Does your moral compass point toward honesty? A few weeks ago in the May Newsletter we talked about the masks people wear that cover up their true identity. We try to hide the true and sometime ugly things inside us from others, and even more destructively, from ourselves. Are you ready to clean away any webs of deception that are veiling your true identity? It all starts with honesty, and that means being honest with yourself.
Proverbs is full of wise counsel and advice for living our lives. Here is what it says about honesty.
Keep deception and lies far from me … Proverbs 30:8 AMP
Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people. Proverbs 11:3 NLT
So how can you determine if you are presenting your true self instead of living behind a web of deceits? Here are some simple steps for doing a self-assessment. Do it without shame or blame. Be gentle with yourself, but be honest with yourself.
1. Select a single area to examine so you don’t feel overwhelmed with the undertaking. Chances are there is an area in your life that leaps to mind. If not, a place to start might be to evaluate where you stand in your walk with God.
2. Set some time aside away from family and friends in a quiet place where you can think.
3. Record your thoughts. Do your thoughts and actions line up with what you say about yourself to others? Write things down in your journal, or draw pictures. If you are not a writer, use the voice memo app on your phone.
4. Be specific. Write down concrete examples of how you have been acting, thoughts you have been thinking, the truths or lies about yourself that you have been projecting to others.
5. Think about how you act in your different roles in life: in your family, in the workplace, in your marriage, with your friends, in the church. Are you consistent in your words and behaviors in all these places? Is God showing up in all of these roles you play? Are you putting on a different mask for each of these roles?
6. Identify your strengths where you are consistent in your thoughts, attitudes and actions across all your roles.
7. Identify areas where you are being dishonest and hide your true self to fit the role you are playing. Where have you crossed the line from adaptability, which can be a positive character trait, to deception and presenting a totally false self?
8. Develop an action plan for addressing the situations where you are wearing a mask. List some specific actions you can take to be more honest in how you portray yourself. If the way you portray yourself is closer to who you want to be, then changes in your heart are needed. It may mean having some truthful conversations, changing what you say, examining how you are spending your time, or renewing your mind with more Godly thoughts.
9. Come back a week later, examine how you performed your action plan, and prepare a plan for the next week. Remember, it is a process!
Self-assessment can be very challenging and difficult but you will get better with practice!
If you are serious and courageous, I have another recommendation for you. Find someone who knows you, loves you and is willing to speak the truth in love. Ask that person to help you in your self-assessment. Ask that person to describe how you look from the outside-in, while you describe yourself from the inside-out. I know … that’s scary. If you put aside the blame, shame and guilt and listen with open, tender ears it can give you a much clearer idea of how honest you are being with yourself.
Put this self-assessment into your spiritual toolbox, strip away those masks and grow closer to God!