The next area of presence that I am resolving to practice this year is being present to myself. I know on the surface that this sounds very selfish, but it’s really a vital step in the life of a disciple to recognize who they are, where they come from, and what’s going on inside of them.
In the last year I have been going through the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality with the other staff of Westbrook. This is really what has pressed upon me the need for presence to self. The book teaches how to look at what is going on inside you and what happened in your family to help you develop emotional health in order to be spiritually healthy. Many of us don’t take the time to analyze what is going on inside of us and why it is happening. This is what I mean by being present to myself. Being present to myself allows me to better remove the obstacles from being transformed into a more Christ-like person.
When I know myself, I know the causes of anger and frustration. I know what causes me to stumble or succeed. I know the areas where I need to be more patient. I begin to know how to overcome those obstacles that stand in the way of loving God well and loving others well. This is why I have been working and continue working to know myself better. When I ignore these things and pretend like everything is okay, I fail to love as best I can and loving well is at the heart of Christian spirituality. In fact in the Emotionally Heathy course they say that, “The essence of true Christian Spirituality is learning to love well.”
I want to challenge you to take sometime and try to figure out why you are the way you are and if you have the time read Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. I believe that being present to ourselves better allows to being present to others because we can remove the obstacles that get in the way of loving God and loving others well.