Many years ago, when my husband and I were new to ministry, a woman came up to me and told me she thought I was stuck up, but after being around me for several minutes, she realized I was just shy. I was a bit taken aback. As an introvert, I often stood around the edge of a room and had to force myself to mingle and talk with people, but I had no idea I might have come across as stuck up, perhaps even aloof and standoffish.
Awareness of God is an essential component of the Christian life, and it follows that awareness of self and others go hand in hand. As God opens our eyes to know him better, he also opens our eyes to see ourselves better. It’s been said that humility is knowing who we are in relation to God. Our relationships can only improve if we can at least sometimes see ourselves as others do and in relation to them. I’m still an introvert, but I’ve learned to be more outgoing and sociable, even when the introvert part of me wants to hide in the corner.
Greater awareness of others can also be learned and is something Jesus seemed to do with very little effort. We, on the other hand, need to learn to listen and observe as we interact with our friends and family. These practices can go a long way in helping us get along and live in peace.
Awareness of God, self and others might take more effort now than it used to, with all the distractions we encounter, but it’s well worth it. Let’s keep our eyes open and our minds aware of how others see us and how we can love God and our neighbors as ourselves.