Today as I bask in the congratulatory remarks directed at me about yesterday's very successful groundbreaking celebration, I find an old bugaboo raising its head. It's a failing I have struggled with most of my life and that is the desire to give into and seek out strokes for my ego.
Not that there's anything wrong with having good strong self-esteem, but when I receive compliments and adulation about something I've done, I start getting edgy. It's because I am so aware of how easy it is to be ruled by ego.
I notice my ego-wishes rising when I am overly pleased by compliments or overly hurt by criticism. And today I'm fighting the battle against taking too seriously the nice things said about me as a minister. Other days I fight the battle against taking too seriously the critical things said about me as a minister.
We have all seen public figures who get so much adulation that they become quite addicted to it and end up doing many foolish things in their pursuit of it. Preachers are particularly susceptible to praise (maybe because we get so much non-praise) and it can become an addiction. It also means that the preacher becomes quite susceptible to criticism and gets defensive.
I see these qualities in myself and I strive to find a middle way of living so that neither praise nor blame shapes my day.