If you’re a super-athlete, then you know exactly how strong, how fast, how enduring you are. You constantly work to push yourself just an inch farther. I don’t really know people like this! On the other hand, I just found myself in front of Family Guy for a few minutes, and Peter (the Family Guy himself) found himself so excited to meet someone that he was actually running. After a few seconds, he paused and said, “Is this what running is?” and a moment later he stopped, catching his breath. Not a super-athlete. I know quite a few people like this!
Most of us have a general idea about our level of physical fitness. We’re not so good at evaluating other things about ourselves. This is certainly true of pastors, of teachers, of workers, of musicians, of parents, of politicians, and of Jesus-followers. Yet we evaluate (judge) other people all the time! Perhaps it’s easier to evaluate from a little distance than close-up. Perhaps we’re a little frightened of discovering the truth about ourselves, so we prefer not to look.
One of the great signs of maturity, however, is to check ourselves on a regular basis: to check our motives, check our priorities, check to find out what just triggered us to become angry, or check why we don’t get along with a particular person. Checking ourselves requires humility, but also a decent foundation of confidence. If we’re going to examine ourselves with spiritual seriousness, we need to know that we can accept the awkward truth we may discover about ourselves. Are you ready for some honesty with yourself? I know that sometimes folks avoid going to the doctor because they already have a pretty good idea that something is wrong. We dread having our uncertainty removed, because all of a sudden there’s no excuse for keeping on with life just the way we’ve been living it.
Once you start looking at yourself, you may discover that you need to change a few mental habits. You may need to practice some new thoughts and practices, to undo some of the bad thoughts and practices that have been sneaking into your life. You may need to talk to a pastor or a counselor to get some ideas for how to strengthen your inner life. It’s the same as the move from diagnosis to treatment. Now that you’ve figured out some things about yourself, take some positive steps. Be like that athlete who knows exactly what’s required to step up their game. And step up your life game.
God bless you!