“How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self?” Augustine
“Self-awareness involves deep personal honesty. It comes from asking and answering hard questions.” Steven Covey
I had a long week with a few disappointing conversations. The last thing I wanted to do was host dinner Sunday night with a couple I know and love dearly. Instead, I wanted to hide. This bothered me, yet I sucked it up and carried on like the strong and happy person I was expected to be.
Which is my typical pattern. Except something that day nudged me on the inside to take a few moments and really ponder what was underneath this iceberg and do a self-examen.
I was becoming braver. God’s love and acceptance was inviting me to take a look at some hidden pain. I am learning that as He invites me to do this, it is not some sort of “sin hunt” but to bring me back to the center of who I really am----His much loved child who can be honest about what she is feeling.
This is true salvation and it is bringing more and more freedom into my soul as I consent to His love.
I rehearsed the disappointing conversations again and heard God ask me, “Beth, what were you looking for?” A sting of tears welled up and immediately I knew—connection.
I had walked away from those meetings feeling more disconnected and unseen than I had hoped for. I wanted so badly for these persons to “get me”. Let’s face it---putting ourselves out there and getting blank stares, or no words to affirm, does take its toll. And my hurt heart needed healing before I was willing to do that again.
God reminded me to re-read Matt 5:3, a verse that jumped out to me earlier that week. “What happiness comes to you when you feel your spiritual poverty.” Happiness. Feel. Spiritual Poverty. I had never considered those 3 thoughts to be related! Yet, I heard God say—"feel your spiritual poverty, feel your inability to be connected at the level you desire.” As I did, I began to feel His understanding of me…and the pain that He too experienced, when no one in the world understood Him fully. I was sharing in His suffering. The union and connection I desired was actually beginning to happen between Jesus and me.
On my journey to emotional health, I am realizing there is only one remedy to gain what I desire: looking a little deeper with Him as I explore more fully my true self. I will always find acceptance, understanding, love.
Here are a few “life with self” practices---
Be self-aware of what you feel, why you feel it, and how you respond
Understand common emotions such as: sadness, anger, happiness, fear, shame, disappointment
Break the power of the past by understanding how your family of
origin and the wounds from the past have shaped you
Grieve losses and changes through life
Embrace your limits
Set healthy boundaries
Be vulnerable and transparent
Practice self-care including rest, activities that cultivate joy, being with friends, and intentional times of silence
Talk about these issues with a spiritual friend or spiritual director
Happy July 4th and Happy Feeling Your Emotions and the freedom that self- awareness brings!