Kindness or Selflessness?

Who is in control of your body? Your time? Your decisions?

I have a friend who asked me an intriguing question. She said, “Are selflessness and kindness the same thing?”

I thought about her question all day. Then I thought about her question the next day and the next. My brain wants to produce a black and white answer, but my heart seems to think it’s a bit more gray.

I still have to work out my thoughts on this, but I wanted to share what I’ve come up with so far in hopes that you can add or subtract, or at the very least, we can get a variety of opinions on the board.

Will the answer to this question change the world? No. But it just might change the way we approach the “want to” versus the “have to” chores in our lives.

My initial viewpoint is that selflessness is about being obedient to our roles. We have roles as wives and mothers and friends that often call us to give selflessly when we’d rather not.

Kindness seems more fun than that. Kindness is like a secret passageway through which God blesses us while we bless others.

We get a “helper’s high” from being kind, but that doesn’t always happen when we’re being selfless.

If selflessness feels overwhelming and is wearing us down, maybe we need to go back to the beginning and ask ourselves some questions: “Who is in control here? Who is in control of my body, my time, and my decisions?”

If your mother calls to chat just after you go to bed every night, even though you’ve asked her not to, you have a choice. You can either pick up the phone or let it go to voicemail. Yes, there may need to be another difficult conversation the next day when you remind her again that 11pm doesn’t work for you, but you remain in control. You control the amount of sleep you get or the amount of drama you let into your life just before you head off to bed.

When my wicked flesh screams out that it wants to be in control, instead of arguing with it, I work around it. When I have to do the dishes (even though it was someone else’s chore), I maintain my sense of control by telling myself, “I am the mom and I am choosing to do this for my children.” But don’t let me fool you, I am still a serious work in progress on this one.

Sometimes I have to take it a step further. Sometimes there is something that I really don’t want to do. Or a situation that puts me in a place where I have to give even though that wasn’t my plan. In those situations, I look up.

God is God and I am not. I’m just a person. What makes me so special that I can’t humble myself to help out just because it wasn’t “in my plan”? It’s God’s job to keep that wicked flesh of mine in check, and I think acts that require selflessness do that.

God knows, those are some of the most beautiful experiences of all, because I still get to be in control. (Okay, I get to be second; God’s first.) Those are the times when I get to say, “God, I don’t want to do this, but I think you’ve set this up for me. So I am going to do this as an act of obedience to you.”

An act of selflessness may not be as fun as a random act of kindness, but when it becomes a moment of worship and humility, I guarantee you’ll gather the blessings.

So enough from me. What do you think? Please share your comments on Facebook. I can’t wait to hear from you!

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