I have noticed an interesting trend over the last few years in counseling and teaching. I often give homework to whomever I am currently working with. Anytime a book on narcissism has been a suggested reading assignment, that task has not been completed. In fact, this book is still brand new and sitting on my shelf. It’s pages are clean and crisp having never even had the spine slightly cracked open. I believe it is because we are all afraid of finding ourselves within the pages. What exactly defines a narcissist? There are different characteristics depending upon whether you are married, single, male or female. A good, general list for is noted below:
According to Medical News Today a person with narcissistic personality disorder typically shows some of the symptoms listed below:
They believe they are special, above others and rules
They believe they have a right for special treatment
Obsessed with themselves
Difficulties maintain long term relationships
When hurt they feel and act like a victim
Responds to criticism with anger, humiliation or shame
They boast about their own talents, achievements and importance
They have an exaggerated sense of self regarding their looks, intelligence and success
They have difficulties maintaining healthy relationships
Seek attention from others and positive reinforcement
Lack empathy towards others
They may believe their skills in romance are superior
In Jeremiah, God spoke to the prophet regarding two baskets of figs that represented His people:
24 After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken Jeconiah [who was also called Coniah and Jehoiachin] the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah [along] with the craftsmen and smiths into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, the Lord showed me [in a vision] two baskets of figs set before the temple of the Lord. 2 One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are the first to ripen; but the other basket had very bad figs, so rotten that they could not be eaten. 3 Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad figs, very bad, so rotten that they cannot be eaten.”
4 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the captives of Judah, whom I have sent from this place into the land of the Chaldeans. 6 For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not overwhelm them, and I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know Me, [understanding fully] that I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.
I don’ t know about you, but I want to be a good fig. I believe that one of the major roots of narcissism is pride. I don’t want to be rotten and smell so badly of pride that I am useless. This past month I have personally been asking the Lord to show me every place where pride is lurking in my life. He has been faithful to show me these areas. They were not on my radar at all and I needed His gentle voice to show me these silent offenders. I am counting on Him to continue to expose anything I need His help to conquer.
So how can we be less about ourselves and more about God’s business? I was going to take the list above and turn it into the anti-narcissistic list. But then I realized you can do that on our own. Just look at the quality and ask yourself what would be the opposite behavior in your own life? I was remembering a poem that was written many years ago by an unknown author. This person did not even want to take the credit for this most valuable piece of work. It has been circulated often, so you may have seen it before. If not, I hope it will bless you and help you grow in your walk with God.
DYING TO SELF
When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting or hurt with the oversight, but your heart is happy being counted worthy to suffer for Christ;
That is dying to self.When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinion ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence;
That is dying to self.When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any annoyance; when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus did;
That is dying to self.When you are content with any food, and offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God;
That is dying to self.When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or record your own good works or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown;
That is dying to self.When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and you are in desperate circumstances;
That is dying to self.When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit, inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart;
That is dying to self.
Are you dead yet?