Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let It Go - Ego and All

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.  
What you say flows from what is in your heart
Luke 6:45

As some of you may know, I am participating in an online bible study that is reading 'Let it Go' by Karen Ehman.  The last two chapters (6 & 7) of the book have sure shed some not so great light on me! Challenging me to decipher all aspects of my family life - leaning towards, I am just not perfect (does that surprise you!? I am sure not).
In this last chapter I determined I really have a BIG, BIG ego!  Yes, I have an ego. I went through life thinking that was truly a man thing - ha, I was mistaken.  I think mine might be just as big if not bigger than my husbands! (all written in love guys!)   Karen says, Lets face it, women who have control of the clock are viewed as confident and capable, especially by their slower sisters who often struggle to stay true to task' - 'Control of the Clock' - that's me! I'm up at the crack of dawn, hitting the gym - feeding my dogs - getting Blair's turkey bacon cooked, and am prepared to hit my home office around 8:00 am!  I am GREAT at controlling the clock! ~or ladies,  am I just great at attempting to control it  (for not just myself but everyone else in my home as well)....  and wait a minute, it says we are "VIEWED" as confident and capable - it certainly doesn't mean we are ~ or always are.   I love when someone says "Hey Kelley, how in the world do you do all you do!?" - it boosts my ego a little more each time. I feel good walking into a room "in my egg" for everyone to know who I am.  Unfortunately, this confident capable person that thinks she's doing so much and getting so much accomplished is truly sinking....YES sinking.  I run around 'barking' orders to my family, getting all uptight when I'm a little behind schedule - or when someone doesn't do something that fits into my picture perfect plan....the truth is it's time to (pg 140) 'step off the treadmill long enough to evaluate - to determine whether the problem lies in the speed at which I've cranked the machine or how high I  have set the incline'  I already know the answer.  Do you?
"A soft answer turns away wrath, / but a harsh word stirs up anger" 
(Proverbs 15:1 (ESV
-----that being said, Karen says, 'the spirit reminds me to find my identify in Christ, not in a facade of capability and certainly not in others opinions of me'. Oh how difficult this is for an approval-addict'   Yes, I know that I am an Approval Addict. Can you see yourself in any of the following? I do ~ and reading them on paper doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy - makes me feel LESS THAN the perfect I strive for - puts a little tiny hole in my own personal EGO balloon. Check the list out:
~ You consider yourself a people pleaser
~ You are overly responsible and take on the responsibilities of others
~ You say "yes" when you know you should say "no"
~ You strive to be like "X" teacher/person
~ You depend on others' approval to determine your self-worth
~ You fear rejection or conflict
~ Even when you are doing well, it's not enough
~ If you do something that someone else doesn't approve of, you feel guilt or stress

How did you do?  So, we've already determined I have an ego, I'm an Approval Addict, can it possibly get any worse?

Karen says, 'Being on time and on task gives us a feeling of authority. We're calling the plays, determining the direction of the day. We feel powerful and important when we are at the helm as as the 'Master of our Destinies"Authority makes us feel powerful and important and it feels good!  It does me, but maybe that's me.  My pastor would say "You all are probably too spiritual for authority to make you feel powerful and important" -in his teasing way. Somehow, I'm thinking the truth in this isn't going to do anything but create more tirades internally and with our families.  We are making our lives all about what makes us feel good - taking on more than we should to please others (giving us more of an emotional 'boost', a euphoria).  Watch out ladies, none of this, NONE sounds like it could possibly bring glory to God.  Where is HE in all of this?
If I am spending my life looking for approval from others, boosting my ego by doing whatever I can to appear confident, capable and TOGETHER (isn't that it ladies, we want to look as if we have it all together?) and I'm not consulting my Heavenly Father for guidance in all I do, then I'm not bringing Him glory and that, my friends, breaks my heart.
Karen quoted Missionary Amy Carmichael  - "If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup of brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however it is suddenly jolted" - DEFINITELY POWERFUL words to think about ladies!!!!! We need to write this on an index card and post it many places around our houses, offices, cars, etc.    I have many, many sudden jars in my life - 98% self-inflicted as I trudge forward doing what makes me feel good, what boosts my ego - not necessarily what brings glory to Him.  I want to get to the place where with any 'sudden jar' the only words that come out of my mouth are those given to me by my Heavenly Father.

What if we stepped off the treadmill of life long enough to do a little evaluation, deciding whether the problem lies in the speed at which we've cracked the machine's dial and the incline we have set for the climb???
If our minds and bodies are full of a million things going on for all the wrong reasons - for 'feel good' reasons, if we are snapping at our children or our spouses, if we're doing things that cause the outside world to think we walk on water (and we like it), that we have it together perfectly, then we need to re-evaluate our priorities and the reasons we are doing what we are doing.  Our hearts cannot possibly be full of the loving, sweet things our family deserves, we cannot possibly speak from the heart.  If there is one thing I have found through this study it is that I am full of weaknesses that cause me to lash out at those closest to me when things don't go m way or people aren't doing what I think they should be doing.
 'What you say flows from what is in your heart (Luke 6:45 NLT) 
 May we Jesus-lovin' women choose to hesitate before we hurl.  Rather than feisty, may we be friendly instead.  (Karen Ehman)
Here's some awesome wisdom from Karen:
Learning to walk the fine line between controlling and conscientious is a constant yet sanctifying struggle.  It will keep you going to God for direction.  It will find you asking for forgiveness for the times you blow it (there will be many).  It will force you out of a stance of selfishness and into a posture of grace. You'll become skilled at putting others before yourself, adept at deference, familiar with compromise, and willing to yield your rights.  You'll stop hovering over your home and start hallowing it - to God's glory, not your own.
Prayer for Today
 Dear God:
Thank you for Karen, for sharing her awesome wisdom and heart with us throughout this study.  Thank you for each woman participating that struggles, like me, with EGO issues - with the need to please people, with the need to fill their lives up with so many things that they can't possibly do all of them - leaving them frustrated, ill-tempered, and quick to lash out at their families and those closest to them.  Forgive us for our weaknesses, for desires of the flesh. Please show us the way Father to become the mothers and wives that will bring only honor and glory to you through all we do. Bless each sweet sister in this study, all of our leaders and the P31 team.  It is our prayer that with this study we will grow closer to you, each other, and that our lives will change as we begin to put you first in our lives - making sure the glory is yours!  We love you Father. Amen

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