(Well, I seriously overslept yesterday, so here we go today! Sorry!)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…. (Romans 12: 1-2)
Monday we explored 7 possible blind spots that can stand in the way of good decisions, wise actions, and healthy relationships. But once you’ve identified some possible sources of personal misunderstanding, what can you do about them? Here are 5 recommendations.
- Recognize that you – yes, you – have blind spots. Before you assure yourself that “those other people” just don’t know what’s really going on, recognize that you may also be blinded by belief. No one is immune to the refusal to look at facts that don’t agree with the narrative you embrace. Push outside the comfort of your existing certainty and entertain information validated by reliable sources. You or I don’t know it all yet! Only God!
- Stop mind-reading. The scripture says that only God knows His own mind. The same is true of God’s highest creations, humans. When you find yourself assuming others’ attitudes about situations or that they are viewing you negatively, especially in the areas in which you view yourself judgmentally, recognize that you may be projecting your biases or insecurities onto their opinions. Instead, engage in constructive conversation with the individual about the situation, more realistically hearing how that person is seeing it all. You know how you feel when someone makes assumptions about you? Then don’t do it to someone else.
- Individualize it. God made every individual unique. Refuse to define a person by one characteristic that you believe predicts personality, character, or destiny. As Jesus went about His ministry, he related with folks in different cultures and various levels of societal esteem (or hatred). He violated cultural gender norms in the name of respect for each individual. Individuals matter, and our vision will be much clearer if we get to know people as such.
- Exercise wise caution, but don’t let fear rule your mind. There’s a reason they call them terrorists; they seek to dominate others with fear. The enemy of your soul is also a terrorist. Fear is one of his favorite tools to keep you hidden and paralyzed. He convinces you of the worst outcomes by pointing out to you the dangers and the factors loaded against you. If you’ve become a prisoner of anxiety, which whispers about what all could happen, get into the Word of God and see what He says about His faithfulness over your life and what will happen. Yes, we live in a world in which bad things happen. However, believers also live in the Kingdom that has a King Who never leaves you, never forsakes you, and never fails you.
- Set aside the pride that refuses to be wrong. The stubborn refusal to admit a mistake is a deadly mistake in itself. To be blinded to one’s own faults is to continue to grow worse over time. A question I often invite people to consider is, “What’s it like to be on the other side of me?” Pride goes before a fall, to paraphrase a familiar proverb. That fall hits even harder when you’ve been arrogant, and others know it. Do yourself a favor, and acknowledge your insufficiency in your own strength. The Lord invites us to humble ourselves so that He may exalt us rather than vice versa – exalt yourself, and He’ll need to humble you. Uh-oh.
Lord, help me to renew my mind with Your Word. Open my eyes to truth so that I may learn, grow, and become my very best in You.