That moment when you realize that you have been acting against God.
Oh, you did not view it that way, of course. You were doing it for the very best of reasons - if you were really selfless, you were doing it for someone else (You were not, of course. But it is always better to think that you are).
God tries to tell you, of course. You hit a wall, bounce off. If you were paying attention to what was going on around you, you would have realized that things were never going to go "your way" in the situation. But somehow you magically ignore that and try again and again, always with the same result.
"Ah", you say to yourself. "It must be because I am not serious and committed to (fill in the blank)".
And then, when you least expect it, that something seems to move in your direction.
You are ecstatic. Finally, the noble intentions of your heart were able to do (fill in the blank). You have enriched this situation, you have helped this person - you are doing it! You fell yourself to be smack in the middle of God's will.
Never mind, of course, that you really are not, that if you looked at it clinically (the way you look at anyone else in the same situation) you would sniff your nose in disdain. 'That X. They are always out for themselves. Is this not evident to everyone?"
But then you fall flat. On your face. In fact, so flat on your face it is pressed into the earth. You get up after a while but somehow in the back of your mind, something is wrong. A thought is back there, the thought that maybe, just possibly, something is amiss. You examine it, perhaps even roast yourself a bit over the coals of remorse - but all in the context of not questioning the underlying assumption. You were "helping" - maybe just not in the right way.
But then you try again. And get batted out of the sky like a cat catching a bird on lift off.
And then - maybe only then - you begin to see things very clearly.
It was never about you. Your actions were ultimately about you, but not the situation or relationship. Ultimately that was about something else, what God was doing in someone else's life. You misunderstood your role: you were meant as a support or resting place or even a pack mule to carry someone else. But it was never meant to end in or at you.
You were the obstacle. You became the wall or wandering path or time sink that diverted the person from where they were really going, moved the situation away from what it was supposed to be about. in the very worst of cases, you were in fact the very thing blocking them from where they were meant to go.
And just like that, everything turns to ash in your hands and in your mouth.
It is at that moment that you have one of two choices. The first choice is to simply snap yourself back into the illusion of how you were before. To think that the realization somehow will allow you to approach things or people differently next time (It will not, of course).
The second one, the far more painful one to the ego, is to -with actual humility - admit that this is what you have really been doing all the time. And then to accept the fact - really accept it in your heart, not just in your head - that you are more than likely the support, the resting place, the pack mule.
And that it really, really is not about you. And that your reward lies not in doing the situation or having the relationship or being with the person, but in simply obedience to the role - that actual role - that God has called you too.
Does it mean that such things will never work out? I would be a fool to say "No" definitively, but to say "Yes" would mean a level of obedience and humility that I have never yet been able to observe. But I suspect that those who actually do this would never actually consider things "working out" in their favor as an option at all. They understand what their real role is.