from Rachel: I Think Too Much of Myself

Did you struggle with an intense focus on yourself in your teenage years?

“Not like that, I was more of a Daria than a Quinn. But I was also rather a Hermione, so I definitely wanted all my work perfect to impress my teachers, and I relished in their praise and attention.”

List some ways you have thought too much of yourself.

“Just last week it was hard not to get a bit of an ego boost from all the praise of how helpful I was, how prepared for every problem (Ace bandages to DayQuil to wasp catching), and even how neatly my suitcase was packed.

“Oh, and I love the surprised looks and comments when people learn I have a 21-year-old son. I know it won’t last, but I enjoy it for now.”

Describe in a sentence or two how you have dealt with the self focus that plagues us all.

“I try to let it go and not dwell on it. It is often difficult, though.”

How has self focus changed through the years for you?

“I’ve always been mistaken for younger than my age (probably largely due to my short stature), but the older I get, the better it feels – the more I revel in it.”

Mark any of the things below that might be a symptom of you thinking about yourself too much.

“I have lots to offer this world and I just want everyone to know.

“I want what I want and feel entitled to it.”

What would you write as a spiritual moral to the story of the woman who stopped yelling?

“Yelling becomes part of the problem, not the solution, so stop yelling and help make things better.”

Is God asking you to make a radical attitude decision? If you could stop thinking about yourself too much, what kind of woman do you think you could become?

“I’m sure he would like me to become a better wife and a better mother and a better friend by thinking of myself less and of others more.”

Dearest Rachel –

You and I had that in common, where we sought validation from authority figures, rather than our peers, during our youth. To be honest, I think I still do, although there are a lot fewer people who qualify as an ‘authority figure’ at this age. Still, it means I have fewer places I need to look at for that validation, I suppose.

As for your pride in being crazy-prepared during our trip to Israel, that was just the way you always traveled; the fact that it came in handy – and gratified certain others who needed what you’d bothered to bring – simply provided additional validation to your choice of not packing light. It’s a lesson that I, by contrast, have refused to learn.

Between that and the pleasure of creating surprise when people found out about Daniel’s age, I could easily say that no one would blame you for finding pleasure in the reactions of people. It’s human nature to be pleased with that kind of validation. The problem, however, exists in the fact that we are supposed to transcend our human nature – which you promptly admit is a difficult proposition.

For what it’s worth, I’m sure that there was always room for improvement, but I can’t imagine having had a better wife – or, for that matter, a better friend. I can’t speak for being a better mother; certainly, Daniel was always closer to you than to me. Indeed, it may be that it’s me that needs to improve, and the Lord’s given me the time and focus to make up for my shortcomings in that arena in your absence. Thus far, I don’t think I’m doing too well at it, though.

With that in mind, honey, wish me luck. I’m going to need it (as will Daniel, for that matter).

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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