• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Becoming aware (ii)

The Protestant reformer, John Calvin, makes this statement at the very outset of the Institutes of the Christian Religion: “Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God.”  Another way to express this thought might be that to serve God and others well, we need to regularly take a hard look at ourselves.Self reflection

In other words, self awareness comes from a hearty self analysis.

Jeannie posted this comment after the previous blog post: “One of my core beliefs on becoming more self-aware is that it occurs best in the context of accountability or a Biblical community model. When we invite others in to find out how they perceive us, or what impressions we give off – we are seeking, in humility, a better version of ourselves, one that looks more like Jesus. The only way to gather that kind of information is to be vulnerable, to seek each other out, and to rub shoulders in ministry so we can truly observe one another and potential blind spots.

Definitely!  Probing to understand how we are being “received” by others must occur in the context of a small group to which we are accountable.  Yet, there is work to be done on our end as well. The heart cry of the Psalmist is: “Search me, O God and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”  (Psalm 139:23-24).  Such Spirit-led self analysis could come through asking oneself a number of questions such as:

  • When I receive negative feedback about myself from others, how do I normally respond?
  • What would demonstrate that I have or do not have a good sense of how I cope with situations that are ambiguous and uncertain?
  • I am conscious of the areas in which conflict and friction most frequently arise in my interactions with others?

There are lots of other questions that can help us dig deeper into our hearts in order to become more self aware, and as a result more aware of how we can serve others well.

What questions come to your mind that help ‘dig deeper’ into your heart motivations and make you more self aware?  Are you able to share the answers to those questions with a trusted friend or group?

 

 

2 Responses

  1. 1. When I receive negative feedback about myself from others, how do I normally respond?

    To be honest I must confess that my first reaction, at least internally, is to become defensive in most cases – the initial response of the ego. But that feeling is usually short lived. I then become thoughtful, reflective, and thankful. I seek then to avoid morbid introspection that is unhealthy and leads to depression but ask the Holy Spirit to search my heart and convict where needed. Then I seek guidance as to what corrective action that I need to take.

    2. What would demonstrate that I have or do not have a good sense of how I cope with situations that are ambiguous and uncertain?

    This where the defense mechanism kicks in even stronger. I too often begin to defend before asking questions to bring clarification and understanding of the issues that the other person or persons concerning a matter. This kind of issure happens more often in cross-cultural ministry. The foreigner too often unintentionally causes deep hurt due to lack of cultural sensitivity. How to respond require great wisdom and humility combined with a clear sense of who we are in Christ and the level of trust developed with the person in question. The principles revealed in Romans 14: 1 – 15:8 need to be applied.

    3. Am I conscious of the areas in which conflict and friction most frequently arise in my interactions with others?

    Conflicts come from many reasons such as: cultural, worldview differences, different styles of thinking, different communication styles, different personalities, different standards of conduct, different concepts of governance, etc. If we learn how to turn conflict into trust building experiences and learning situations for all partied concerned we are winners.

    The biblical insights that Calvin proposed in the first four chapters of his INSTITUTES not only give an epistemology that is cross-culturally applicable but also is fundamental to a proper understanding of both God and self that is foundational to our relation to both God and to one another.

    • Ed, you are a model for all of us! Your honesty in responding to the suggested questions took me back. As I lingered on each of your responses, I saw the deep work of the Spirit and realized my constant need to cry out: “Search me O God!”

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