Here’s a confession for you. I talk to myself. A lot. Yes, I do mean out loud. I have regular conversations with myself: at work, at home, in the car … everywhere! Sometimes my family overhears me and it solidifies their belief that I’m just a little bit crazy. Do you ever talk to yourself? Some experts say that the smartest people talk to themselves. If that is the case, I must be brilliant! How about you? As it turns out, talking to ourselves may not be so crazy. In fact, I would actually suggest that all of us need to have consistent conversations with ourselves regarding certain areas of our lives.
As we prepare for the New Year, there are things we need to be thinking about and conversations we need to be having. Self-assessment, self-awareness, and repentance are all necessary in becoming who God wants us to be. Some of the most important conversations we can have are with ourselves. These conversations allow God to examine our hearts, motives, and actions. Here are four consistent conversations we need to have with ourselves:
The most difficult person I will ever lead is myself. These days few of us slow down long enough to ask ourselves: “How am I doing? Really? Am I healthy? Am I disciplined? Am I focused? Am I learning? Am I growing? Am I at peace? Am I closer to God than I was a year ago?” I should not feel guilty about planning time to work on me. I actually need to lead myself first. I must be relentless about blocking off time to work on my own personal spiritual, leadership, and even physical growth and health.
Everyone needs a “Them.” We need others and we need close, intimate relationships with other people to be and stay healthy. I believe one of the greatest reasons Jesus gave us the church was because he knew we needed each other. However, relationships will always be a blessing and our greatest burden! We need to have consistent conversations with ourselves about the important relationships in our lives: family members, relatives, neighbors, coworkers and friends. “How are we doing on a scale of 1-10? How can we move up a notch on the scale?” Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves! How are you doing with that? I know I need to talk more with myself about this … and my wife agrees!
Remember those latex balloons we coveted as a kid at birthday parties? Every once in a while, we would get to take one home, but then the next morning when we woke up, what had happened? The balloon was on the ground! What happened? Unknowingly, the helium (the energy) had mostly leaked out! No one saw it leak out. It happened slowly and inconspicuously, but it happened. Did you know the same thing happens in us? Vision leaks.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). I’m fond of saying, “If we forget why we do what we do we will eventually lose our passion.” The most important question we can ask ourselves every day is WHY. Daily we should ask ourselves questions like: “Why am I doing this? Why is this important? Why do I want to do this? Why do I want to grow this? Why does this make me anxious?”
The word mission means to “be sent.” God created us for a purpose, and if we miss that purpose we are wasting our lives! It’s one thing to say we have a mission. It’s quite another thing to live it out. Daily we should ask ourselves: “Am I living manic or on mission?
If we are faithful where we are, God might entrust us with more! Sometimes we get so caught up in our “What’s next?” games that we forget to work on our “What Now?” game! Are we being faithful with what we have? Are we becoming more fruitful where we are? Are we being good stewards of the people and resources we’ve already been given? God will never trust us with more than we can handle. If we want God to entrust us with more, we need to be more faithful with what we have! A good steward is a faithful manager. Daily we should ask ourselves: “Am I being faithful where I am and with what I have now?”
See, as it turns out, talking to ourselves may not be so crazy. In fact, the right kinds of conversations with ourselves can be liberating and life-changing. Lamentations 3:40 says: “Let us examine and probe our ways and let us turn to the Lord.” Being honest with ourselves about where we are and where we need to go is a key pathway to change!
Here’s some homework: grab a journal or a sheet of paper and begin a conversation today with yourself about these four vital areas of your life. Where are you? How are you doing? How can you grow? What is your pathway to change? Traction equals Satisfaction!