But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God– John 3:21 NIV
We all want THE THING. “The thing” is that something, that bit of knowledge or understanding that will make us a better version of ourselves. Longing for “the thing” is why the self-help section of any bookstore is always the biggest and best stocked in the store. We all long for that magic bullet.
We want the thing because growth, self-awareness and maturity are the fast-track to all the other things we all want in life. Things like healthy friendships, successful careers and happy families. For believers in Jesus the thing is the path to spiritual growth and wisdom. Those blessings inevitably lead to deeper understanding of our faith and greater intimacy with Jesus (2nd Peter 1:5-8, 2nd Peter 3:18, 2nd Corinthians 3:18)
Humans are hard-wired to want all those things.
If a person has stopped caring about healthy relationships, career success and a happy family it is likely they experienced some sort of trauma that caused them to give up on a fundamental aspect of what makes us God’s image bearers.
Few actually get it. Even most Christians fumble around hoping to find the answers to this longing we have to become a better version of ourselves.
The good news is the secret isn’t really a secret. Getting “the thing” is easy. Literally, anyone can do it. That said, few are willing to do what needs to be done to get it. All it takes to achieve real growth and lasting change comes down to asking one simple question and really wanting to know the answer to that one simple question:
“What don’t I want to see about me?”
We all have something we would rather not see about ourselves. It might be that we’re actively running from God, or perhaps we stubbornly refuse to confront sin in our life or the lives of those we love. It might be we have a mean streak or a raging pride problem. It might be an anger issue or we are inclined to take the easy way out of hard situations. Or, perhaps we insist on thinking the best of other people even when all the evidence is tells us not too. Maybe we are unwilling to admit fault or we routinely take more than we give.
Those sins always lead to problems that appear to be completely unrelated to the issue we don’t want to see. Those problems could include but are not limited to unhealthy dynamics in our closest relationships, a lack of friends, persistent financial problems, poorly-behaved children, a stalling in our professional lives or a stubborn lack of spiritual growth.
We call the stuff we don’t want to see blind spots. They are not blind spots. A blind spot is something we CANNOT see. The things I’m talking about are all things we simply don’t wish to see. The problem with calling something we refuse to see a blind spot is it neatly removes personal responsibility from the equation. Without understanding and owning our role in the problem nothing will change in our lives. We will be doomed to stunted growth and messed-up personal relationships.
The good news in all of this is that God loves each of us more than we can even understand. God is rooting for all us to become the best version of ourselves. He wants us to succeed in all the things that matter. Because He loves us and wants the best for us He longs to show us the things we don’t want to see. He knows that seeing the things we don’t want to see is the first step in the kind of change that leads growth, maturity and self-awareness.
So, here’s the thing.
If we find ourselves stuck in some area of our life or keep running up against failure it’s not because of how we were raised, or because we married the wrong person. It’s not the fault of the temperament we were born with and it’s not because we missed out on opportunities others had. It’s because there is something we refuse (consciously or subconsciously) to see about ourselves. Because God made us and is the ultimate authority in life, solving the problem ALWAYS begins with asking Him the question.
If we ask and actually want to know the answer God will tell us. Honesty is His jam. He literally cannot lie (Numbers 23:19). The answer might come in a still small voice. It might come in the form of some angry words from a loved one. It might come in the form of a bad review at work. But it will come.
We just have to be willing to do something about it.