Every Thursday, I write with church leaders in mind. Yet, this particular post probably speaks to many of us, regardless of how we serve.
Let’s think for a moment about self-consciousness.
There was a guy who was a receiver on our team who really seemed concerned about how he might look in a picture. The photographer was going to take action shots. At one point, just before he began taking pictures of the receivers catching footballs, this particular receiver wanted to practice. The quarterback threw him a pass (which he caught) and he immediately yelled to one of his friends, “How did I look?”
Many of us spend much time and energy preoccupied with ourselves. We want to look good and can become more preoccupied with our image than the reality of our lives. This self-consciousness comes out in interesting ways:
1. A young father may spend much time and energy wanting to appear to be cool. Consequently, his appearance receives more attention than his character.
2. A woman invites a friend over to her house. She really can’t enjoy the visit because she is constantly wondering what her friend thinks of her.
3. A preacher keeps talking about himself. He tells others that every church where he has been has grown. He talks about how others are clamoring for his ministry. He seems to find ways to talk about his vast experience in ministry.
4. An elder in a particular congregation seems to love getting in front of the church to talk. Some of his closest friends quietly share their concerns about how he has changed in the last few years. He seems to be preoccupied with his self-importance since he began serving as an elder. Yet, very few people in the church ever seek him out for shepherding.
Self-consciousness can really stifle your growth. Christ-followers ought to more Christ conscious than self-conscious. That is, they are far more concerned about what Jesus thinks than what others think. Christ followers who are Christ conscious are more apt to grow and mature than remain stuck in immaturity.
In your ministry, in what areas are you far too self-conscious? What does a heightened self-consciousness do to a person? What has been helpful to you in growing beyond this?