Follower of Jesus (23)
Jun 18, 2017
Follower of Jesus (23)
Blessed are the meek,
For they will inherit the earth. (3)
The problem we have in our culture of consumerism is that first of all we must recognize who we are. If we are to actually follow Jesus, even in the midst of the push of buy-buy-buy, it will require a shift of focus and desires in our conscious beings before we can become a face of God in our world. Flogging ourselves over our past does nothing to change the future. Our shadow side needs acknowledgment and acceptance – that is who and what we are at the moment. And it is ok! Nothing changes unless we first accept who we are right now. Our greatest weaknesses become our greatest strengths.
To become one who is truly Meek as Jesus intended, we need first to acknowledge all of ourselves, including and especially what we call our “sins”. It is part of the human cycle that when we discover our personality style or driving focus as a child, we do this as part of our growth. Our personality style emerges from our interactions with those around us. How do we win the approval of mommy and daddy? How do we charm others so that we can get that last piece of candy? We discover all kinds of ways to get what we want, usually by trial and error. If certain styles work, we try it again, then again, and pretty soon they become part of our way of living in our own little world. As we grow older, we adopt that style of interaction with others to fit into the world.
All of that is just fine, and was as it was meant to be as part of our growth cycle. But then comes the rub: that style becomes our way of life, and we begin to believe that is who we are. Are we the ‘good little two-shoes’, always ready to help others so that they like us? Are we the pushy kind to get the things we want and to heck with others? Are we the clown that makes everyone laugh? Or are we the shy and hidden ones to stay out of sight so that we won’t get yelled at.
And so on. We can be the one buried in a book so that we won’t be bothered, the sports nut because all the guys love that and I am accepted, and thus the story grows. Whatever the personality we adopt stems from these early interactions with those we wanted to impress, especially mommy and daddy. We latch onto these approaches in life for everything we do, and become disappointed when these approaches fail to bring what we want. But do we change? No, we dig in deeper and try harder, always with the same approach to life, for after all, subconsciously thinking ‘it worked as a small child, and it should work now’. And so we push harder, falling into patterns of behavior that mock the person we could be if we could see all that we are. Our strength becomes our greatest fault. Or so we think, and so we act. This behavior, especially when it fails to get us what we think we need, eventually leads into repeated sets of behavior that makes us feel good. This is called addiction, and we all, and I mean all, have various addictions we use to obtain what we want from others.
Sometimes these addictions can become self-destructive, such as alcohol or drugs and can lead us to destruction; but even these, and especially these, can lead us to recognize our self-centered behavior and seek help that leads us in ways that can bring us to a new awareness. But usually we muddle along, complaining about this or that, and fail to see that our ‘small addictions’ or “sins” are actually signs of being stuck in the learning stage of life, or what Richard Rohr calls the “first stage of life”.
Yes, if we find ourselves doing things that make us feel well over and over, such as shopping or watching every football game there is or other repeated patterns, these are sign of addictions: a behavior pattern we indulge in to feel good. Any self-centered pattern, and even doing a good deed, that is done primarily to make us feel good about ourselves is an addictive pattern. No I am not exaggerating. That is the very definition of addiction: self-serving patterns that make us feel good. And yes they can be serving others: when we do these things in order to make ourselves feel good, we should look at ourselves in more depth: do we do it for ourselves or do we do it because we see the soul (God) in the other and wish to encourage them? Yes, doing good always makes us feel good, but it is in the compulsiveness of our actions determines if it is ego-feeding or not.
We will continue this discussion next time.
Eternal Wisdom, I thank you for opening up my eyes to what is wrongfully feeding the ego and what I need to do to surrender myself into Your infinite flow of life. As I mature, it is amazing to watch the number of times and opportunities that are presented to me to move beyond the behavior patterns of my childhood. I am grateful for the painful times I have had to look closely at myself and try, and try again, to change my reaction to the events You place in my life. I ask forgiveness for my repeated “sins” of childish behavior, and I will struggle and succeed in becoming the person I was meant to be.