I consider myself to be pretty self-aware as a person. I laughed when I watched some of the scenes in the recent Sherlock Holmes films because I can identify with his ability to notice little details and to project outcomes in every scenario. Maybe I missed my calling as a detective…
I know not everyone is this way. I guess I’m a little “special.” As you can imagine (or perhaps you prefer not to), this “talent” can be quite helpful and also a real pain. I can often get very distracted by my surroundings because I can’t help but notice what’s going on around me. I mean, even as I write this there is this song that just came on and the melody sounds just like… wait, never mind.
The funny thing about self-awareness is that it does not guarantee that you will not have blind spots. As self-aware as I tend to be, there is still much that I miss, especially internally. Maybe paying attention to what’s going on around me causes me to miss what’s going on in me. Does that ever happen to you? I can tell you all about the people I see, but when it comes to my own feelings and the condition of my own heart, I am sometimes surprised by what I find when I slow down long enough to take a look.
The bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9). Whatever idea I may have about my own goodness (put there by God), I must hold it in tension with the fact that I can very easily deceive myself. The very nature of hang-ups like pride, arrogance, bitterness, envy, and deep anger are that they take hold in deep places that are hard to notice. No one escapes the need to be diligent in guarding against areas of blindness.
If you’re like me, you might think that everyone else is susceptible to self-deception and that you’re much too smart for it. I have bad news for you: that’s the first step of self-deception. As my pastor Kevin Meyers says, “we’re all one step away from stupid.”
So take a minute today and remember that things that creep up on you to ruin your life do not do so loudly. The expression “creep up” means that they are like highly trained ninjas and very hard to detect. As Paul says, “be on your guard” (1 Cor. 16:13). This is where good friendships and community come in. Ask a trusted friend or your spouse how you’re doing in these areas (humility, resentment, loving others). Try not to be too shocked if you need to course correct. Course correction is better than damage control.