The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

The First Step On the Road to Transformation

Posted on: September 19, 2017

BECOMING MORE SELF-AWARE SPURS SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION

The road to transformation is long, and the journey can be bumpy from time to time. But it is a road that we must all travel if we ever hope to become more than we are. And like Dorothy on the yellow brick road to the city of Oz, it has a beginning point: self-awareness.

To be self-aware is to be in touch with reality about yourself. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines it as, “good knowledge and judgment about yourself.”

Generally speaking, it includes:

  • Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses
  • Recognizing your feelings, attitudes, values and behavior
  • Recognizing the positive and negative impact you have on others
  • Recognizing what feeds you and what drains you

When David wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23–24), he was acknowledging his insufficient self-awareness and calling on God to increase his self-awareness and save him from himself.

Through increasing self-awareness, we get a better picture of our true selves and as a result, the areas that need to change.

Even the business world is becoming alert to the importance of self-awareness to the success of bottom lines.

The Harvard Business Review touts, “Five Ways to Become More Self-Aware,” and boldly declares, “You can’t be a good leader without self-awareness.” The article goes on to make the point that self-awareness lies at the root of strong character, creating authenticity, openness, and trust.

A Forbes Magazine headline declares, “Return on Self-Awareness: Research Validates the Bottom Line of Leadership Development.” The article states that contemporary thought leaders, many of them scientists, drive home the principle of self-awareness, especially as new discoveries in neuroscience and related sciences support the wisdom and power of self-awareness:

  • We need to know our strengths to assert them in the appropriate circumstances;
  • We need to know our vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and distressing emotions, to check them and to prevent asserting them inappropriately and in non-value creating ways;
  • When we are not self-aware, people around us have a better sense of our strengths and weaknesses than we do, and we lose credibility;
  • When we are self-aware, we are more in touch with reality; people trust and respect us more.

If these features of self-awareness are a benefit in the business world, how much more are they a benefit in the Christian life!

The Bible doesn’t give us the option of ignoring what kind of people we are. It calls us to be more self-aware:

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was (James 1:22-24).

That passage calls us to be proactive in learning how our lives stack up to reality, and to place ourselves under the ministry of the Holy Spirit so that He can change us.

There are any number of ways commonly suggested to increase our self-awareness:

  • Take psychometric tests: taking tests like Myers-Briggs, DISC, Caliper, and spiritual gifts inventories are ways we can increase our self-awareness.
  • Journal: writing down observations and insights about life events can increase our self-awareness.
  • Seek feedback: asking others, either informally on a personal level, or possibly formally in a business context, can give us valuable information we might not get any other way.
  • Master Scripture: as we read, study, memorize, and meditate on the Bible, the Holy Spirit will open our hearts and minds to areas of our lives that need to change.
  • Prayer: As we commune with the Lord, the Holy Spirit has increased opportunity to convict us of sin and call us to righteousness (John 16:8).

Yet, the first step, and perhaps the most powerful way to increase our self-awareness, is simply to recognize the importance of it and to determine to become more self-aware.

In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin (who was not a Christian) wrote of the time when, as a young man, he determined to become morally perfect. He identified 13 qualities that he felt embodied moral perfection. Then he determined to spend a week perfecting each of those qualities so that at the end of 13 weeks, he would be morally perfect. After 13 weeks he admitted that he was not morally perfect, so he tried again for another 13 weeks. At the end of that time, he still was not morally perfect, so he tried it again. And again, and again, and again, for the rest of his life!

At the end of his life he wrote that he was chagrined to have to admit that he never became morally perfect. But, he said that he became a much better man for trying and failing than if he had never tried it all.

How like the authentic Christian life this is. Though we try to become fully Christlike, we fail. However, we end up being much better persons for trying and failing than if we never tried it all.

Take the first step in becoming more self-aware: recognize the importance of it and to determine to become more self-aware. It will set you on the road to greater transformation.


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