I read this quote from Tim Keller the other day, he said “Hell, then, is the trajectory of a soul, living a self-absorbed, self-centered life, going on and on forever.” I don’t believe he is saying that we can earn salvation and work our way out of hell. He was simply saying that living only for ones self is the deepest depravity known to humanity, and that it’s trajectory is one that will make up the experience of hell. This impacted me because it made me start to consider my own self-absorbed and self-centered attributes, and ways of living.
Right after High school was probably one of my most self-centered, narcissistic times in life. I was pursuing my dream, my way, on my time and it ended up being one of the most depressing, unfulfilling times in my life. I want to “succeed” in life, in family, in work, and in relationships just like everyone else. So how do you do that and not become self-absorbed and self-centered? Here are some thoughts to consider.
3 WAYS IN HOW TO MOVE AWAY FROM
SELF CENTERED LIVING
1. Make it a point to take interest in others lives.
ASK QUESTIONS and get to know what is happening in others lives. This may seem like a no brainer but I am continuously surprised by peoples lack of courtesy when it comes to conversation. Have a balanced conversation with people, allow room for equal give and take. It’s so easy to forget that others are going through some of the same challenges, difficulties and joys in their life. Lets share the load and walk through life in authentic community.
2. Give other people credit.
There is a leadership principle that says when things fail, take all the responsibility and when things succeed, share all the credit with those who helped. I believe that this is a great principle and is one that helps you to avoid becoming self-absorbed. When we recognize that our success is dependent upon those around us, it becomes a lot easier to stay humble. So stay humble, share the WIN and absorb the LOSS.
3. Be flexible and make time for people.
Life is much more than completing tasks and doing work, it’s also about the relationships we make and maintain. I can become very task driven especially when the pressure is on and it’s crunch time but I often have to pull back and remember that the people I am getting frustrated at are the ones there to help me! Pull back, simplify, have a 30 second gratitude party and remember that meaningful relationships are one of your most valuable assets. Even beyond this make time for those less fortunate, serve the abandoned and forgotten. Its when we choose to serve that we find the greatest joy in life. I have found that serving always brings more joy than conquering.
I don’t believe it’s possible to live a “less self-centered life” on a consistent, ongoing basis without the help and power of God activated in our lives. When God comes into our lives, He begins a process of turning the gaze of our hearts and souls away from our own desires and onto His. His desires for us are simple, according to Jesus it’s, “to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love others as yourself.” Luke 10:27. When we live this out in increasing measure I believe we begin to experience life the way it was meant to be lived. I believe and have personally experienced that engaging the process of moving from a Self-Centered Life to a God-Centered Life is the greatest and most fulfilling path we can journey on.