A lot is being written and discussed these days about the ego. Spiritual directors, talk show hosts, âHow toâ books and even the Bible.
I have had some serious battles with this deceiving giant most of my life. I find it impossible to keep it contained outside of humiliation, shame or crisis. Perhaps it is because when there is nothing to lose, there is nothing to lose. My therapist told me that âGod allows all of our illusions to fall because after the illusion of who we think we are or the world we thought we lived in blows up, the ground becomes stable beneath us. The truth will not collapse under our feet.â A friend says, âLife is just one humiliating experience after another.â If we have any desire to growâ¦ humiliation leads to humility. Author Richard Rohr calls this movement of our ego into humility and service, âThe Descent.â
Several years ago I went to Israel with a group of folks from the church. There were many memorable places and experiences. The most significant for me was the âdescentâ into Jerusalem. It was a holy moment. We topped a mountain and there spread before us was the City of Jerusalem. I was speechless as I thought about Jesus making His descent for the last time. He entered the city knowing He was about to be falsely accused and die before the Sabbath. We recognized this act of humility last Sunday, Palm Sunday. Anyone would have expected the Son of God to enter Jerusalem as a king. But He did not. He rode in on a donkey and His grass roots followers welcomed Him with palm branches. Jesus did not descend as a King but as an example of humility and grace. Jesus lived without illusion and embraced the reality of his life. As a result, He stated the truth without arrogance, power or control.
I am sorry to say that I am still at the beginning of the âdescent.â How do I get from here to there? One baby-step is to begin to ask that God remove the illusions that my ego creates to prop me up. Another is to take steps to create space for His presence through centering prayer. Jesus will never compete for that place with my ego, He simply waits until I let go. Lord, give me courage so that I am willing to give or release whatever is necessary to say goodbye to my ego that destroys the gift of Your peace.
How is your ego keeping you from a humble life?
What are the illusions that you are holding on to?
How can you “descend” in your life?
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