One of my favorite quotes, ascribed to a variety of ancient Greeks, is this: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard Battle.” Sometimes people don’t even know they’re in a battle, which can make it harder for us to be kind. We want “difficult” people to know that they are difficult, and that we are being kind to them.
It’s hard for us to see our magnanimity go unnoticed. Yet, it provides another opportunity to see how short of unconditional our love falls. That’s hard for our pride, but great for our journey away from our pride and toward our true selves and the perfect love of God that dwells there.
Sometimes the battle is very present and real. Your own battle with your egoic self, or someone else’s, is front and center in all its messiness and pain. We can run from this mess, as many are tempted to do, or we can be present to it with the courage and compassion God offers and enables in us.
Knowing your Enneagram personality type helps a ton in this process. You can notice your impulses—to run, to ignore, to go for it, to numb out—and, with practice, learn to take a breath before acting. You get a better sense of what the present moment requires. You get to become a truer version of yourself.
There’s a lot of hard slogging in this life, but breakdown is often the precursor to breakthrough. God tells us Repeatedly to be “strong and courageous” because that’s what it takes to fight the battle against the false self. After the battle come the spoils of war; in this case, a truer version of who God made you to be and a fuller expression of your destiny.
That’s worth all the confusion, frustration and effort to me. I am determined to do whatever’s necessary to partner with God so that Jesus gets the maximum reward from my life for his suffering. We were made for God’s pleasure (Rev. 4:11); let’s give him as much as we can by becoming our true selves!