The Secret Life of a Selfless Giver with Selfish Tendencies

Anyone who knows me can attest that I genuinely enjoy helping people. Why do I offer to stay at work until 2:30am at times or tutor students in chemistry when I really don’t have the time? It’s because of that feeling you get when you know someone is appreciating the work you are doing for them. This world needs more goodness in it, and I want to help spread it, but I got to thinking, at the root of it all, is my service for the good of others or for myself?

Let’s rewind back to my high school days. My mind back then was focused on getting into college, so I did anything that would look good on an application. National Honor Society, Key Club, Spanish Honor Society… if it involved service of some kind, I probably dabbled in it. Sure, I enjoyed being able to provide service to others, but in reality, I only volunteered for my personal gain.

Now I’ve grown a lot since my days in high school. I now realize that life on Earth is so unpredictably short, so I need to fill my time with the things that truly matter to me. For instance, Royal Family Kids Camp will forever be a part of my life. I can genuinely say that attend camp to help the kids witness God’s love. If my heart wasn’t in it for the right reasons, I wouldn’t ever make it through the week because working with foster children is exhausting. These kids come with a lot of emotional baggage, and if you go in with selfish intentions, God won’t have the space to work in your camper.

That being said, though, I still have moments where my selfish inclinations start outweighing my desire to be selfless. At a stressful day of work, sometimes I only focus on my paycheck or the fact that this will help me get into medical school. Other days make me realize how much I love caring for my residents. Can I just say that I love elderly people because they are wise, witty, and all around wonderful? The other day, I helped a lady fix her drawer and they next moment she was giving me a hug because she was so grateful for my help. I love it when I can take the extra 30 seconds to make my residents feel happy, important, and beautiful/handsome.

I was reading my Bible the other day, and I stumbled upon 1 Corinthians 13 about love. Verse 5 spoke to me in particular stating that love “does not seek its own interests”. It was a crucial reminder to me that the love I share with the people I serve needs to be selfless. If I am giving of time to others, but I do it for my own accord, I‘m not showing Christ’s love.

In a few weeks, I will be co-leading a group of about 10 college students down to Little Rock, Arkansas for a children’s medical service trip at the hospital there. It will be really easy to get stuck in a rut of just seeing how this is a great opportunity for my future. After all it will be great leadership and medical experience. This trip, though, is not about making myself feel good; it’s about listening to the stories of the families I meet, encouraging others to have faith in the team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who are taking care of their child, and engaging with the children so that they can have time to relax and to just have fun. As I continue to get older, I hope that I work through my selfishness and instead serve others with unconditional, selfless love.

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Lots of love,

Hannah

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