Recently, Barbara and I were taking a trip and the conversation turned to my sermon from the day before. She asked me, was I preaching to myself. That is a heavy question that someone may have been pondering, but not necessarily prepared to discuss. My reply to her was “probably so”. It was true. I was kicking myself not just stepping on toes. Just because you know the truth or even speak the truth does not mean it always translates to living the truth. The good thing about truth is that it is not dependent on you living it in order for it to be valid.
It is likely that the widest gap in the world is between knowing and doing. When we find ourselves in the midst of the tension of knowing what to do but living in a manner that does not reflect that, it would be beneficial to evaluate our situation and determine to make some adjustments. That is much more simple to say than it is to live out because all of us have natural inclinations that make some things more difficult for us than it might for others. Here are a few things I have been processing as it relates to preaching to myself.
Acknowledgement Is The First Step In The Right Direction
I am not a good celebrator. By the time I have finished one thing I have already been planning and processing the next thing or if you asked my wife, the next ten things. I can recognize progress, but often fail to take the time to celebrate that something good has happened. Celebration helps build momentum and when we are trying to make significant changes in our life, we can certainly use all of the momentum we can muster. Just recognizing that you are struggling in an area is reason for celebration. Without that acknowledgment there will be no other progress, so this is the first step in the right direction.
It Is Painful
I have yet to meet the person who enjoyed acknowledging their faults or flaws. Sometimes the pain comes from realizing the source of your hurts. Other times the pain comes because you have faced the same problem over and over and just never addressed it. Even making changes in our life to address the issue can be painful. It may include lifestyle or even relationship changes. The more drastic the change the more painful it can be. Just be aware that it is a pain that will heal and you will be better for it.
This is critical. Just acknowledging a problem is not sufficient to fix the problem. You must take action. Some thought needs to go into what action you will take. Just haphazardly taking action can be detrimental to you. Taking the right action at the right time is what is most important. Sitting still, at least for any extended period of time, does not improve the situation. The way to fix the problem is to close the gap between knowing and doing by taking action.
Be Open About It With Someone Who Can and Will Help
Very few problems can be solved without the assistance of other people. There are people who have strengths in the area where you are weakest or have conquered the same problem in spite of a weakness. Those people are often willing to help you overcome any challenges you may have. People generally want to see other people succeed. Seek out those people who can help you and you will find it much easier to arrive at the place you want to be.
All of us have areas that are difficult for us to manage. This is not an excuse to ignore them. Once they are identified, understand that is the beginning and not the end. Awareness of what is ahead will help you navigate to the place you want to be.