My ego gets me into trouble. Unlike some egotists, who think they’re the bee’s knees and live to tell the world how great they are, I’m the kind of egotist who thinks I’m the bee’s knees and longs for the world to tell me how great I am. It’s a subtle variation on the same theme: egotists of any stripe live for the validation of recognition.
I’ve wrestled with my particular flavor of egoism for quite a while. Just about the time I think I’ve got it beat, it loads up on HGH, Andro, and other assorted steroids and whips my tail. Without warning I go from a peaceful “Me and you, God. It’s all good” to a whiny “Why won’t they just tell me I’m special?” Case in point: up until this week, my blog traffic has been hovering around 200 new visitors a day. That’s not huge, but I’ve been pleased with it. But this week, the numbers inexplicably fell to less than 50 visitors a day. No real explanation. Other than a change in the appearance of my blog, I’ve not changed anything (and now that I think about it, I wonder if the new look is affecting things?). So the drop has been a bit alarming.
Add to that the fact that I just took a leap of faith regarding my writing, and the bottoming out becomes downright frightening.
Did I accidentally ingest some insta-suck? Did I just select poor topics? Maybe I’ve gone the wrong direction with my focus; should I write more about the themes that are the most searched on my blog? Maybe I’ve finally been shown the truth about my writing; oh God, now that I’ve committed to pushing even harder after my dream of writing, I’m being shown that it’s a mistake!
Brain-wise, it’s panic at the disco.
I’ve become a slightly messy puddle of neurotic, all because some numbers on a screen tell me that I’m not good enough. And the universe/devil/psychosis just keeps piling on: there have been 2 or 3 additional things to come down the pike that have just made my feelings of worthlessness more pronounced. I came into work this morning borderline despondent.
And then I remembered that who I am is based not on how much people read what I write. It’s not based on the outrageous inverse-popularity of my blog. It’s not found in certain people finding me special, or certain groups affirming that I am a good fit for their organizations. While none of those things are evil, my desire to find my value in them is; and so God politely reminded me that my value, my life, is found in Him. In being His.
My writing is His. My life is His. Everything I have and am and will be is His, and that’s enough because the eternal, omnipotent, very busy God sees me and knows me and walks with me to bring HIM glory.
Him. Not me.
So, if you’re like me, and you’re struggling a bit with your own sense of self-worth this morning, here are five weapons against your ego:
- Hagar: the original surrogate mother got banned from her home because Sarah got jealous after the birth of Isaac. Talk about doubting your value! But while she hid in the bushes and waited to die, God spoke to her and told her that He would not let Ishmael or her die. God then gave Ishmael the same blessing He gave Abraham and Isaac.
- Samson: when you can lay waste to a horde of Philistines with the jawbone of an ass (insert your own politica joke here), you can develop a sense of swagger. Samson was the ultimate in thinking too much of himself, and his humility came at a high price.
- John the Baptist: when you’re the frontman for the Messiah, things are pretty cool. Getting to baptize God-made-flesh? Even better. But when you end up in a stank prison cell and destined for the chopping block, things probably went wrong somewhere along the line. John reached out to Jesus and asked, “Are you really the One?” and Jesus replied, “The blind can see, the lame can walk, the deaf can hear, and even more is being done. Don’t stumble because of me.”
- Nathanael: when his brother came to tell him about the Messiah from Nazareth, Nathanael responded with derision: “Does anything good actually come from Nazareth?” When Jesus met Nathanael and blew his mind (“Before I met you, I saw you sitting underneath your fig tree”), it caused Nathanel to realize Jesus was God-made-flesh.
- Jude: no, not that one. The tiny little book at the back of the bible, the one that most people know next to nothing about. Jude isn’t the shortest book in the New Testament, but it’s close; and it’s not exactly written by an early-church rock star, either. But there’s this one little verse that tells us much about the God who sees us and gives us worth:
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
So take heart, my fellow egotists–the same God that made us and gave us our unique talents and personalities is the same God who gives us our ultimate purpose and meaning. Let’s stick with His blessing above all other praise, because it’s the only praise that lasts.