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The Golden Calf in the Mirror

I tend to have selective selflessness.  There are certain people in my life that I would give the shirt off my back to, but most of the time, I only think of myself, never putting others needs before my own...  I wish I could say that there are lots of people I would give the shirt off my back to, but sadly, that would not be true.  Only a very few have experienced a selfless Karen...

When I do live in an attitude of giving and selflessness, it hasn't been based on how much I love a person.  In fact, I can be the most selfish around those I love the most.  There are just certain people that seem to invoke a selfless spirit within me...

I am not by nature a people pleaser.   But maybe, if I were to be honest with myself, there is a component of people-pleasing which motivates me to act selfless toward certain people which turns a selfless act into a selfish act; serving my own need for affirmation rather than genuinely serving the other person.

The Golden Calf in the Mirror stares back at me demanding worship; it's all about Karen, Karen, Karen.

They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it...  
Exodus 32:8

Selfish act after selfish act crafted the golden calf in the mirror.

Reinforced behavior that consumes...  ME, ME, ME

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh...
Romans 8:5

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
James 3:16

I recently started reading A Prisoner and Yet by Corrie Ten Boom.  A book of reflections highlighting the many evidences of God's presence with Corrie in the concentration camp and His strength which carried her through some of the most horrific circumstances a person could endure.

Corrie describes a time spent in solitary confinement where the Lord blessed her with weekly Red Cross care packages containing sandwiches and delectable treats which lifted her spirits in otherwise detestable circumstances.  She spent six weeks in solitary confinement with no other human contact except when they threw her daily rations or weekly care package to her.  Then a day came when her cell door was swung open and a frightened woman was thrust into her cell.  Corrie was so happy to finally have a companion.  She wanted to make her new cell mate as comfortable as possible.  It filled Corrie with great joy to share the food and treats from her Red Cross care package with the woman. She had longed to share her food with someone else... to share the blessing...

Sadly, I could not at all relate to this selfless act.  Anyone can tell you that when it comes to food, ESPECIALLY when I am hungry, watch out!  I admit that if there are two pieces of cake left, I will take the bigger piece.  Or if I have packed a snack and someone else hasn't and we are in a situation where lunch or dinner will be delayed, and they are just as hungry as I am, I won't share my snack.  I can't believe I am even admitting this!  It is really not pretty - not pretty at all...

Yet here Corrie was, in deplorable conditions, with very little food to eat daily, hungry, dirty and cold, who when she finally receives these wonderful treats from the Red Cross care package, all she can think of is that she wished she could share the blessing with someone else.  And indeed, when the opportunity presents itself, that is EXACTLY what she does, and with great joy!

O what conviction I felt reading Corrie's words!  How selfless! Thinking of others comfort before her own.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one 
another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

Corrie's life was lived selflessly with Christ at the center.  The Jewish people fled to Corrie's family's underground oasis for protection; where she compassionately served each and every person that came through their doors.  Corrie thrived on serving.

Even while being interrogated during her imprisonment, she boldly stated that when she was released, she would devote her life to serving and helping others.  Selfless acts that had already cost her dearly...  She would do all over again...

 And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’” And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell.  And Moses said, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.”
Exodus 32:27-29

The Truth of the above verses in Exodus hit me hard with conviction...

Serving with the Lord comes at a cost; dying to self, and obeying God's call, no matter how hard the request.

I don't know about you, but surrender of self can be so hard, ESPECIALLY when the Lord is calling me to do a hard thing.

Yet indeed we are called to die to self daily and live out each day for Him.

and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, 
but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
2 Corinthians 5:15

The words of the above verse seared my soul.  Do I truly live for Christ each and every day??  Sadly, I do not.

Oh that 2 Corinthians 5:15 would be on my mind every minute of every day.  How selfless would my life be if I would no longer live for myself but for Him who died and rose again for ME!

Reading about Corrie Ten  Boom's home life, her compassionate service to the Jewish people, and her love for the Lord was intoxicating.   I found myself caught up in the moments as they were described.  Corrie gave 150% in selfless acts of love.  Her beautiful testimony welled up a strong desire in me to begin to live selflessly.

Even though self can feel like it overrules our lives, I truly believe that we, as Children of God, are wired to be selfless.

Look at how many opportunities God provides to each of us to meet another persons needs throughout any given day.  If we are honest with ourselves, there are countless ways in a day to serve others.

I think that indeed helping and serving others, with pure motives, as ambassadors for Christ, can be intoxicating, creating a desire to serve more and more.

O that we would have eyes to see past self to the needs of others and hearts to seek a life lived selflessly for Christ.

The Golden Calf in the Mirror will then fade away, and the reflection of Christ will shine brightly.

You might find me on these link-ups:
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  1. THank you for sharing about Corrie's book. I read The Hiding Place last year for the first time, and look forward to reading this one, too. Like, you I was struck by, not only her self-lessness but her sister's as well. Have a blessed week, Karen!

    1. June, You are very welcome!

      Oh I agree! To have the peace that Betsie had in the midst of such horrors is such an incredible testimony. She was such a gentle spirit. Corrie and Betsie balanced each other beautifully.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Wow! Thank you for your honesty. I can think of times that I have acted with selfishness rather than selflessness that sound similar to yours. It is hard to admit. I love how God is working on your heart through Corrie's book which sounds like a fascinating read. Thank you for sharing so openly with us.

    1. Mary, You are welcome. It wasn't hard for me to face as I read Corrie's testimony, but it convicted me hard.

      I have always loved "mentoring books". I have grown the most spiritually when I read about the saints before us.

      It is indeed such a good book!

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. You have blessed me. :-)

  3. Oh, I can totally relate to not wanting to share my food! I have learned to bring along snacks for a crowd anytime I'm out and about ;). You're spot on about the selective selfishness. I, too, am guilty of that. I'm very selfish about my quiet time and alone time and I get cranky if it gets interrupted.

    1. I like your idea of bringing extra along!

      Oh I can relate to that too!

      I appreciate so much your joining in the conversation here. Thank you!

  4. Karen, thank you for being so open and vulnerable about this area that many of us struggle in. I pray that we will actively look for opportunities to serve and follow Jesus' example.
    Blessings to you!

    1. Marva, Thank you for your kind and encouraging words.


      Thank you so much for stopping by. :-)

  5. It should be easy to show mercy when you are rich. It should be easy to show charity when you are in control. The challenge is to show love when you are suffering, not apt, and scared. Giving us such circumstances is the way of a Satan to make us hate. Pray we have such surety in Christ that we cope. God bless you.

    | |

    1. Anders, Thank you for sharing such beautifully written insights.


      Blessings to you too.

  6. What a beautiful testimony Corrie had in the way she lived her life! It really demonstrates her complete trust in God knowing that he would always be with her. I have read The Hiding Place but had not heard of the book you mention. Blessings! I'm visiting from the #LMMLinkup.

    1. Gayl, She certainly did!

      Thanks so much for joining in the conversation here. I appreciate it so much!


  7. Beautiful words, sweet friend! So encouraging today! I am still not getting your posts in our inbox, so I am never notified as to when you have posted. Due to the recent changes in Google, I can no longer receive any emails from the "", which is where your blog emails are generated from (for those who are subscribed via email). I was wondering if you had ever considered using your email address as the return address or using another means of sending them out (such as mailchimp)? If I am no longer getting them, I am wondering if your other subscribers may not be getting them either? Just wanted to bring it to your attention, as I surely miss your posts. It is hard to find time to actually visit all of the blogs I am subscribed to, and it is so much easier to just get them in our inbox! God bless you, dear Karen! I so appreciate you, your encouragement, and your heart for God!

    1. Cheryl, Thank you for always lifting me up with your encouragement and love. :-)

      This is so frustrating. My husband, who is also signed up to receive emails, says he is still getting them. However, in the last few weeks, I have noticed a significant drop in page views that I couldn't make sense of. I had someone else tell me about this. So I did the fix, but then I couldn't use my google account properly, so I reverted back. (This explains why when I comment on other peoples blog posts, many times I don't get a response.) I just googled around again and the weird thing is, the "test" is to comment on your own blog and see if the email says "no-reply blogger". Mine doesn't say that, it gives my email address.

      So it looks like I'll have to go back to the drawing board to figure out what is going on. I appreciate you letting me know. Thank you!!

  8. I struggle with this too. And most often with the people closest to me. Thank you for sharing honestly from your heart. I'll have to check out that book by Corrie Ten Boom. I've not read that one.

    1. Barbie, You are welcome. And thank you for sharing as well. :-)

  9. I relate to this too much! It's so easy to fall into selfishness, or to do what seem like selfless acts but with the wrong motives. Corrie Ten Boom's example is so challenging. I loved "The Hiding Place" but I haven't read her other books. I'll have to check this one out.

    1. Carly, Thanks for sharing from your heart.

      Indeed, Corrie's example is challenging!

      You will be so blessed by reading A Prisoner and Yet.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. :-)

  10. I appreciate your transparency here, as I suspect we can all relate to what you've shared. So often those things that appear to have an air of "selflessness" are actually cloaking selfish motives. I'm so grateful for God's continued work in the lives of His children, and the way He patiently forgives, restores, and refines us to more clearly reflect the image of His Son. Thank you for sharing with us at Grace & Truth!

    1. Jennifer, Thank you so much for joining in on the conversation.


      You are very welcome!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. :-)

  11. What a wonderful post and an important reminder. I, like you tend to be most selfish with those around me. I felt convicted as I read your post and feel that deep changes need to be made. I appreciate your honesty and for sharing these snippets of Corrie Ten Boom's life.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely evening.

    1. Jennifer, Thanks so much for your encouraging words.

      I appreciate your joining in the conversation. :-)

      Same to you. Blessings.

  12. Corrie ten Boom has lived such an inspiring life! Thanks so much for linking up at Booknificent Thursday this week on!

    1. Tina, She certainly has!

      You are very welcome! :-)


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