My Video Camera
I am intrigued with the concept of self-awareness. Is it even possible? Maybe not; but we all believe we achieve it. It is a quest which teases my curiosity and leaves me with questions.
“Do people who breathe negativity. . .you know. . .the kind of folks who bleed the positive energy out of the room. . .do they know that they bring with them a heaviness that wears everyone out?”
“Do people who use power to control their environments. . .well. . .do they know?” I imagine some certainly do. I imagine a boss who uses control to increase productivity does so knowingly and without apology. But still I wonder. “Do such people know that their fear tactics are resented?” I imagine there are plenty folks who are perceived with negative voices, only experience themselves as realistic and not negative at all.
“Do people who are masters of manipulation, do they know they don’t fight fairly in relationships? Are they proud of their skills?” I imagine they see when others manipulate but blind to their own.
And folks at the other end of the spectrum, “Do people who doubt their value know that they require emotional support that can exhaust the people around them?”
Do people who enjoy the luxury of confidence, “Are they extremely cool, or simply arrogant?” Where is that fine line?
What about the folks who make every situation, every story, every perspective about themselves? “Do they know? Do they think they are simply. . .relatable?”
“Do people who monopolize every conversation and demand the spotlight know that they are not sharing the stage with valuable yet softer voices?”
I’ll confess, even as I re-read what I have written, I feel the weight of harsh judgement implied in each question. As I look back at these generalizations and I wonder; “Am I conceited and self-righteous?” Yeah, probably. I am sure I am reflected in each line in one capacity or another.
I know I am completely aware of how the world affects my-“self.” Am I aware of how my-“self” affects the world? What questions do I ask for clarity?
Which leaves me being intrigued with the concept. Do I truly see myself the way others see me? Is it even possible? Maybe not; but we all believe we achieve it.
It is a quest which teases my curiosity and leads me on an interesting journey.
Perhaps it is natural to see our lives through the video camera which sits on our shoulder. It records the way the world influences us. It rewinds and re-plays events that shape our perceived self-awareness. Sometimes, our shoulder camera zooms in on tedious, unimportant subjects which lift us to the heights of euphoria and/or dashes us to the depths of self-loathing. It is our shoulder camera that shapes the “self” as we become “aware” of our role on the grand stage of life.
But what happens when we take the camera off our shoulder and we set it on the shoulders of the people around us? What do others record as they perceive our lives? What do they imagine about our actions, let alone our motivations? This panoramic view of our camera begins the journey of empathy.
Yet, this act of trust, to place our “self-awareness” in the hands of others can be both enlightening and fraught with danger. All of us are too easily motivated by the camera on the shoulders of others and we have grown to depend on affirmation from those lenses. Only those who do not receive human applause know how much they want and need it. Those who regularly receive human applause are not even aware of how much they are motivated by it.
It is one thing to allow our imagination to see our lives from other’s perspectives and another to let the evaluations of others control our self-esteem. This journey of empathy helps us become socially adept and skilled at “pleasing.” It can make us likeable but at the risk of sacrificing our personal agendas to the extreme of pleasing the camera sitting on someone else’s shoulder. There is a fine line between a.) seeing our lives through the lens of others, and b.) allowing others to edit our narrative.
What questions do I ask for clarity?
Perhaps the journey to self-awareness should not only be entrusted to the shoulders of our peers; but to the trusting shoulder of Christ. This journey is the one that leads to humility.
There are sacred moments which are revealed through prayer that have the ability to sharpen self-awareness. When I release the camera on my shoulder to Christ, when I imagine his perspective on my actions and my thoughts, then I truly begin to become “aware” of my “self.”
When I am brave, when I become completely vulnerable, when I expose the things that define my internal motivations, then Christ has the opportunity. . .the chance. . .the ability. . .to truly show “me” who “I am” and love me in spite of it. The landmark of this journey is humility. And it is an incredible blessing.
This journey of meditation, this desire to see my life and the world in which I live through the camera lens that Christ is recording has incredible power if only I let it. How does this journey begin? It begins with prayer. It starts with great questions. What questions do I ask for clarity?
“Christ, I’m willingly vulnerable. Others witness my actions; you witness my motivations. You see both my choices and my intentions. Christ, what do you perceive in me that I do not have the wisdom to recognize when I look in the mirror? I’m ready to see. What do you have to show me, about me? Christ, I’m open. What should I do, if I’m brave enough to do it?”
The journey continues with patient silence, avoiding the temptation to speak on behalf of Christ and fill the silence with justifications. If the voice heard is one that sees and demands incredible love, then trust it is the voice of Christ. It may motivate actions which are not passive, or popular, or easy, or fast. The illumination that comes for this kind of vulnerable prayer and patient listening might reveal itself with a desire for spiritual growth, or a hunger to finally make a positive difference in this world, or a challenge that shakes us from our spiritual apathy and causes us to be bold and rise to an occasion.
May we strive for empathy and consider the camera on the shoulders of the people around us. And may we strive for humility as we seek a view form the camera God is holding. And then, may this awareness shape the way we live out our lives.
I Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
For now we see through our camera dimly. Now we see only in part. How will we ever be fully known and know ourselves? Empathy and humility.
This is the path to self-awareness. This journey never ends. It will be a blessing of both spiritual empathy and divine humility. And it will challenge like nothing else challenges. It will inspire like nothing else inspires. And it will result in peace, the kind of deep peace which only comes through being known and yet loved.
In the opening welcome and introduction to this website, I shared the Scripture that inspired this online adventure, I Tim 6:20. This text is also the origination of the name; “Sacred Chatter.” However, my intent is not to be a singular voice. I invite your voice to be a part of the “chat” and I base this on another of my favorite Scriptures: Hebrews 10:24. “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” I am considering how I can provoke love and good deeds in places beyond where I live. This is my attempt to enter into a Hebrews 10 conversation with you over social media.digitally. Now, I am interested in your feedback. Consider what provoking you can provide with your own Sacred Chatter.
What’s important to you? What really matters?
Add your voice in Sacred Chatter.
Love is ours to provoke. Good deeds are ours to sew.
That the wisdom of Hebrews 10 may flourish and grow.
Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they’re potential mediums for the Hebrews 10 plan.
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