Becoming Self Aware
Driving to Houston the other day, I noticed that annoying 'maint req'd' light on my dash. You know the light which tells you it's time to change your oil or your vehicle is about to go to sleep on the shoulder like a narcoleptic. It is hard to ignore if you have a slight case of OCD, not that I do - so stop accusing me.
The light on my dash was a diagnosis from within. Change my oil, stupid. I didn't do anything to make it pop up; it just popped up and told me that my truck needed service.
We view ourselves through our own eyeballs - so in a mirror at best. But our eyeballs and mirrors don't tell the story of our body language when someone tells us we didn't get the deal or how our passing comment on racial equality really came off. Try as me might, we are not very self aware. We are plenty aware of others - especially their faults - but we tend to be blind to ourselves.
Our self-blindness not only trips us up in our career, but it can harm relationships, and worse - it can rob God of honor. If we go around bruising others in the name of Jesus unaware, we create confusion about the Christian faith. Or maybe we don't realize when our colleague talks to us we tend to look at our phone or check email while uh-huh'ing them. The oblivious flaws we carry are the most dangerous.
Now I am not advocating we go on a self awareness retreat and drink cucumber water and talk about our feelings so we can become more self aware. We can get way too obsessed with ourselves as it is. More navel gazing is not helpful.
The key: we need to hang around other people who know and love us to become self aware.
Consider Hebrews 10:
"...not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25 ESV)
If we 'meet together' with people who love us enough to call us out on our lunacy, we'll be in a much better spot. (And we can then just project bad things back on them if we feel bad about ourselves.) My wife, Lindsay, tells me I am a smidge awkward sometimes. Apparently I am pretty stiff in the way I carry myself - like I have rigor mortis (my words, not hers). I didn't know that until she told me but I'm glad to know. I think.
Do you surround yourself with people who have permission to tell you the God's honest truth about you? Who will be your 'maint req'd' light to help you know where you need work or to be your light of encouragement?
We must hand the task of our self awareness to another. And we must be willing to listen, even (especially) when it stings.