Monthly Archives: June 2020

The Spiritual Discipline of Overcoming Self

When we think about spiritual disciplines perhaps prayer, meditation, study, solitude or fasting may come to mind. These are good disciplines in and of themselves, but over the next season we’re going to explore some other disciplines that may not have been as well defined to us.

Saint Francis said:
“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.”

Too often we may be more mindful of how other people need to change. Maybe it’s easier to see imperfections in others while being blind to our own, but when we do become mindful of our own shortcomings it’s usually painful and embarrassing, we encounter shame when we overreact, or read a situation wrong, or realize that we were just selfish.

We think it is easier to ignore or justify when we have gotten something wrong, but give it a few weeks, or even days, and we realize that ignoring the situation didn’t make it go away, it’s still there.

There is hope:
2 Corinthians 5:17 says
…If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!

The life of a disciple is a lifelong journey of being sculpted and formed more into the likeness of Jesus. It’s not a race, it’s a journey.

Frances de Sales wrote a book titled The Introduction To The Devout Life in 1609, but he still seems relevant today. He said:
“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them—every day begin the task anew.”

I find one of the best ways of overcoming self is to try to think of others more, and to think of myself less.

Every day begin the task anew!