Confessions of a Self-Absorbed Teenager

I remember the summer I was fourteen. My days consisted of sleeping late, rolling out of bed and into my swimsuit, setting up my tanning station on the deck, and basking in the sun for hours. Life was hard.

Back in the day everyone had landlines, and when the phone rang, you had to stop what you were doing and walk inside to answer it. You also had to answer every call, because there was no caller I.D. (We didn’t write on papyrus or travel by horse, but I know. Ancient times.) I would always answer the phone, because I didn’t want to miss the chance to go to a friend’s house, or better yet, to hear some cute guy’s voice on the other end of the line.

Usually, however, the phone calls were from my mom. She would call to check in on me or to ask me to do something like take chicken from the freezer so it could thaw before dinner. I remember being so annoyed with her. It was like she didn’t even care how much she was inconveniencing me. She was interrupting my tanning. She was asking me to do things. The nerve!

I’m embarrassed now by how utterly self-absorbed I was (and often still am)!

There was my mom, working full-time to help support our family, and while at the office she was thinking of what she would prepare for dinner that night. She would get up before the sun, work all day at one job, and then come home and spend the rest of her day, quite literally, serving us.

My mother did this faithfully, day after day, year after year. I recognized none of it. I appreciated none of it. All I could think about was how annoying it was that she would call and ask anything of me.

If we begin to see the world with grateful hearts, we’ll find mercy and grace everywhere—even in the difficult things.

Girls, don’t be like me!

Are there things in your life that you’ve forgotten to appreciate? Can you think of some ordinary grace you’re experiencing right now that you may have overlooked? Every day each of us experiences the love of God in many ways. The fact that we have breath in our lungs is only because He has seen fit to give it to us. I don’t know if I’ve ever stopped to thank God for the breath in my lungs.

When I find myself grumbling about something, that just means my heart is so full of discontentment that it’s spilling over onto those around me. Gratitude is the simple cure for that. If we begin to see the world with grateful hearts, we’ll find mercy and grace everywhere—even in the difficult things.

The Bible helps us when it says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16–18).

“Give thanks in all circumstances.” That’s not easy! It’s easy to focus on what we’re “lacking” and skip right over what has already been given to us. It takes faith and trust and the help of the Lord Himself to live a life filled with gratitude.

What if, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we stopped being so self-absorbed and began to notice and thank God for the thousands of ways He shows His love for us every single day? How freeing would that be? What if instead of focusing on ourselves or the things that annoy and upset us, we learned to magnify our loving Creator? To make much of Him?

He’s the only One who deserves all that attention anyway.

How many things can you think of to thank God for right now? Leave them in the comments section below! I can’t wait to read them.

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About Author

Jennifer Case Cortez

Jennifer Case Cortez is a literary-agent-turned-stay-at-home-mom. She loves connecting young women with God's Word, and her writing has been featured in the Mom's Bible, the Devotional Bible for Dads, and the Life Promises Bible. Jennifer loves playing her guitar, eating Nashville hot chicken, and hanging out with her husband Daniel and their four children: Sam, Joshua, Jacob, and Evelyn Grace.

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