The Wesley’s Self-Examination Quiz created a healthy moment of reflection this evening. Through honestly answering the questions, I was challenged to really look at how I live my life day in and day out. One of the questions that really challenged me was “Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?” For the first time tonight I saw self consciousness in an exposed light. As I read the word self-conscious I truly understood what it meant.
I tend to be pretty self conscious because it’s in my nature to be a people pleasure. I strive to keep everyone happy. But I’ve never really looked at this as a bad thing. I’ve always thought, “I’m self-critical and self-conscious because I want to do things right and please others,” but when you get to the root of things self-consciousness has nothing to do with other people at all.
I just realized tonight that self consciousness in its purest form is selfishness. As I read the question I thought about the word “conscious” and what it meant. I also looked up the dictionary definition…
Conscious – aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc. (Dictionary.com)
To be self-conscious is to be self-aware, self-focused. Self-consciousness leads to my thoughts being so focused on myself and how I am being perceived that I think of myself wayyyyy more than I spend time thinking about others. It’s selfish to be so worried about what I look like, act like, or am perceived like because I’m thinking of myself before I’m thinking of others.
I found this question so uncomfortable because if it had simply asked “Are you selfish?” I would have thought “No I’m good at sharing and stuff” not giving it a second thought. But instead the question asks, “Are you self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?” And I can’t blow by it so easily. I’ve realized to be any of these three things is to be selfish.
If I am going to be a disciple worth multiplying I must get rid of this selfishness that has been hiding in my heart as self-consciousness. And I don’t think the the answer to getting rid of my self-consciousness is to gain self-confidence, or confidence in myself, but to gain Christ-confidence, or confidence in Christ.
My prayer is that as I switch my focus from being self-conscious to Christ-confident I will become a selfless disciple who is ready to be multiplied.
– The verse that I meditated on today was Matt 5:16 –
“In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”