Selfishness: "concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others." (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Selfishness - a word that I detest and try to avoid.
I was preparing to create a submission for Moody's new art journal, Thin Space. The theme this time is "Darkroom", where what is hidden in the darkness is brought to light and life. The desire of the Thin Space team for this issue is the following:
"Through this theme we’re hoping to probe the depths of the nitty-gritty, the dark corners of life, and not shy away from ordinary struggles of life."
I needed words. I knew that I had to name what was in the dark for it to begin to come to light. So I chose two words to begin with: perfectionism and selfishness. It stung because I knew they were true at different times of my life. The repercussions of those words ebb and flow in and out of reality, sometimes coming to a head in turmoil. It was time to enter the darkroom to let the Lord bring something good out of what had been hidden.
Here's where selfishness comes in. In my own daily life it has meant that I lose sight of Christ, grace, and fellowship with other believers. As one of my professors calls it, I begin to "navel gaze", looking to my own desires and safety, or even allowing my thoughts to be consumed with fears and "what if's". This leads to isolation and separation both from intimacy with the Lord and community with his people.
Praise to the One who redeems us from our sin so we are no longer captives to it! Now that I'm all the more aware and convicted, the steps forward are already laid out: repent and believe the good news ( Mark 1:15). It's a constant choice. But I wish I could tell you in person how much freedom is found right in that place of brokenness healed by Christ.
My hope is that these images will give you a glimpse of what it looks like to go from isolation and selfishness to fellowship and freedom. And if you have been in the same place, know you're not alone. Take courage.
Maybe you're familiar with the story of the woman caught in adultery who was brought before Jesus by those who wanted her stoned for her sin. Jesus then told the people, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” They all left.
"Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
- John 8:10-11
Forgiveness is found in Him.
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," - Romans 8:1
(Thank you Hayley and Magda for helping me with this project and for walking it through with me too!)