower of Christ requires the surrender of self. I've thought about how easy it is to say I'll surrender it, and then keep picking it back up and sludging around with it. I've mentioned how it would be easier if the self was a tangible thing, so we could physically, consciously know when we're taking that burden on again--that burden that Jesus offers to take for us. You could see on the show how this woman hated what she was doing, when she could see it, hated who she had become--her self--but the only way for her to get out from under that burden was to drink herself into a stupor, into sleep.

And this little thing happened to me this week that caused me pain, and I think maybe I got a glimpse of how it can happen. (My pain was nothing compared the wound this gal had, please don't think for a minute that I think I've got it all figured out, or that I even understand her situation. All I know is what the producers and editors of the A&E show want me to know, for starters.) But here's what happened to me: Several weeks ago, a friend said something to me that hurt my feelings. I didn't say anything at the time, because it wasn't intended to hurt, and it was also kind of a stupid thing to say. It was said off the cuff, and I thought I had chalked it up to this friend just saying something stupid.

Then, the other night, someone else said the exact same thing to me. OK, ouch! And then I remembered that my friend had said it, too. So I took that comment out from wherever I had been keeping it, pulled it out of the closet and tried it on for size. I held it up, looked at it, thought about how it feels, and considered owning this stupid remark. I thought about wearing it to my own little pity party. I ruminated on this for a couple of days. Yuck. I was getting all into my self. I was thinking about carrying it around, and wearing something ugly to boot. And I could even say I was entitled to do so, because these hurtful things came at me, I wasn't looking for them. Ack.

I've got to keep my eyes on Jesus, who He was, what He did, and what the Word says about who I am. I gotta' keep following right behind HIm, because it's just that easy to get distracted by my self. What does the word say about who I am? Look at this:

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:12-17 NLT)

All this self stuff is part of that sinful nature. It seems all meek and hurt, but in me I see that it really is pride. Making my self the priority. Holding on to that junk is getting in the way of the affirmation of being God's child.

No comments: