5 Ways Your Ego is Keeping You from God’s Plan
- Jennifer Heeren Crosswalk Contributing Writer
- 2019 22 Mar
There are many ways that I let my ego keep me from God’s perfect plan for my life. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). I can’t completely thwart His overall plan for me because I’m not that powerful. But I can slow down my journey. Like the Israelites walking through the desert, I can turn an 11-day trip into 40 years! I can keep getting my foot caught in various traps.
Thinking that I must do everything perfectly right away will halt my progress every time. I don’t have to do everything perfectly. There’s a lot to be said for sincere, but flawed, effort when I’m doing something new. People will probably just be glad that I showed up and tried. Then I try it again and I do a little better. I don’t give up. I try it again, and again, and again. And each time I do a little better.
I feel that is what God wants—sincere efforts from a pure heart to please Him and a never give up attitude so I can continue onward with even more sincere efforts. Why do I think I should do things well from the start anyway? Ego.
2. People Pleasing
Thinking I should please everyone in every way so they’ll like me or continue to like me is the wrong motivation. There’s nothing wrong with helping people when my desire is simply that—to help. But when I feel the need to impress them, there’s a problem.
There’s no need to make an impression on anyone but God. Helping people with pure motives means to help whether they appreciate me or not. People pleasing is often doing things that the person wants. Helping them often means doing the thing that they need. If I always do what someone wants, I’m operating from ego.
3. Plotting Your Plan
Thinking I must have everything figured out before I move is operating from my plan, not necessarily God’s plan. There are a lot of things that I can never figure out even if I had a million years to think about it. God’s Spirit can whisper to me to do some things that don’t seem to make sense and yet they’re right to do and everything works out.
Tithing is an example. Money is tight so I look at every single detail trying to figure out how in the world I can pay all the bills. It doesn’t seem possible. But when I start by giving God’s share first, the other obligations just seem to come together and everything else gets paid as well.
Using wisdom and discernment is a good thing but often I can plot and scheme and endeavor to figure out every little detail so much that I freeze up. I become paralyzed. I can’t move forward because I need to know everything beforehand. Ego.
Thinking that I should be even with or equal to other people before I even try something is ludicrous. People were not created to be lined up and measured equally. Even in the same field or group, people will do things differently. They cannot be compared.
God doesn’t compare; He loves uniquely. Three people could give the exact same message and reach different people with it. It’s the how and why that reaches people, not necessarily the what.
When I think that I can’t do something because somebody else out there does it better, I’m giving myself an excuse not to try. By refusing to do something, I’m attempting to control the situation and giving in to my ego. I’m also worried about how I’ll look in comparison to others. More ego.
5. Poor Pronoun Use
Possibly the number one way that I let my ego get in the way is using “I” or “me” too much at the beginning of my sentences. Satan made this mistake when he fell. He only thought of himself.
“I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-15).
I don’t necessarily use those high and mighty, exalted sayings but I can dwell on “I” and “me” too much.
- I am not good enough to attempt that feat.
- I won’t be good enough if I try.
- So and so is better than me, why should I try?
- I have to do this in my own strength. It all depends on me.
I am much better off when I begin my thoughts by speaking to the Lord and using “you” in the beginning of the thought.
- Lord, You are good enough to help me when I try something new.
- Lord, You can make up for what I lack when I try.
- Lord, if You want me to do something, that is good enough. It doesn’t matter if so and so is better than me. We’re two different people with two different voices.
- Lord, I know you will help me to accomplish things. It depends on You working through me.
Then I am in a much better place—a place where I can remember that Jesus is the vine and I am the branch. If I remain in Him, and He in me, I will produce much fruit. But apart from Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5).
Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk.com. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at www.jenniferheeren.com.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/SIphotography
Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk. Her debut novel is available on Amazon. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at her website and/or on Facebook.