19/06/2018

Side-Stepping The Ego

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 11:58 am by The Water Bearer

 

 


It was just a normal day when it revealed itself, nothing out of the ordinary. I’d just put fuel in my car and casually asked the cashier if she could break a twenty into two tens. She grimaced furiously and fumbled through her till, making out my request was a huge insult. Then I heard it. A voice from inside me, silent but powerful. It said “Don’t F@#* with me Lady! Either you can or you can’t!” Yet I just barely noticed it as I swallowed it back down.

She ummed and aah’d for a few seconds and I felt for a moment as if I could read her thoughts, she was assessing if helping me was going to hinder her in some way, and rather than just apologising and saying ‘Sorry I can’t help you’, she made damn sure I knew I was putting her out. The voice inside me spoke again, it said “I don’t remember ordering a side of guilt with my change!” As she reluctantly handed me my two ten dollar notes, she said “I will this time, but we don’t have the same facilities as a bank.” I had already thanked her and was half way out the door when I heard her final jab. I’ve learned over the years not to always voice out loud my inside voice, yet I still paused at the door, took a sarcastically curious look around the small fuel shop and said “Oh really! Why don’t you? How unusual!” and headed out the door, chuckling to myself a little. The voice said “Whatever lady. I won that round!”

Do you ever wonder, or is it just me, why deep down so many of us are extremely motivated by our self-importance, our self-worth, our self-image? In other words, our Ego….. We protect ourselves almost instinctively in these areas.

The ego is always trying to attach itself to things to try to form our identity, such as our image or status, our reputation, our relationships, our success, our career, our talents, dreams and even our trauma. It takes this job very seriously, plus its also quite an attention seeker, becoming the loudest voice in our thoughts. It can become excessive and out of hand when we fail to develop our true identity.

When I look to the cross I see none of that in Christ. I see total acceptance, no expectations, no defensiveness, no victim mentality and no identity crisis. How juxtapose I feel to Him in this state..

Still, I’ve had this feeling lately that I’m supposed to figure out how to adopt Christ-likeness into this area of my inner self.

I had a somewhat troubled childhood. There was an atmosphere of distrust, accusations and rejection. And as a way to protect myself from these ‘dangers’, I developed a specific ego-personality which my therapist and I have recently named, The Sargent Major.

The Sgt Major inside me is a powerhouse, and to be perfectly honest, she’s a little neurotic. If you’ve ever crossed her, you’ll know what I mean! She’s driven to protect me by standing up for myself, calling people out on their crap, magnifying my sense of authority and control, judging if the situation is safe or if I need to become assertive and defend myself or my loved ones. These aren’t necessarily “bad” traits, but rather inappropriate in some circumstances.

If we’ve come to recognise how untrustworthy our ego voice is, we may realise as we grow and mature, that there is no need to be so defensive all the time. Sure we need to have a level of control over our children, or those we are in charge of. We need to create an honest trustworthy social group to relax, enjoy and feel pleasure with others. And sometimes we may need to square up in the face of being bullied, threatened or falsely accused. But perhaps, like me, you’ve recognised that extreme defensive traits can be tamed, and have learned to control some of the outward reactions sparked by this ego-personality. We yell less, or avoid arguments, we stay out of violent situations, we apologise more, we learn to calm our ego and let go of some control and find more peace.

The trouble is that my Sgt Major has been around since I was a toddler, and therefore is very deeply woven into the fabric of me. So, even though I’ve learned to somewhat manage her more superficial responses, I am now noticing the subtle or unconscious ways she still surfaces. I’ve noticed this is usually in the places where I feel most vulnerable. In my roles as a parent or a sibling, when I’m explaining what my business/ministry is, or even in my writing.

It’s pretty useless trying to refresh faith and self-awareness or explain an amazing program that stretches out muscles tension, calms the mind and deepens faith when you’re unconsciously being anxious and defensive! (Sigh*)

The wonderful news is that I’ve seen this movie before and I know how it ends. Once I become aware, I fall at the feet of my Saviour. I recognise the way Christ dealt with rejection, false accusations, betrayal and criticism and I meditate on it. Through meditation we become more aware of the ego chatter in our mind and realize how little of it applies to our current situation. Paying attention to our subconscious self-talk gives us more opportunities to choose to deny ourselves, welcome the Holy Spirit and accept the cross we have been given to bear.

“Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

We have a meditation that we use often in our Sanctuary Stretch classes that soothes our inner child. We visualise going back to our child self and bring self-compassion, wisdom and reassurance to those deeply ingrained ego traits and allow God’s grace and mercy to gently ease our soul into acceptance and new levels of Christ-likeness.

It may take a while to subdue the Sgt Major to a more Christ-like state, and to teach her to know her place, yet I feel an amazing sense of understanding and awareness flooding out of me. No one said it would be easy, I may struggle occasionally but I will seek, I will surrender, I will grow, and I will share it all with you, so we can all grow together on this Crusade towards Serenity!

 

 


 

 

 

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