There comes a time when we awaken to the identity that God has given us as his children. This identity grows deeper as he takes us on a journey of greater self-awareness and intimacy with him. Why do I use the word self-awareness? I don’t hold the view that self-awareness means selfish or prideful. In fact, I believe that self-awareness is part of growing in discernment. As I become aware of the state of my heart, I am given an opportunity to draw closer to the heart of God. David spoke of this in Psalm 139:
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me….Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139: 1, 23
Here, David is talking about vulnerability before God. However, in that place of vulnerability, he becomes aware of those areas of pain, hurts, sin, lies, and so on that serve to hamper his relationship with God. David loves the Lord and his presence more than he does his comfort zones. This is part of being self-aware.
I have not always been aware of what goes on inside my heart. For most of my life, I have lived in a bubble safe from the world and myself. As God has taken me on a journey of growth and deeper intimacy, he has shown me that all those things that I experience or struggle with are conversation starters. I come before God with a heart longing for intimacy with him as I bring him my stuff both pleasant and unpleasant. He shines his light onto them providing a clearer perspective. From here, I can begin to repent for that which needs repentance and I can stop partnering with the junk in my heart.
As children of God, we are called to live from the realities of heavenly places:
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus… Ephesians 2:6
This means that we are called to see life, people and circumstances through the eyes of God, a heavenly perspective, one that often confounds the wise and knowledgeable of this world. When we see with God’s eyes, we find our faith increase because we behold the power and goodness of God. Our reality becomes that of a divine reality. We believe with utmost conviction that God is for us, faithful, and true. From this perspective, we say no to every lie and negative thought that comes our way.
Seated in heavenly realms. We get to live heaven on earth. What is in heaven? Healing, wholeness, acceptance, trust, faithfulness, family, joy, unity… The list goes on. This is part of our inheritance as God’s children.
Self-awareness is being able to be in touch with your character, emotions, strengths and weaknesses, thoughts, and beliefs. It also plays a role in helping you understand the effect people and situations have on you. As you grow in self-awareness you are better able to recognize the lies that the enemy brings against you or the accusations he hollers your way. In fact, self-awareness has been attributed to success and emotional intelligence.
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At the end of the day, our thoughts determine the quality of life that we live. Our thoughts affect the state of our heart which we know is the place where springs of life flow from. We need to move those values, beliefs, and thoughts that are head knowledge to our hearts. We do this by renewing our mind and processing with God on a daily basis.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
I think that God permitted a lot of emphasis on renewing our minds because he wants us to live in all that he has for us. God knows that the spiritual war we wage is in our minds – the mind is the battlefield. In the same breath, the enemy knows this as well; so, if he can get us to partner with his lies and accusations, we are prevented from living in all God has for us. In fact, our lives can take on different tangents because our thought patterns begin to dictate the quality of our life. As we allow our toxic thoughts to dominate, our heart begins to partner with them thus causing our behavior to follow suit.
So, self-awareness becomes a personal discernment skill we can use to renew our minds. As we renew our minds through prayer and repentance, we shift our atmosphere and the atmospheres around us. We do this because we begin to partner with God and his truth which sets us free. We begin to walk more in that beautiful inheritance that God has called us to.
The role self-awareness plays in discernment
I have always been a sensitive person. I am sensitive to movies, music, people’s emotions, my surroundings, etc. Although this has allowed me to experience God in an amazing way, it has brought with it a variety of challenges such as watching what movies I watch or the music I listen to. (Lately, I am finding I cannot listen to the radio because all I am discerning is lust, sex, and shallowness which is not at all what I need to have in my life).
I am also having to be more deliberate about not carrying other people’s stuff which is something that my parents regularly tried to teach me. When you are discerning, you pick up on other people’s issues with a heart of compassion without realizing that it’s not your burden to carry but God’s. A lot of what we discern, we think is our own when it’s not. This is where God brings clarity and perspective.
Self-awareness helps us to be quickly aware of shifts in our emotions and behaviors. We are then able to take it to God and ask him to show us how he wants us to respond. It may be through prayer, behaving in the opposite spirit, keeping quite, resting in him, and the other ways he shows us. As God walks us through this myriad of emotions and atmospheres, we get to partner with his heart. We speak words of truth, life and hope into our surroundings, people’s lives, and over families. The result? We live in freedom while drawing those around us into more freedom. What Joy!
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