There is something in each of us that prefers to have things “our way.” This is what makes Burger King’s slogan so appealing.
“You can have it your way,” they claim.
We like it when things go our way. Elvis sang about it,
“I did it my way.
And if you’ve ever had or known a two year old, you know their entire day is about the attempt to “have their own way.
When I was first married, I demanded things go my way. When they didn’t, I would threaten to leave. It was how I manipulated my husband into giving me what I wanted. I used this threat often. Most times it worked, but not this day.
“If you don’t do what I ask, I’m going to pack my bags and leave.” I threatened
As I stood there, with my hands on my hips and a mater of fact smirk across my face, I was taken by surprise. My compliant husband, who stood on a ladder in the middle of our living room screwing in a light blub, slowly made his way down the rungs, picked up his water bottle and swallowed down about a dollar’s worth in one gulp. Then pressing his nose to mine, he spoke with authority he rarely expressed.
“If you ever say that to me again, I will personally pack your bags for you, take you anywhere you want to go and never allow you to come back.”
“Uh, I was just kidding,” I confessed through a nervous laugh. “Gee, lighten up will ya?
The truth is I wasn’t kidding. My threats have always gotten me what I wanted in the past, but this day my husband let me know loud and clear he wasn’t putting up with my self-centeredness any more. I knew he had reached his breaking point when added these hurtful words.
“I can sum you up in one sentence.” Ask not what Micca can do for you, but what you and can do for Micca.”
His words stung. They also forced me to come face to face with my selfishness. Pain often does that. It breaks through our denial allowing us to see ourselves as we truly are.
God used a prophet to help king Saul come face to face with his selfishness. Saul had forgotten that God had given him the kingdom and could take it away. When Saul’s desire to do things his own way instead of obeying God, the Lord did remove the kingdom from Saul.
Selfishness poisons relationships, it produces disobedience, and it prevents us from having God’s best. This is why as parents we teach our children it’s not good to have their way. We must learn to share our toys, be a team player, not indulge in too many sweets, and say “no” to self. It’s tough. One of the biggest battles we face is the desire to HAVE IT OUR WAY! But having your way is not what pleases God or fills you with happiness.
Although it was hard to come face to face with my own selfishness, I’m thankful the opportunity came about. I chose to ask the forgiveness of my spouse and God. Then I took it a step further. I asked God to help me grow into a giving person. God likes those kinds of prayers because they reflect His character.
God began to work in my heart. I learned that my selfishness came from fear. I think sometimes we fight for what we want in fear that God will forget us—or something like that. That’s not all. Unrealistic expectations play a role in our desire to look out for number one.
Unresolved expectations lead to demands and demands to manipulation.
When we expect our marriage, job or children to fulfill our desires and make us happy, we’re going to be disappointed. Phil 2:3,4 should govern our lives.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interest of others.”
The Christian life is meant to be “other” focused not “me” focused. When we get there, we experience a peace and joy that passes understanding. Such peace and joy fills you with more satisfaction than having it “your way.”