Usually my relationships are strong, my social life is booming, and life is wonderful. Then something goes wrong, and this ugly disease called the "Me" Syndrome takes over. I begin to feel lousy. If I don't "treat" it, I continue to feel worse for weeks, maybe months. This is what "Me" Syndrome looks like:
I expect to be treated kindly by all people at all times. When people are not so nice to Me, I wonder what's wrong with Me. Can't they see what a great person I am? (Ha!) Why would they be mean to Me?
When I give someone a gift, I expect a "thank you". But when I don't receive a card, text, phone call, or verbal gratitude, I become bitter and think to myself, Well, that's the last time I'll do anything for that person! How dare they treat Me with such disregard!
I'm very smart (too smart for my own britches), which means I'm always right. Don't debate Me because I'll argue the point to death. I'm going to win, so just let it go already. I know much more than You! (Don't hate me yet; I'm not done.)
I go out of my way to be there for you and your family. I've attended your kids' sporting events. I've wished you a happy birthday every year. I've supported your fundraisers. Of course you should do the same for Me! But when you decline my invitations, neglect to invite Me to visit, and never show up for any of My kids' events, I am deeply hurt and decide I'm not going out of My way anymore for you. I don't need you anyway. I have Me.
Yes, this all sounds ridiculous and extremely selfish! I've been learning my whole life that IT'S NOT ABOUT ME! (I'm a slow learner.) IT'S ALL ABOUT CHRIST. We are going to be hurt. People hurt people. We set unrealistic expectations, thinking that others are going to do exactly what WE think they should. Well, guess what? This isn't how it is, and it isn't how it ought to be. We are to do as Christ would do, and not expect anything in return.
So how do we "treat" this "Me" Syndrome?
Well, here are a few things I'm learning:
Life is not fair.
You cannot control others' actions.
Doing good to get something in return is selfish.
We are to love others as Christ loves us. Period.
When we don't get what we expect, we might allow bitterness to settle in our souls. Bitterness then robs us of peace and joy. It destroys us emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes physically. When we continue to obsess about this "unfairness", it can lead us to act out in ways that are destructive - to ourselves or others. We are made in the image of Christ. We are to reflect Him. When we think about others, are we blessing or cursing them? What about when we speak to them? Speak about them? Or do for them? Are we letting pride, selfishness, or bitterness take control? Or are we reflecting the image of Christ?
James 3:14-16 says, "But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic."
Matthew 16:24-25 says, "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'"
Philippians 2:3 says, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."
These verses will be taped to my desk so that every morning, I will be reminded to always esteem others better than myself!
One final thought...how many times has the Lord protected you, provided for you, and poured His love out to you? Did you thank Him every time? Do you always make sure He is getting your attention when He expects it? I'm guilty of this. In fact, we all are. He deserves our attention, thankfulness, and love far more than we deserve it from anyone else, but we fall short. We cannot then expect the same from others for ourselves. So let's bury the selfish ambition and do as Christ would do.
Only God can and will love us unconditionally. Only God will be there for us at all times, in all circumstances, and in all places. Don't expect the same from the world. Esteem others better than yourself, and expect nothing in return.