Love is Not Self-Seeking

I have a friend who wears a t-shirt that says, “I have gone to find myself. If I get back before I return, please keep me here.”

To me, that’s a clear picture of how confusing the journey of self-discovery can be, which, as a society, we’re pretty obsessed with. We go off backpacking through Europe or take up basket weaving in search for clarity (like the basket’s gonna show you who you are).

But Scripture shows us a different way. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:5, “Love is not self-seeking.”

I always took that verse simply to mean that if I have God’s love in my life, I should live to bless other people, which, I think, is an accurate interpretation. However, it occurred to me the other day that maybe Paul is also informing us of the way we should relate to the search for identity and the quest for fulfillment in life. Love is not self-seeking also means when God’s love comes into my life, I give up trying to find myself.

“…look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

The crazy thing is, when we do this, that is actually when we find our real, true selves.

As C.S. Lewis famously wrote, “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

I have this book on my shelf titled Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. It’s written for anyone who wants to create more in their life, and it’s all about ridding yourself of the need to be original when you create, because, in reality, nothing is original, and if you think something is original, you probably just don’t know the sources.

The point is: good art isn’t made in isolation or by avoiding others so I can showcase my own originality. Good artists find themselves as they discover others.

Living in God’s love is like making good art. You have to check your ego. The idea that my originality—me, my needs, my desires, my plans, my fears, my ideas of what works in life—is the star of the show must die. I have to die. I find myself when I quit looking for myself and start living for Him and for other people.

Creative Writer at Light Bearers

Allie is our on-staff writer, poet, and narrator. Allie graduated from ARISE in 2012.