The enemy of character.

Ego.

We all have one. The ego can be a very positive thing — or a very negative thing. God has a purpose for each of us, and because of that purpose, he has given us an ego. That inner voice that drives our purpose and passion. But sometimes, if we get too caught up in that ego, it can drive us to make very poor decisions.

Matthew Kelly states, “The number one way we reject reality is by placing ourselves at the center of the universe. And we all do it. We do it for moments. We do it for days, weeks, months, years. I see it with the kids. I see it with my own children. I see that there are stages in their development when they are clearly, firmly, and absolutely convinced that they are the center of the universe. Now, obviously they’re not able to articulate that, but the way they behave indicates that is the belief, that is the worldview, that they are operating out of.

Most people grow out of it, but I think an increasing number of people in our culture don’t grow out of it. And so, I guess part of the question is, “Who or what is at the center of your universe?” And it’s a question worth thinking about often, because I think that logically and intellectually and philosophically we can say, “Oh yeah, God is at the center of the universe,” and, “God is at the center of my universe,” or, “God is at the center of my life.” But it’s amazing how quickly we can displace him. It’s amazing how quickly, in different situations on different days, we can displace God from being at the center of our lives and be unaware of it.”

I wholeheartedly agree. I see it every day with my two year old and five year old. I saw it every day in the high school classroom. And unfortunately, I see it far too often in adults. Too many people have placed themselves at the center of the universe (in their minds) and don’t care about how their actions and words can devastate those around them. Too many people are so wrapped up in how others perceive them physically or socially, that they don’t care if people think they have poor character.

There have been moments (too many to recollect) that I have pushed away and decided to take on the universe all by myself. Do you know how well that worked out for me? It wasn’t until I came back to reality and realized that unless I gave myself 100% to Him, nothing else would fall into place.

Focus: We are not the center of the universe. If you try to place yourself there, you will set yourself up for disappointment and frustration.

Act: Look at your actions during the last 24 hours. When did you choose your authentic self, and when did you choose your ego? I’m going to add–what makes you allow your ego to take over? What are those characteristics that take away from your virtue and character? What causes these to overtake your mind? How can you stop that?

DAY 12: JOY and GRATITUDE

I’m thankful when friends expose me to new things. It is fun, it is exciting, and it is an extra bonus when it is super healthy for me.

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Over a year ago, a dear friend introduced me to Ningxia and Thieves by Young Living. And I am so full of GRATITUDE to have those products in my daily life because they help me to promote wellness in my house.

This fall, another dear friend introduced me to Kombucha. My first thought was vinegar? Ugh, no thanks. But, I swallowed my pride and tried it. And my tummy felt AMAZING. (Want to learn what Kombucha is? You can go check out what Dr. Axe has to say about it here.) But to summarize what he says it can do for you and your body: helps prevent a variety of diseases, supports a healthy gut, can improve mental health, protects the lungs, antibacterial, helps manage diabetes, is beneficial to the cardiovascular system and helps maintain a healthy liver. Can we say WIN???

Greens are always good for you: they help promote your immune system, can aid in weight loss, can aid in fighting disease and illness, helps to provide more energy, helps to boost creativity and clear the mind and improve appearance. You can read more about greens and their benefits here. I’m thankful for my parents teaching me to appreciate the health benefits of greens at a very early age.

So go out and take a minute to sit down and examine yourself. Where does your PRIDE prohibit you? Where does your true self boost you? What do you do to help yourself? And finally…

What does your JOY and GRATITUDE look like today?

Written by Shay Rafferty
I help families shift to living live a life of wellness and abundance by using natural, plant-based products.