Self-awareness for Selflessness

Wednesday, March 21, 2012  ::  

At Second Mile we are making our way through Exodus. This week Chad taught through Exodus 18 when Moses listened to every problem every day from sun up to sun down. His father-in-law told him he would burn out and should raise up leaders to help carry the load. You can read the account here.

Many great points were made (a totally unbiased opinion, of course), but one continues to ring through my brain. In speaking of serving in leadership Chad said, "You can't be selfless unless you are aware of self."

I mentioned my purpose statement as a mom in the last post I wrote. I've also written purpose statements as a wife and as the ministry leader of Moxie. Along with these statements, I've cultivated a list of personal values, traits, qualities, characteristics that mold and shape who I am and that mold and shape what draws me to certain people. Those of you that know me won't be surprised to know that self-awareness is a value on my list. 

Self-awareness to me means knowing my strengths, weaknesses, gifts, personality, being aware of the setting I'm in, who is around, how I'm impacting any given situation. It means taking care of my body, my mind, my spirit. I value this in myself and in others. I find myself frustrated with others who are not willing to learn and grow in their self-awareness. 

As it turns out, serving selflessly in an unholy way comes easily to my personality type. If you read up on the Myers Briggs personality type ENFJ** you will read in almost every paragraph "seeks to please others" or "puts others needs above their own." In fact, personality page has labeled ENFJ's as The Givers. I like it. It's a good title. Except when I'm all gived out. 

Often I work and work and work to give selflessly to the detriment of myself. Selfless means without yourself which means something or Someone must be working through you. Often when I think of serving selflessly, I feel as if it means sacrifice personally, work until you drop, meet with whoever needs to meet whenever they need to meet. But, actually, this is the most selfish way I can serve my family and friends.

Selflessness should come from time spent with Jesus in His word and in prayer. It should stem from asking Him to rid me of my flesh and fill me up with the Spirit. Selflessness comes from listening to God when He is telling me to rest or say no or push through. It is emptying myself of my self-serving, egotistical desires. Serving selflessly means I must be aware of myself in order to know what I need from the Spirit and to humbly wait on Him as He moves in and through me. In my case, selfless serving may mean taking a break, walking through a park, or taking a nap.

Which brings me back to Chads quote and my personal value of self-awareness. I have to be aware of myself to be able to serve selflessly. It sounds like paradox to me, but it is the truth. I can't give myself to the service of others if I'm spent or if I'm walking into a situation without time spent with Jesus. I can't selflessly serve my family if I had no boundaries in ministry throughout the day. Selfless serving will not happen in my marriage if I haven't allowed Jesus to meet the needs in my heart that only He can meet. No matter how much I desire Chad to meet those needs, He cannot. It is selfish and shows a lack of self-awareness to desire Chad or anyone to fill me up. 

What about you? How do you serve? Are you aware of yourself? Do you understand the difference between selfless serving through the Spirit and selfish serving from your own strength?  For you what does it look like to selflessly serve by being aware of yourself? Can you name a few ways you can more effectively serve others by being aware of yourself?

I will continue to ponder these concepts and evaluate different situations. The ultimate goal in serving is to point to Jesus. My hope and prayer is that He will continue to teach me who I am in Him so that I can run the race He's mapped out for me, but through His power and not my own. Ironically, I will be more able to function in His strength if I am self-aware. So strange, but so true.

**If you are interested in knowing more about who God created you to be, I can recommend a few tools. Email me at angel at secondmi dot org. 

2 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Unknown said...

Lately I have been thinking about my grandmother that passed away a couple of years ago. She was known as a prayer warrior, and a dedicated wife and mother. I do remember hearing her say sometimes, "I'm sorry, but Bob and I just can't do that." I never hear her tell her friends that she was too busy...her days were full of things that mattered, not busy work! Even though she did say no, I believe that everyone that knew her would say that she was a selfless servant.

She is someone who had so many fruits of the spirit evidenced in her life... and to think about the characteristics of her life in comparison with my own. She was never late to appointments, never harried or frantic. She made time to give her full attention to what was at hand. She didn't aspire to present a facade of being able to do everything that everyone else is doing and then some.

I am not a slave to my schedule, saying yes, to people. I am a slave to the one who bought me.

I am not a slave to fear. I do not need to fear missing out, taking the wrong step, being seen as incompetent (that is the truth, right?), being judged for not doing enough. God is my judge, and Jesus is my salvation.

Unknown said...

I took the liberty of quoting you...thankyou for this blogpost.

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