Today's Bible readings in church were largely focused on temptation: Eve in the garden, Jesus in the wilderness. And during the readings it struck me that the common temptation in those readings was about ego (status, pride, that kind of thing). "If you really want to be like God ...", or "If you really are the Son of God ...", was the basic weakness to exploit.
During the week, I'd done a day where I tried to keep note of things that tempted me to become impatient or short-tempered, so that I could look at the causes. I made up my mind in advance that I didn't get to leave things off the list just because I kept a professional exterior, but I wanted the true internal picture of everything that had made me struggle to keep that professionalism going. Call it good or bad timing if you will, but the day turned out to be a particularly rough day, almost designed to test the nerves. The character of the "list of things that tempted me to be short-tempered" surprised me a little. At the end of the day, the list contained only one thing that was about my convenience. The rest of the list, when I reviewed it, described things that had the potential either to embarrass me or otherwise make me look bad, if things went wrong. I found myself wondering how much of my "conscientious, detail-oriented, diligent, hard-working" persona at work was motivated by a fear of being wrong, or of being embarrassed by a mistake. It made me wonder how much was the need to be respected or valued. Is my life really focused on that? (On reflection, I wonder how many of the impatient, short-tempered people I was dealing with that day were short-tempered because they were in a situation that made them look bad,or had that potential.) I'm sure "do unto others" would lead me to make sure the other people weren't seen in a bad light.
I don't have all the follow-up meditation and thinking done yet, but today's Bible readings again seemed fairly instructive: at the end of the gospel reading, Jesus has stated that his actions will serve the Lord. I could use that perspective.