I don't think there has been a day that has gone by since I got married that I haven't been reminded how ridiculously selfish I am. If there has been a day, then it was probably my selfishness that has kept me from noticing.
And when I say ridiculously selfish I mean both that my selfishness is ridiculous in size and scope.
For example: the other day I got upset with my wife because she wanted me to do things around the house that legitimately needed to be done when I wanted to be playing games on Facebook.
Yes, I'm serious.
Luckily, I realized at the time that I was being selfish and went and did what she asked, but I am sure I didn't treat her quite as well as i should have since there was still this twisted little voice reminding me that I could be relaxing.
Now, obviously I had been self-absorbed for my whole life before I got married, and i was somewhat aware of it when I was single; however, there is nothing like living with someone else everyday whom you love and want to treat well to really put a microscope to one's selfishness. Once you have kids, it gets even more efficient.
Luckily, I think it is having an effect on more than just my married/paternal life.
Recently, I have been reading the biblical book of Job. Toward the end of the book, God starts responding to Job's early complaining. It is one of my favorite parts of the Bible, because it is the only place I can think of where God uses sarcasm. It's kind of awesome.
Anyway, it really puts a spotlight on how huge and amazing God is. I think that, as a Christian, I acknowledge God's power and sovereignty, but it gets watered down in my head because I spend so much time on his forgiveness and holiness. I focus on God's perfection and how offensive my sin is and how gracious His act on the cross is to forgive my sin.
What I constantly forget is that the being that suffered for my sin is also the most sublimely powerful entity in existence. That He had to take on human form at all is such a grave insult to His immensity, such a loving condescension extended to us, that we should really never be off our faces in the dirt in thanksgiving and supplication.
Something I thought about the other day: if every living being in all creation, if every planet and star and black hole throughout existence, if ever atom and tiny fraction of energy in all the universes that may or may not exist, and if every demon and angel all together marshaled their power simultaneously and in an concert lashed out in rebellion and destructive force against The One True God, we couldn't produce enough might to even be a challenge to Him. He could wipe us away without even lifting a finger. A bare breath and we would all be obliterated.
So, when I constantly pray about my own piddly issues, I am being supremely selfish. It isn't that I shouldn't bring my concerns to God. He wants me to in His continuing act of supreme selflessness. The issue is not that I come to Him with my issues, it is that I give my own concerns so much weight while neglecting what He may want for me and for those around me. That I pray first for myself, then for others, and then for God's will is the zenith of arrogance, with the possible exception of those who do not acknowledge God at all.
This is what I want my children to know: the best thing you can do in your life is pay as little attention to yourself as possible. Pay attention to God first, chase His will, the rest will work out.