How does one differentiate Calling from Ego?


My last article on “Christ: Model of a Servant Leader” highlighted a very dangerous element in the human psyche, the “ego”. There are many scholarly articles, which one can read to get a greater understanding and that address the problem in details. Shelley Prevost article highlighted “5 Ways to Distinguish Your Calling from Your Ego”. It went on to ask, Do you have a real vocation for what you’re doing, or are you just in business for egoistic reasons? Here’s how to tell which one is guiding you, 1. Ego fears not having or doing something. Calling fears not expressing or being something. 2. Ego needs anxiety to survive. Calling needs silence to survive. 3. Ego manifests as burnout. Calling manifests as fulfilment. 4. Ego focuses on the result. Calling focuses on the process. 5. The article said, the ego wants to preserve the self. Calling wants to impact on others. Your ego and your “calling” in life can look surprisingly similar. Both pull you toward the realization of your desires. Both can completely consume your waking (and sometimes sleeping) hours with frenetic thoughts and sparks of brilliance. They can also manifest very similar outcomes, money, fame, and power. Moreover, they can both leave you feeling exhausted. Ego is necessary and important because it does the work to assemble your personality. It manages your fragile identity while you figure out who you are. It protects you from the onslaught of societal expectations and motivates you to work hard and achieve great things.

However, ego alone can also skew you toward thinking that hard work and achievement are the goals in life. If your ego is what assembles your personality and manages your identity, then your calling is invested in making sure it is authentic, whom you really are not just a persona you show the world. Now not many people will admit to be controlled, dominated by the wrong side of their ego, it rules their every action. The following list I picked up off the internet with some cosmetic changes reveals some negative aspects of the ego.

EGO (False Self)        VS      Humanity (True Self)

Me                                           Us/We

Enemy                                     Ally

Separation                               Unity/togetherness

Blame                                     Praise

Hostility                                  Friendliness

Resentment                             Forgiveness

Pride                                       Humble

Ungrateful                              Gratefulness

Jealousy                                  Co-happiness

Anger                                      Happiness/joy

Power seeker                          Humility

Materialism                            Spiritualism

Madness                                  Wisdom

Hate                                        Love

War                                         Peace

Coldness                                 Warmness

Past Oriented              Now/Future oriented

Intolerant                    Tolerance

Self-importance          Self-denial

Egoism                        Altruism

Self-debasing              Self acceptance

Injuring                       Healing

Impolite                      Polite

Hard/complex             Simplicity

Social intolerance       Social acceptance

Not an exhausted list, but we get the picture. Ego manifests itself in so many areas of our attitude and behaviours. The only weapon against our ego trip is spirituality, our standing before God. Gossip may not readily be seen as ego, but look at what it does to you and the body of Christ. Is it any wonder the church is so heavy and lacks genuine spirituality? Is it any wonder our spiritually is short lived, excitable singing at praise & worship, but when singing stop we load our “tongue pistol” and assassinate? The songs we sing and the sermon we just listen to are soon forgotten. When the fruit of the spirit is manifested in us, “once becoming saints”, it will root out the seed of gossip that spread hate. We pick up a gossip; cannot prove it is so but readily we believe it, why? Naturally, it is because the love of God is not genuine in us. If we love our brother/sister who is created in the image of God, we will never spread a tale about them.

Therefore, we need to demonstrate love in how we deal with or treat each other. Never repeat a matter unless you can confirm categorically that it is true, God is against it. The spirit of God does not enter into guesswork, we listen, assume and readily a gossip is true. In addition, tale bearing is a crime against the spirit of God and against our brother/sister. We are committing murder, “pistol tongue” killing people! What are our motives in gossiping, spreading lies and hate? Is it not that we lack the simple but powerful thing called love? Is it not that we cannot control the ego of self-importance, which causes the tongue to lash out and destroy? Remember the sayings of an anonymous writer; small minds discuss people’s lives and personal business, this destroys. Great minds discuss ideas, theories, programmes that lifts and builds an organisation, how to acquire knowledge, education and how to progress, it builds. Which are we?

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