No matter the relationship, one consistent factor is the presence of ourselves. Many other aspects of our relationships will be distinct from each other. In one relationship, we will bring wisdom; in another, we will bring humor; in a third, we will bring comfort. In every relationship, though, we will bring ourselves—a reality that demands self-awareness. Consider the challenge of relating to those who lack self-awareness. How often have we wished that friend would see it? Doesn’t he realize what he’s doing? Maybe there’s a friend whose constant barrage of advice is belittling. Or maybe there’s another friend who does a great deal of talking but very little listening. Identifying the impact of others’ presence (other-awareness) is easy, though. Self-awareness is much more difficult, and yet cultivating such awareness is a tremendous gift to those around us and a significant mark of maturity. For this reason, those committed to loving people will periodically ask, “What do others wish I knew, but I’m seemingly unaware of?” The self-aware know the gifts they bring and bring them boldly. They also know the challenges they bring and humbly work toward transformation. We impact those around us, whether we intend to or not, and the loving learn to discern the effect of their own presence. Scripture addresses self-awareness both directly and indirectly. Directly, we are asked: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). The self-aware go after their plank before lovingly helping others with their own challenges. We also see examples of those who clearly lacked self-awareness, like the Pharisees who believed they were righteous, but were described by Christ as a “brood of vipers!” (Matthew 23:33). These points of deception are not surprising. We are told our enemy is a deceiver and a liar (Revelation 20:10), and no doubt he aims to deceive us about ourselves. Those who authentically love people not only seek to address deception in the world, but they are humble enough to ask others to tell them what they truly need to hear. How can I bring a more helpful presence to our friendship? What do you wish I knew but seemingly don’t? How have I blessed or challenged you? What would you like to have more of from me? What would you like to have less of from me? These kind of honest conversations should only be had with those we know have our best interest in mind, but when done wisely and well, they will empower us to be the kind of loving people we genuinely want to be.
Spiritual Fitness Check
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Signs You're Living It Out
Is aware of at least three ways they bless others
Is aware of at least one way they challenge others
Has engaged a thorough self-evaluation by proactively seeking input from others at some point in the past three years
Has two to three trusted friends who regularly speak openly about their strengths and weaknesses
Spiritual Fitness Check
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This bible study gives a holistic look through Scripture at the Self Awareness outcome. Engage thought provoking questions for individual reflection and then discuss them in your Life Group or Spiritual Running Partner relationships.
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