'Am I a narcissist?'
No 'hello; how are you': nothing, just another blurtation, something I was getting quite used to when conversing with my 'friend', Jeremiah Bereano!
Although I was sorely tempted to reply with the rudeness that he began the conversation with ( 'He started it!' ) by affirming what somebody else had obviously had the 'guts' to tell him to his face, and tell him that, 'YES'; he was indeed a narcissist of the highest order, I held my natural feelings in check, and asked him instead why he would ask that. ( I wasn't even for sure what the word meant, exactly! )
'Do you even know what a narcissist is?', he asked. Not even waiting ( politely ) for a reply; my friend went on, answering his own question, 'the definition that I found on-line, at dictionary.com, is 'inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity', and number two is even worse, 'Psychoanalysis. erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.'
( Wow; I was glad that I hadn't succumbed and told him that he was a narcissist: he was a little ego-centric, thought a bit much of himself, but he wasn't THAT bad! )
Not yet acknowledging that he had asked me a question that I hadn't really answered yet; I asked him again, 'why would you ask me that?
I could tell, as immature as he could be at times, that he was ready to fire back with the much-used 'I asked you first!', but instead, he, almost petulantly replied that he had been getting the feeling lately that people thought that he took himself too seriously, that he took too much on himself, as if he had something that they, or others, didn't have.
Further 'skirting' his blatant question; I asked him; Do you think too much of yourself? Do you take too much on yourself? Do you think that you have something that others don't?'
My friend must have really been hurting, because instead of coming back with something like, 'Are you mocking me?' ( which I kinda was ), he replied that he wondered about that himself, sometimes. 'Am I really sharing my gift, ministering, even preaching as I am, or am I just using my 'gift' as a 'crutch', as an excuse not to be concerned with DOING something else I should be ( though, sometimes I wonder if I'm equipped for that )?'
'Do you believe that you should be doing something other than what you are doing?', I asked.
'Well', he replied, 'maybe not something 'other' than what I have been doing, but something else as well as what I've been doing!'
I aked him then ( I should have asked this first, probably ), 'Do you believe that God has called you to do what you've been doing?'
'Yes', he quickly replied!
'Do you believe that He called you to do this other thing that you're so obviously worried about?'
'Of course', he ( almost as quickly and vehemently ) replied!
Where's the problem then', I asked,' if God gave you both tasks; don't you believe that He would give you the ability to 'carry it off'? 'If you're wondering if he's given you the ability to DO what He's given you to do, then maybe it's not He that's given it to you to do, but you yourself who only ( because of a guilty conscience, or whatever ) think that it's your job, that you only think it's what you ought, or need to do!' 'Doesn't He tell us, in other words, in the Scriptures, that HHe won't give us more than we can handle, and that He always gives us the ability along with a 'charge'?'
'Well, yes', he replied, 'but...........'
'No 'buts' about it', I said ( I was on a roll now ), 'God has given you a gift, my friend, and if you feel that He has called you to it, along with the other; then you better be occupied, to the best of your ability, with doing both!' 'If you don't feel like God has given you, or that He's taken away from you, the ability to do one or the other, then maybe you'd better examine yourself and realize that maybe the problem IS you, not that you're a narcissist, but that you've begun to trust you're own feelings more than God and, for whatever reason, have given up on both accounts!'
As soon as I said it; I was almost sorry that I had, because I could tell from the silence on the other end that I had struck a 'nerve'. ( in fact, I could almost smell the tears )
After a few moments of stunned silence; Jeremiah ( almost crying now ) feebly ( and humbly ) re-phrased ( and re-formed ) his question, making it more of a statement, 'So you DO think I'm a narcissist!'
'No', I said, 'but maybe just a little too reliant on your feelings sometimes, a bit egotistical as well, and too concerned ( even to the point of worrying ) about what others think, or might think about you, and what they might think about what you believe that God has given you to do.' 'Be a man', I said, 'don't apologize for what you believe God has given you!' 'If you believe so strongly that God has given you a job to do ( whatever that job may be ), then you'd better be DOING it, no matter how hard it is, or wwhat feelings you're getting from people!'
I could tell that my friend needed some 'quiet time' right now, so after a little of our usual ( not quite the usual ) 'banter'; I gave him some lame excuse about someone at the door, or having to make another call, or something like that..................
'Goodbye, Jer; trust God to help you get things sorted out; ask for His wisdom and remember; I stilll love you, and I'll be praying for you, brother!'
'I love you too, man', he quietly replied, 'bye, Chuck!'
I hung up the phone, breathing a silent prayer ( and a sigh of relief )............