Generation Cedar

The Secret to Real Joy: Living a "You" Life in a Me-Centered World
Photo by Lieve Habibi

 

The Answer to Finding Real Joy

We Have it All. Or Do We?

We are living in probably the greatest time of irony. On average, we have more money, more possessions, more recreation, more entertainment and more conveniences than any people through history.

Yet suicide rates are highest, more people than ever are on anti-depressants, feel unfulfilled and over all lack joy. My belief is that we suffer from self-centeredness and are experiencing its destructive effects.

We are living with our own desires and wishes at the forefront of all we do. The exact opposite of what we are taught from Scripture. We are bombarded by every commercial, billboard, magazine and media source with one message: “It’s all about me.”Even the church is preaching a gospel opposite what Jesus preached.

The Doctrine of Jesus

Christianity is not for the faint-hearted; in a nutshell, Jesus’ ministry was wrapped up in one doctrine: “Deny yourself.” Ouch. That’s hard!

“If we give freely, cheerfully, what is ours to give, a profound transformation takes place in our hearts.”

I’m hearing more and more, in Christian circles, “but I need time for me, you know, so I can better serve my family.” There is some truth in that, but it’s been greatly distorted. “Time for me” has turned into an underlying current nagging at her heart that constantly compels her to feel overworked and misunderstood. That’s not the road Christ asked us to walk.

His Last Act is Our Example

Here was our Savior, gripped with anguish over the torturous hours that awaited him…kneeling with towel and basin, to wash the feet of those flawed, imperfect men who would soon deny they even knew the one who had tenderly nurtured them these years.

That’s our last picture–His last earthly act, screaming loud and clear “IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!”

Given this precious and painful example, how then should we live?

Our perspective is radically changed when we see ourselves as givers, and not only that, but cheerful givers, instead of being taken from by those around us. Moms can especially fall prey to an attitude of being imposed on, taken from and drained, because of the many ways she sacrifices herself.

No One Can Take What You are Willing to Give

BUT…what if no one can take anything from you if you give it freely? This was Jesus’s way and it makes all the difference in how we see our role in this beautiful story. If we give freely, cheerfully, what is ours to give, a profound transformation takes place in our hearts.

A Generation of Mothers Living Joy

People need to see and hear and touch and feel a generation of women who are taking up their crosses daily with their families. Not begrudgingly, but with a strength of joy that braves all the tumultuous seasons of life. A denying of self until self is merely an empty vessel through which pure love can pour out onto those around us.

This is Jesus in shoe leather…and motherhood affords us such a precious opportunity to become more like Him!

Let’s keep the picture Christ left with us alive. We can kneel too…we can look up into the faces of our husbands and children, exhausted as we may be, even maybe in anguish about the trials of life, and we can wash their feet, partaking in the sufferings of Christ, counting it all joy.

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15 Responses

  1. Exactly, W.W.! When we trust in God’s Word and obey it, we put our personal desires and feelings second to that. It is like walking into unknown territory, with confidence, because you have been informed (by God) that you will succeed there. Kind of reminds me of Abraham’s journey…We are to walk in faith, not by our own knowledge. What seems right to us can turn out to be foolishness and vanity, but as long as we follow God, we will do well. I know that after a while, our desire will become only to please Him….and selfishness diminishes and begins to fade away….How sweet!

    -B.

  2. I think that if sef-centeredness and a lot of ‘me (Me! ME!) time’ could make people fulfilled, we wouldn’t see the degree of bitterness, frustration and disappointment that is so prevalent in our culture today. Obviously, the ME-mindset is incapable of bringing us true happiness; you are only shining with joy when you’re full to the brim with needs of others.

  3. So true!! So many times I get asked (even by my own mother!) “When do you get TIME FOR YOURSELF?” Well, I had that before my kids came along and figure I’ll have it again when they’re older.

    I think if moms put a bit more emphasis on serving their family, there would be less marital problems and less problem/delinquent children out there.

    Not that it’s always easy to do!!

    Great post. 🙂

  4. This reminds me that probably the BEST way to change people’s attitudes about children is to let them see me ENJOYING my children.

  5. Narcissism is our culture’s religion constantly telling us “You deserve this. You deserve that. It’s all about you”. How refreshing it is to hear how Jesus example is comletely contrary.

    What an encouragement! Thank you for putting motherhood in perspective. I think we all need to meditate on these truths frequently.

  6. I think part of what’s missing for many in our society is a balance between our work lives and our personal lives. I need to make time for myself in order to exercise and just be quiet for a little while each day. If I have time to take care of myself I’m a better worker, wife, mother, and friend.

    I completely agree that helping others and giving my time to improving the lives of others often increases my energy level and definitely leaves me with a greater sense of well-being. I work with teenagers every day, and their energy is contagious. The older I get the more I appreciate that about my job 🙂

    My own daughter is grown up now and away at college, but I can say with sincerity that it was a privilege to raise her. I am grateful to have so many lovely memories of her childhood. It always bothers me to hear parents complaining about their children. Those precious years really vanish before your eyes.

    Caroline

  7. Me time is often selfish time. I’ve noticed that when Jesus took time away or alone it wasn’t to soak in a hot bath; it was time spent with His Father. We do need time alone: precious time to rest in Christ and fill ourselves with His Word. Thanks for another great article.

  8. I agree with Caroline – on the appropriate need for self-care and recharge. I think there’s a pendulum swing in the attempt to avoid this selfish imbalance of self-focus towards pushing the notion of all “me-time” as selfish.
    I know that is not what you are saying in this article.
    But as in many of the issues surrounding home and Family, balance is important.
    We can be misled, even for years, by well-meaning caution that is not recognized as out of balance.
    A little Saturday jaunt for the kids so mommy can plan in quiet or even a Mother’s Day pedicure once in her life can be refreshing, which is good for everyone.
    Recreation should be for the purpose of better serving the Lord in the life he’s given us.
    I tell my kids that, too, whenever they want to play before they do their work. God made us to do our work, and then we play and relax together to rest up for another round of serving together.

  9. I have went through times in motherhood I was really struggling and it was good for me to have more time away from my kids. Through God’s grace he has reached those broken pieces. I still need to respect my need for quiet, but God is so good.

    I have had some well meaning friends tell me I needed to spend more time away from my kids…saying “you aren’t just a mother.” I have come to a time in my life where I cherish the time with my kids and see how important this time is for teaching and training them.

    It is always a fight against our self centered culture that doesn’t recognize the value of serving our families.

    I always look forward to your blog posts. As a homeschooling Christian, I am a minority in my community and it isn’t always easy. You are one of my online mentors. Thank you!

  10. Wow! Thank you, Kelly! I needed to hear this! I so appreciate you, thank you for allowing The LORD to use you as a sharpening tool! You are washing your readers feet…thank you!!

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