As we rolled into 2019, I read several articles about the changes we might need to make in 2019. Behind each of their suggestions and proposed resolutions was the idea that each person was honest with themselves about their life situation. This rarely seems to be true. Most people I know are not making the necessary changes in their lives because they are living with self-delusion. No one is asking them the hard questions about their life, and most of what they see is self-affirming. It appears everyone else has their life together so we must be doing okay.
I think that before you overcome obstacles in personal growth, you must first be aware of their presence. This typically requires you to ask questions about yourself that no one else is asking you. Here are a few self-evaluation questions for today and the rest of 2019.
1. How are you feeling? I am not asking what you smile and tell people at work or what you post on social media. You need to be honest with yourself about your deepest feelings. Are you sad, lonely, hurting or even apathetic? Do you genuinely feel joy, happiness, and the love of those around you? Before you can change the way you feel, you need to confront those emotions head on. Why are you feeling this way? Does anyone else know? What might you need to change to make it better?
2. How is your marriage? Do you feel closer to your spouse today than you did just one year ago? What are you doing to build this relationship? Are you privately holding onto resentment and unresolved anger? What could you do to make your marriage better for both of you?
3. How is it going as a parent? Do you feel like things are going well? Are your children growing in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man? Have you asked anyone for advice or help lately? Do you feel all alone in a sea of emotions without any clue of your next step?
4. Do you have any healthy Christian relationships? Every word of that description is important to evaluate. Do you have any real friends? Are those friends people who have a healthy relationship with their spouse, their children, and the Lord? Is it someone you can be honest with about questions 1-3?
5. How is your soul? Is your relationship with God growing, declining or stagnant? Do you have the joy of your salvation and sharing it with the people you know? Are you serving God with your whole heart? Does time in worship inspire or depress you? Are you learning more about God’s word in a way that is transforming your life?
I realize that most of these questions are very subjective. The answers might even change from week to week. The truth remains that you need to be continually asking the right questions about your life. Ancient writer Plato recalls a speech of Socrates in which he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” His words ring truer today, at a time when we are obsessed with our public image on social media. To live a life that honors God and gives you peace you must be ruthlessly honest with yourself. Would you be willing to ask these questions to yourself today?