That voice you hear in your head. Is it God talking or your ego talking? How do you know?
I’ve heard it said that the only difference between good and God is that good has two “o’s”. When our thoughts are good, they come from God.
But what about those thoughts that “seem” to be good? Those thoughts that spark inspiration or motivation to strive towards something.
I can only speak from an experience, especially this experience I’ve had on my journey to be a published author. Here’s how, in the end, how I was able to decipher the voice I heard.
The Ego – Healthy and Unhealthy
The ego is described as a person’s sense of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-importance.
As with anything, there are healthy egos and unhealthy egos. We all have egos. We need healthy egos so that we can navigate through life with confidence and self-respect.
But the ego becomes unhealthy when we desire something that goes against our values or manipulates or overpowers someone else.
In this Example Was it God Talking?
In September of 2012 I jumped on a plane to Philadelphia to meet literary agents in hopes of landing one. My goal was to get published by a major publisher. This had always been my dream.
Everything was lining up perfectly. Many doors opened. I found a conference call regarding this opportunity. The resources were available. The time was available. This surely seemed like a “God thing” with all of the resources showing up.
I came back energized and followed up with the interested agents. I landed one. It was the agent I wanted. She was a Christian agent known for her success in the Christian publishing industry.
I tweaked the manuscript for the book titled The Freedom to Eat – 10 Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss and Inner Peace.
She loved it. She sent it off to publishers. One loved it too. It was a Christian publisher. We had several lovely, enthusiastic conversations. I felt confident The Freedom to Eat would happen.
Do you know what happened?
The enthusiastic, sincere publisher never returned my calls or emails.
The enthusiastic agent said she had done all that she could do and told me to feel free to find another agent.
And you know what I felt?
It Was My Ego Talking
When I first talked to the agent, I had a litany of questions. One of the questions was if she would nurture my career as a writer. This was very important to me.
With as many books as I read, I always read the thanks and acknowledgements given by the authors. They almost always thank their agents and credit them for how they nurtured their career.
The agent told me how successful she was in selling books and that she would do her best to sell my book. She was very clear that she did not work with authors to nurture and develop their careers.
My soul knew that she wasn’t the right agent for me. But my ego was enamored with landing the top Christian agent.
That whole process was based on my ego. While I know the book can help millions of people struggling with their weight, I was in it for the notoriety and accomplishment of being successfully published by a major publisher. And, frankly, my ego really wanted to be a New York Times Best Selling Author.
There is nothing wrong with setting goals. There was nothing wrong for me to want to be published. But my trying to take control of this process, driven by my ego was a farce!
How to Tell if it’s God’s Talking or Your Ego
If you have followed my work for a while, you know that I talk about the still, small voice. It is the voice of Truth. It is our internal guidance system.
I knew the difference between the voice of God and my ego. You know the difference too. Call it your gut, call it your heart, call it a sixth sense, instinct, whatever. God gave us powerful feelings, instincts and intuition when we listen and pay attention.
It was a huge lesson to not allow my ego to lead me astray. That’s why I am writing this post to not let your ego lead you astray.
The ego is the voice of the world: fame, greed, unhealthy competition, going after something no matter the cost. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36
The soul’s voice is love, fulfillment, collaboration, peace, contentment, and joy.
Scripture to Listen to God’s Voice and Not Your Ego
I would call these verses more about adopting a lifestyle to tune into God’s voice.
I love this passage from The Message:
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Proverbs 3:6-9
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (ESV)
When you have a longing, desire, or a decision to make, be still. Listen. Don’t let the world, your ego, family, friends, or our culture sway your decision. Trust God. Trust in the still small voice. Follow the instruction in these verses and you will know whether it’s God’s voice talking or your ego.
A Surprising Update
I let go of the agent and pursuing a book publishing deal. Several years later, I wrote a book called God Notes – Daily Doses of Divine Encouragement. I didn’t need an agent because a publisher came to me.
I decided to form my own publishing company, Be Still Press, and published The Freedom to EAT – 10 Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss and Inner Peace. While it hasn’t made the New York Times Best Seller List, the book was a finalist in the International Book Awards in the category of Health: Women’s Health. God is Good.
If you need help letting go of physical, emotional, or spiritual weight, The Freedom to EAT may help you find lasting weight loss and inner peace.
The power of this story lies in its simplicity and its humanness. Ms. Trottmann has done a great job of communicating that there can be personal will and courage without fanfare. Her story telling is a refreshing and needed contribution to the literature on women’s struggles: She experienced the emotional trials and pains of an eating disorder and she conquered them. A valuable and motivating read.Terry Varney Freerks, Ph.D.
I have struggled with my weight all of my life and for the first time I feel as if you have pointed me in the direction of The Truth and it is setting me free. I eat so much less but feel so satisfied and am getting on with my life which is opening up again and I am one grateful woman. So much of the battle was in my mind. Thank you so much!Kathleen