Want To Find God? Ditch Your Ego
What is it that keeps us from knowing and experiencing God in our daily lives? There are a number of reasons and excuses we can come up with to answer the question, but I wonder if there is a simpler explanation.
How often do we miss out on experiencing God simply because our focus is on ourselves? What if we ditched our ego, and found the result was an encounter with the divine?
There’s this great clip of Jim Carrey from a couple of years ago giving a speech at the Golden Globe Awards. He mentions that he is “Two-time Golden Globe Winner” several times and that he dreams of being “Three-time Golden Globe Winner”…because then he would be complete.
Most of the actors are laughing in the audience, but there is this palpable sense of “Is he wrong? Isn’t this what it’s all about?” (check out the speech here)
I love the brutal honesty of his comments.
Because the truth is, we are all attempting to find–or maybe more accurately put–trying to justify our worth by what we achieve. Our focus, a majority of the time, is on ourselves.
Accomplishments drive our sense of self-worth. This line of thinking goes that if we achieve enough, then we’ll be enough.
And this mentality surrounds us.
We have to “make it” or “prove it” or get the recognition that we are “worth it.”
Growing up, this drive takes on a different form for all of us.
Perhaps it was climbing the ladder of academic success. We worked tirelessly to get another A paper or an award or attention from that teacher.
Or perhaps it was finding success in athletics.
We worked hard for success in our sport of choice, believing that if we did well enough, we’d be satisfied.
We worked harder, trained longer, and out performed our teammates. Adulation from coaches and parents and teammates filled our lives.
Or maybe our sense of worth was based on what others said about us.
We longed for comments and feedback from our friends. Perhaps there was even that one person at school or that group that we desperately wanted to be part of. And we were willing to do anything to have their attention.
Over and over again, we went through this cycle of trying to find what gives us our worth.
Really this is about our ego in a lot of ways. Because we’ve attached our success with our worth…and we’ve missed something vital.
I’ve seen this come up again and again in my life. Ambition is a gift, but it’s also a curse when it blinds us to the truth.
I’ve worked for titles and jobs and recognition. Erroneously, I’ve believed that if I just did good enough and got enough praise and recognition, then I’d feel better about myself. But this, my friends, isn’t true.
When we live in the lie of accomplishments and accolades being a respite for our insecurity and self-esteem, we are missing the true source of our worth.
God, in His infinite love and generosity, had given us all we can ever need. Our lives are meant to be grounded in His love.
I love the prayer that Paul makes in Ephesians 3. It’s a prayer I’ve meditated on, reflected on, and memorized over the course of the summer. I’ve made it my own version of the Jewish Shema and I recite it several times a day.
In verse 17, the prayer reads, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord’s people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…”
To be rooted and established in love is to have a foundation that our lives are built upon.
A love that goes beyond comprehension or understanding.
A love that fills the universe.
A love that is worth far more than any accomplishment or achievement.
This love, according to Paul, “surpasses knowledge” and allows us to be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
I don’t know about you, but this is the love I want to soak in. This is the love I want to be rooted in.
Because I’ve done the thing where I try to get my satisfaction from what I achieve or do…and I want something else.
I want my life to be anchored and grounded in His love. Instead of living for the momentary feedback we receive when we push ourselves to achieve and be noticed by others, I want to rest in the assurance of His goodness.
So, I’m beginning to realize this truth: If I want to find God, it looks like ditching my ego. It looks like taking the attention off of myself and placing it on God.
When our ego dies, we become spiritually alive. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll find that God is closer than we ever imagined.