You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.Psalm 139:1
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? Psalm 139:7
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24
Life comes at us quickly. We move at such a fast pace that we don't think we have any time to spend on taking care of ourselves. As long as nothing is majorly wrong, we don’t pay attention to the condition of our hearts. We often assume we are okay until we are not. Most of us desire to grow, but the formation we desire will never happen in a hurry. It requires us to slow down and carve out time for personal reflections, as well as invite other voices into the conversation. We need to pause long enough to give careful thought to what is going on below the surface of our lives.
In order for the reflection that leads to transformation to take root in our lives, we must learn the art of self-awareness and self-assessment. These two ideas are vitally connected to each other and don’t work without the other. Self-awareness without self-assessment is reckless and harmful. Knowing you have a short fuse or are prone to worry but do nothing to learn why you are that way will lead you to hurt yourself and others by just “being you.”
On the other hand, self-assessment without self-awareness is pretty much useless. The problem with just having self-assessment is that our heart can be deceptive and prevent us from noticing our blind spots or the raw, real condition of what is happening below the surface. Our hearts aren’t completely well and the truth is we can be easily fooled. Regardless of whether you are super self-aware or you are an avid self-assessor, we all need other voices in our lives to help us turn self-reflection into transformation.
An accurate assessment requires an authentic encounter with God. The only person who can understand the true condition of your heart is the One who created you. Psalm 139 speaks to the care, love, and grace God extends to each one of us. The reality is that God knows you better than you know yourself. A statement like that can leave some of us uneasy. Our greatest desire is to be known, but our greatest fear is to be known and not loved. We are worried that if God sees all of us that he will reject us. Yet, Scripture reminds us time and time again that God knows us fully and He loves us completely.
Being known by God is a safe place. So, why would we ever run? After all, Psalm 139 speaks to this being a futile venture. We cannot outrun God. We can run, but the truth is He is there. His pursuit of us is perfect. God knows precisely where you are in relation to Him as well as the person you were made to be. God understands how you work: your personality, how you think, how you process and how you make decisions. He also recognizes what is going to trip you up, what’s going to tempt you every time, and what has the potential to bring you down. We shouldn’t assess ourselves against who we think we should be, but rather against who God has made us to be.
God knows us fully, loves us completely, pursues us perfectly, and created us wonderfully. So, in light of all this, what can we do to know the condition of our hearts? We should follow the lead of David when he makes a simple, yet incredible authentic request of God: search him and know him. When you encounter God authentically, it positions you to ask this question, “God, what do you see in me?” It’s only when you encounter God authentically that you will be able to see yourself accurately.
An authentic encounter with God takes time. You can’t do this in a hurry. An authentic encounter with God takes some tools: a Bible, a journal, and a pen. And lastly, an authentic encounter with God takes trust. Will you trust God with what He brings to light? When you see the true condition of your heart, and it’s not as neat and tidy as you thought, will you trust Him? To come before God and ask, “What do you see in me?” might just be the scariest thing you do, but it could also be the most formative thing you do. This honest encounter won’t just happen. It’s going to take intentional time, some helpful tools, and authentic trust.
God knows you better than you know you. How does this statement sit with you (hesitant, thankful, free, ashamed, etc.)? In what ways does your answer influence your willingness to bring all your issues to God?
What lies “below the surface” that you have been attempting to ignore or pretend it isn’t there? Why is an authentic encounter with God needed in this area?
God, search me and know me. I desire for my heart to change but this requires me to expose it to You. Allow me to be vulnerable and transparent with You and others. Rather than rush the transformation process, help me to trust the process. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.