Re-defining Self Awareness
And when day came, He departed to a lonely place; and the multitudes were searching for Him, and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from going away from them. ( Luke 4:42) But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. ( Luke 5:16)
Jesus was constantly in demand and constantly around people, from His disciples to those that sought Him for healing. But even the Son of God needed time away from the multitudes of demands that were laid on Him. Even Jesus wasn't immune to burn out, and if He wasn't, then we certainly aren't.
So what do you do when everyone is getting on your nerves? Here are a few of my go to's. These are by no means a formula to knowing yourself or God. These are the things the facilitate my meetings with God.
- Get away from people. No, seriously. If that level of irritation is occurring, it's a huge warning sign that you are not heeding your own boundaries (or have no idea where they are), and that you are headed for burn out. Hide from people if you have to, like Jesus did in the above passage in Luke. Find a place away from anyone where you can have peace and quiet.
- Find your restoration room. This should be a place where you can get away from the noise of life and be alone with God. Whether it's a room, a chair, a park, or a corner of your house, wherever that is, go.
- Do something life giving. God has placed in our DNA things that we were called and made to do. What do you enjoy? What do you find beautiful? Get away to your restoring place and do it. I love photography, art, and music and on my days off when I need to be restored, you'll find me doing those things.
- Meditate. No, not in the new age way. Everything good and helpful, the enemy has taken as His own and made counterfeit. But true meditation is not only helpful but healthy. Clearing our minds from the days troubles is healthy.
- Read scripture. It isn't helpful to clear our minds completely without putting something life giving back in.
- Talk to God. No, I'm not talking about holy, fake prayer. I'm talking about getting into the nitty gritty, no holds-bar kind of talk with God. You reap what you sow. If you want a shallow relationship, be shallow, but if you want to go deeper, than be real with God. He can take it. Actually, He prefers it that way. How else can you give over your hurts, your wounds, and the not-so-nice places in your heart to God?
- Let Him set your boundaries and help you get to know the real you. One of the most amazing conversations I've had with God started with this question, God, what do you think of me? God made us, so clearly he knows our giftings and our strengths as well as our weaknesses. How well you know yourself is directly proportional to how connected you are to God.
- Do all of this often. In Luke, it says Jesus got away often, and if He needed to, we sure do!
On Maslow's hierarchy of needs, "self awareness or actualization" sits at the very top of the triangle. He considered it one of the most important factors in health and happiness, and he was partly right but He was missing the bigger picture.
We need to be aware of ourselves, as Jesus so clearly modeled for us, in order to interact and have healthy, full relationships but we can only do so to the extent that we are connected to Him.
Or, can I phrase it like this? How deeply you know God is directly correlated to how deeply you'll know yourself, because the deeper you go with God, the more like your true self you'll become.
So go, get away with God, and do it often. You'll find yourself becoming more and more familiar with the true you as you do.