Check Yourself Before You…You Know the Rest: Symptoms of a False Self

We had to cancel our Sunday plans other than church due to exhaustion. Well, my exhaustion.

Kevin is in denial. His throat has been hurting since yesterday but he just took Micah to Trader Joe’s with him in the spirit of, “If I don’t go fetch the milk and kale and eggs, who will?” I volunteered but he was already out the door with an excited Micah who echoed, “Yeah, who will!? And remember Dathy, I need a haircut.”

I went to bed last night at 6 pm. I meant to close my eyes as I have been experiencing some anxiety and tension lately but my eyes opened at 1:17 am when Kevin joined me. I took out my contacts and washed up. Konked out again.

Good thing I banked some sleep as we were woken up at 3 am when Micah walked over from their tiny room and climbed into our bed. He started demanding that Daddy go out to lie on the couch with him as they’d done in the past.

Kevin is exhausted too because the poor man was nearly weeping as he pleaded with his first son, “MICAH! Daddy is SO SO tired. Please. Just go to sleep in the middle of this bed!” Thankfully, Micah listened. Whew!

Then at 6 am, the other son ran over to our room, bewildered that Hyung (“big bro”) had disappeared. He climbed in. We all got to sleep in ’til 8 am though I had to spend some of the two hours positioning myself as a human guardrail so that Ellis wouldn’t fall out. He has a scar on his chin from falling out last week. Not while sleeping but while playing with Hyung.

I’m so glad I went to church this morning. My back was aching from too much sleep, though I wouldn’t rub it in by mentioning that to Kevin again.

I was hungering for a meaty sermon. Here is the link for the sermon entitled “Listening to the Small Screen” aka “Stop Pretending and Live.”

Pastor Peter Scazzero spoke from Colossians 3: 9-14:

“9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

I was excited to hear him speak on something I think about only daily: Where do we derive our worth from? If we want something too much and we become enslaved by our desire for it, that’s when that thing becomes an idol. And that’s when things get dangerous.

He went on to say that our Pretend Self includes the striving some of us do through name-dropping, dressing to impress, collecting the most toys and boasting about it, one-upping our peers just to feel like we are worth something.

Even something good like pride about our ethnicity can be too much of a good thing if you solely rely on that to identify you. (I may be paraphrasing him poorly here so I apologize).

Pastor Pete provided a “Symptoms of the False Self” checklist:

1) I am reluctant to admit my weaknesses and flaws to others.
2) I look for the approval of others more than I should.
3) I am highly “offendable” and defensive when people criticize me.
4) I often become harsh and impatient when things are moving too slowly or my expectations are not met.
5) I say “yes” when I would rather say “no.”
6) I beat myself up when I make mistakes.
7) I have difficulty speaking up when I disagree or prefer something different.
8) I have a hard time forgiving others.
9) My fears often cause me to play it safe “just in case.”
10) My body is more often in a state of tension/stress than relaxed.

(Pastor Pete said he will post this checklist on www.emotionallyhealthy.org.)

A lot to chew on. I don’t struggle with #1 at all. I am quick to point out my flaws and weaknesses because it’s not like they are big secrets! Yet #10, I’ve definitely been feeling tense and anxious through this entire month of July. I kept telling folks that it is because I entered a new phase of parenthood with the boys either loving on or fighting with each other from the moment they arise. And all the sounds that go along with that. But probably other things at play, too.

photo (10)

Pastor Pete shared the above quote with us to conclude his sermon. He challenged us with, “How could you make more room in your life for silence in order to listen to God?”

Perfect timing: Half the family is back from TJ’s so now is not the time to seek out silence. Kevin deserves a nap.

Wishing y’all pockets of silence this week.

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