I’m taking some literary license here when I paraphrase words spoken by The Apostle Paul:
Good grief! Why do I keep on making the same mistakes over and over? I don’t want to keep making them, but I do. Why can’t I just do what I know is the right thing to do? (For a more accurate translation, find Paul’s words in Romans 7:14-17)
Have you, like me, found yourself lamenting similar questions?
As I’ve told you previously, I am currently in a 2-year program—into my fifth month now—of study that will lead to certification as a Spiritual Director.
The program requires much personal introspection, direction and accountability. The process isn’t always easy. I’m convinced, however, for spiritual growth to occur, we must be willing to allow the Spirit to show us what lies beneath emotions plus factors that influence thought patterns and motivate behaviors.
Throughout church history, much has been written about the importance of self- awareness that draws one into deeper relationship with God in order understand one’s God design.
In the 14th Century, Catherine of Siena said,
Be who God created you to be, and you will set the world on fire.
John Calvin, a 16th Century theologian, pastor and reformer during the Protestant Reformation, said,
Knowing yourself begins with knowing God. Man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself.
A 20th Century theologian said simply,
Self-Awareness leads to God-Awareness.
The Christian’s spiritual growth must be forged upon the mercy, grace, and unconditional love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then he or she must be willing to listen with the heart to what God is saying. Finally, we must trust God to provide wisdom and resources needed to make life-giving, God-honoring changes.
Self-awareness dawns in different ways. Writings of ancient Christians have whetted my spiritual appetite to learn more, but throughout every age God guides us to life-producing resources when we search humbly and expectantly.
In the 21st Century, the era in which God has placed you and me, we are blessed to have access to many different translations and paraphrases of Scripture to read, listen to and study. Counselors, pastors, coaches, spiritual directors, educators, inspirational books, groups, podcasts, and Youtube, talks provide helpful insights to assist spiritual awareness and growth.
A powerful tool that’s helped me with self-awareness is the Enneagram, an ancient personality assessment, traced to around 4th Century Christians. The Enneagram has re-surfaced in the last few decades and is used widely for personal and spiritual growth. I believe it is a tool God has resurrected to help 21st Century seekers live in the freedom God intended for us.
I’ve read several different books about the Enneagram. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend starting with The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. It’s a well-written primer, penned from a Christian perspective.
Blessings in your journey of self-awareness that leads to greater God-awareness…
- https://www.azquotes.com/author/17881-St_Catherine_of_Siena ↑
- https://www.bloggingtheologically.com/ ↑
- Although I’ve read this quote attributed to Thomas Merton, I’ve been unable to verify ↑