How do we live lives of integrity, where the inside self and the outside self are the same, when we live in a culture that advocates “looking good” above all else? How do we learn to love when all around us the message is “me, me, me.” How can we be at peace, when all we see is restlessness and anxiety and attempts at controlling life? How do we accept our own humanity, our own mistakes, our own sin, if you will, when an idealized version of ourselves is the one we cling to. “I’m a good person!”
For me it took a complete breakdown of what I had been taught to value in our culture, in essence everyone else’s opinion of me, before I was willing to really look at myself and see where I was off-base, incongruent, without integrity. I was in my early forties before the culture began to lose its allure for me. I am so grateful for the wake-up call I received from God to call me out of my sleep-walking-through-life state.
What calls you to your knees? Would you like to give up the false front? How are doing on a scale of integrity, if no integrity is 0 and full integrity is 100? Can people count on your word? Are you expressing who you really are with your life? Are you at peace with yourself? Have you forgiven yourself? Have you forgiven God for how the world is? Are you listening to God in your life? What is God calling you to? What in your life expresses your soul?
The first step may be the hardest: to let go of the cultural paradigm, but once you take it, the rest just kind of flows. An adventure unfolds: a way or at least the first step appears, a new kind of dependency on your own inner knowing emerges, led by God, affirmed by your deep soul-self. Life becomes a search for what is true for me and for God and me. Once you let go of the culture—which is a process that may take many years to complete—the voice of freedom takes over, the freedom to be who God created you to be. We go from Egypt where the culture enslaves us to the Promised Land where freedom lives. That’s the story of Exodus, our story, in which God shows us how to live in the kingdom and what we have to shed to get there.
Congruency and integrity, love and compassion—these are the qualities, the attitudes we need to express in our lives if we are to live in the kingdom. To do this, and the Exodus story demonstrates this in spades, so many “people,” essentially disruptive, rebellious ego states within us, have to die off in order to enter the kingdom. In the end all the rebellious “folk” have to go, leaving the truer, peaceful, loving person to cross into the Promised Land. When we are ready to enter the kingdom, we are living our wholeness, our creation, true to God and to ourselves.