Take a good look at these gorgeous gerberas; their beauty is meant to counteract the ugliness you may encounter in this blog.
Think about the last time you caught a glimpse of your heart. Did you like what you saw? I’m not asking about the physical condition, but the spiritual state. The condition diagnosed in Jeremiah 17:9:
The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.
The heart is hopelessly dark
Sometimes a situation will arise that exposes the darkness in my heart forcing me to confront an ugly aspect of myself. The darkness may manifest as jealousy or envy, ugly qualities that I sure ain’t proud of. What’s frustrating is that my rational mind screams, “Eew, eew, get that away from me!” But my heart is a contradiction, accommodating these ugly emotions.
But I, God, search the heart … I get to the root of things
When God exposes icky behavior, it’s easy to plead ignorance and pretend that it doesn’t exist. It takes courage and vulnerability to acknowledge our dark passengers. We can only grow once we get to the root of things, and this demands work.
To quote my hubby, “Honesty to self is eternally rewarding; it allows us to frame the way forward on a cleansed platform.” So even though it hurts to confront our true emotions, in the end, the effort is worth it. Besides, we can’t hide from God—everything exposed by the light becomes visible, and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
Self-awareness: Know thyself
Whether good or bad, there is an upside to connecting with our emotions. It leads to high emotional intelligence—the ability to understand, express, and manage our emotions and the emotions of others. And we know that emotional intelligence is integral for:
- Effective leadership
- Happy and productive environments (families, homes, organizations, teams, workplaces)
According to Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence), self-awareness—recognizing feelings as they happen—is a keystone of emotional intelligence; it is crucial to psychological insight and self-understanding. Other building blocks include self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill (discussed here).
No wonder the Bible encourages us to build our self-awareness muscle (2 Corinthians 13:5):
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?
God always speaks to the real you
It’s scary to dig deep and come into contact with the real you. Many of us—myself included—don’t know what we really look like. But God doesn’t front; he will treat you as you really are, not as you pretend to be. God always speaks to the real you.
Being a stay-at-home mom, I sometimes feel stuck and envious of those who are advancing professionally. When this happens, I allow myself to experience the emotions in their raw, ugly state.
I know, Christians aren’t supposed to entertain envy or jealousy. But this is what “knowing thyself” is all about. The good news is that God’s spirit helps me manage my emotions responsibly. A combination of prayer, meditation, and self-learning are key to toning my awareness muscle.
What ugly emotions did you last uncover? What tools do you use to increase your awareness muscle?
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Quote Me.”