The Aïe Aïes of the “I”… What kind of a title is this? It sounds like total nonsense!
A linguist would tell you that “Aïe” is the French way of saying “Ouch”. Therefore, the title literally means: “The Ouch, Ouch of the ‘I'”.
Still confusing, isn’t it?
But then, whenever we talk about the “I” it WILL be confusing!
The world (which includes each of us!) Is obsessed with “self”. We tend to spend most of our efforts looking out for good ol’ number 1! We are concerned about “our” rights, we worry about “our” pleasures and how we will spend “our” leisure time. We are concerned for what is important to “us”, to what touches “us” and “our” families! And woe be it to anyone who tries to interfere with “our” concerns! Thus, the “I” becomes more important than anything or anyone else!
Take, for example, your colleague, Harry. Is it fair that he was promoted instead of you? Haven’t you put in just as many hours of hard work these last couple of years? Didn’t you deserve that promotion? So often we fail to rejoice with the blessings that are bestowed upon our friends because of jealousy! The “I” gets in the way!
Is it possible that this is why so many walk around with serious addictions, and although they try everything to break their bad habits, they remain unsuccessful? Is it possible that this is why unhappiness and even suicide are on the rise? Because hope in “self” leads to disillusionment? Is it possible that this is why so many children and spouses are abandoned? Because the search for “self”-happiness takes precedence? Is this why so many of us can never be truly satisfied? Because material pursuits cannot truly bring happiness? Is it possible that focus on the “I” will only cause us pain, will only cause us to say “Ouch!”?
“It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.” (Gal 5:19-21 The Message)
So is there a cure?
You bet! And it’s a simple one! Instead of concentrating on the “Aïe aïs” of the “I”, let’s start focusing on real, unselfish love-the kind that that excludes the disenchanting “I”!
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matt 22:37-39 NIV)
“Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13 NIV)
Jesus is our guide to real happiness! “I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” (Phil 4:12-13 The Message)
Happiness can only be found in One, Jesus Christ. And the act of interaction with His beloved creation allows us to access that happiness.
Years ago in my wilder days, I was obsessed with popular music. My weekly highlight was the Top 40. I would not only faithfully listen to it every Saturday, but I made very neat lists (difficult for me, as my writing is worse than a doctor’s!) of every single hit on the “hit parade”. Nothing and no one could stop me from listening to my obsession. If for some reason, there was a TV show I didn’t want to miss that was being broadcasted at the same time, I would do both at the same time. I have no idea how I ever remained sane in such conditions, as multi-tasking isn’t a strong point for me, but then again, it could be argued that in those days, I wasn’t truly “sane”!
What I was doing back then was nurturing the “I”. Oh, I could be friendly with others and I could dedicate time for them, but only as long as it didn’t interfere with “my” schedule, with my “precious” Top 40. I really was in the middle of the “Aïe aïes of the ‘I'”!
This only began to change when I fell heads over heels in love with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Oh, the “I” is still in existence, but by the grace of God, it is slowly decreasing. My motto has become: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NKJV)
Too many of us accept Jesus as our Saviour, but too few of us accept Him as our Lord and Master as well! No wonder we are headed for so many catastrophes!
As long as I try to satisfy my “I”, I will never be truly satisfied! As long as I try to find my own freedom, I will never be truly free! Instead, I will wallow in the pain brought about by “I” focus, I will flounder in the “Aïe Aïes of the ‘I'”!
Reality is: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matt 20:16 NIV); and “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) The “I” interferes far too often, and it is the primary cause of us missing out on real happiness!
“I wonder…” Here I go again with my “I”!
(To view the entire “The “I” devotional series, please click here.)