I am a person who is not overly concerned that every aspect of my appearance be perfect. Recently I have heard from friends who told me:
- “My nose is off center”… I never noticed. How does one determine if their nose is skewed?
- “One of my eyebrows is higher than the other”…eyebrows have mind of their own. You never know what they are gonna do!
- “I have a crooked smile”…all smiles are crooked!
It seems we are all self conscious about something. Quite a few years ago I challenged my youth group to raise some cash for their mission trip with the reward being the privilege of shaving my head. Well they accomplished their goal – I was buzzed, and in the process I joined the ranks of the self conscious. First, Kim informed me that she would be filing for a legal separation should I ever do something like that again. She shared that the look was, well, somewhat unpleasant and that my naked scalp was rather unattractive. I had people I didn’t even know approaching me and saying … “that is one ugly head!” Needless to say I was and am somewhat uncomfortable in public places with no cranial covering.
You can imagine my delight when the surgeon told me I did not have to shave my head for the Friday procedure. They would however shave two quarter size tracts on the back of my skull. So now people will not comment on the ugliness of my head but instead express curiosity in how I contracted the mange when they see the two bald patches and who knows what they will think when the two drill holes are noticed on my forehead. I will probably shrug my shoulders and simply respond by claiming ….“termites!” Because of my self-consciousness I will probably wear a cap.
Self-consciousness is something most of us struggle with at one time or another. It is a part of our nature. It can even creep into our faith. We wonder how our faith and practice will play out in public . We fear our reputations will be tarnished if we decide to befriend a questionable person as we seek to introduce them to Christ. What will people say? Maybe you find yourself in an unsavory location as you converse with one about the Great News and you think to yourself … “people may talk.” Maybe you have been taking care of a sick relative and you haven’t made it to church in awhile or you are just taking COVID precautions and you worry that people think you are no longer a dedicated member of the congregation. My suggestion is that you stay true to your faith and seek to do that which pleases God regardless of what it looks like to others. In other words ….replace your self-consciousness with GOD-consciousness.
Oswald Chambers made a challenging comment in his series of lectures recorded in the book My Utmost For His Highest: “When we become overly self conscious we lose the touch of God.”
As we live and practice our faith, hopefully we work faithfully for God never losing sight of his purposes in our lives and leave perceptions up to those who might choose to judge or to affirm. Also practice the acknowledgement of God- consciousness as being superior to any human assessments.
I give thanks during the holiday season for this wonderful congregation and their consciousness that God will use us in a variety of ways. If we replace our fragile egos with awareness that God has work for us to do and then get to work, self- consciousness will wane in importance as a strong faith in the strength and goodness of almighty God guides our actions and he will use us in challenging situations.
So in conclusion, please take note that I have not resigned nor have I left this congregation under suspicious circumstances. I am not mad at anyone and I don’t have a case of hurt feelings. I will be recovering from my procedure at the Oliver estate after a three or four day stay at our NC Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem conscious of the fact that I have a wonderful congregation praying for me.
Thank you PSBC!
I love you, and I will see you hopefully in late December!