"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4 (NIV)

I am a magnet for strange.

Seriously.

Recently I was outside with my three dogs soaking up the sunshine. After being in snowy Pennsylvania the weekend before, I needed the warmth of the Carolinas to soak deeply into my bones. Southern girls don't do snow in the spring.

Anyhow, back to the sunshine and dogs. We got a new puppy named "Willow" for Christmas. Well, our other dogs Champ and Chelsea aren't sure what to think of precious, little three-pound, Willow.

She annoys them. In every way.

I thought it would be a good investment for the dog relations in our home if I spent time with them outside to help them all feel the love. So, I sat on the ground and loved on each dog.

They enveloped me in a flurry of wet kisses, fur, and stinky dog breath. I was having a ball. And they were all getting along. Bliss.

Until...Willow came and sat on my lap. Claiming the prized location of closeness with me, I don't think she realized the signal she was sending. Champ suddenly backed up and growled. His tail stopped wagging. And he was not happy.

"Oh Champ," I reassured him, "Willow is a baby. Be nice."

More growling.

"No sir! Champ, be nice. Come here. I can love on you while Willow sits in my lap," I reassured him once again, while rubbing behind his ears.

He seemed to be happy again, and licked my cheek.

More bliss.

But then, out of the blue, he walked beside me, looked straight at Willow, lifted his leg, and drenched me in tee-tee!

What in the world!? I couldn't believe what was happening.

After recovering from my shock and changing my clothes, I Googled it.

Some say Champ was marking his territory. "That's MY mama!"

His strong expression of "MINE" was a stark reminder to me of just how disgusting a heart bent on self can be. Champ couldn't enjoy all he was experiencing in the moment, because he was so laser focused on the one way he felt slighted.

SELFishness! ME! MINE! MINE! MINE!

Several years ago, God challenged me to recognize and refute selfishness by seeing — really seeing all that I've been given. And never looking at a blessing I was given as something just for me. I always make myself think two things...

1. Thank You, God, for entrusting this blessing to me. I know it is a gift from You.

2. How can I use this as an opportunity to bless someone else? The blessing will be more rewarding if it's not all about me.

Do these things come naturally? Not at first. Not in a 'me first,' Mine! Mine! Tee-tee on others kind of world.

But we aren't called to live according to the norm, doing what comes naturally.

We are called to rise above. Be set apart. Be different. Be pure in every way. "Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure" (1 John 3:3).

What blessing do you have that might need to be shared today? What blessing do I have that might need to be shared today?

Right in the midst of what we're doing today, how can we graciously and purely represent Christ as we RE-present Him everywhere we go?

Good stuff to ponder as I washed my smelly outfit that day.

Dear Lord, thank You for every good and perfect gift You have given me. Help me to put others before me and to have a heart to see them as You do. In Jesus' Name, Amen