Saturday, August 8, 2015

understanding myself

Today's readings: Ezra 4:24-6:22, 1 Cor 3:5-23, Psalm 29:1-11, Proverbs 20:26-27

Have you ever done something and then thought to yourself "Why in the world did I just do that?" Or have you ever had a dream and then woke up and wondered what it meant? Do you have any bad habits that you just can't shake?

We have a subconscious that can be difficult to understand. The pic above represents our conscious (above water) and our subconscious. Freud said some strange things, but one of his theories seems to make a great deal of sense. He talked about the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is your natural impulses - eat, sleep, have sex, etc. The superego is the part of you that makes you feel guilty or ashamed when you violate your morals - and these morals are formed (according to Freud) by your family's and society's teachings. So if you eat junk food all day long, you feel guilty because you believe that eating junk food is bad for you.

But these two parts of your brain, the id and the superego, are not part of your conscious thinking. Your conscious thought is your ego, which gets input from your id and your superego and decides what to do with the natural impulses and the feelings of shame and guilt that come with them.

Now fast forward to the Proverb for today. 20:27 says "The LORD's light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive." On first reading, you might assume that the "hidden motive" is hidden from other people. And that's certainly true, and may be all that the Psalmist intended.

But there is a deeper truth to it. God's light penetrates our spirit, and exposes our hidden motives - to ourselves. When we pray and read the Bible and seek Him, He not only teaches us about Himself, about other people, and about the world. He also teaches us about ourselves. He helps us to understand who we are, what we do, and why we do those things.

Is there something in your life, in your mind or heart, that you don't understand? Ask Him about it. He may teach you through your Bible reading. He may teach you by having a friend point out what they notice about you. (Incidentally, if you ever find yourself asking "Why does everyone say that??" you might pay attention.) Or He may just reveal it to you in your thoughts and prayers one day. God works in mysterious ways, but you can count on Him to work.

He gave you your mind and your desires. (That's not to say everything we desire is given to us by God. I desire to drink Mountain Dew all day long every day... but that's a bad idea. It'll make me fat and give me diabetes. I do have to drink water occasionally. Some of our desires are misguided and need to be healed. We can ask for that as well.) He wants to fulfill them. And helping us understand our God given desires helps us to find fulfillment.

Thank You, God, for helping me understand myself.