If you could fast forward to yourself in ten years, would you like who you'd become? Would you be surprised at what your life was like or what YOU were like?
These are the questions I started asking myself when I read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. It's a fiction novel about a 39-year-old woman, Alice, who suffers a head injury and thinks she is 29 again. When she wakens from her injury, she is completely confused. She doesn't know her own children. She has separated from her husband, who she remembers being desperately in love with. She is estranged from her best friend, distant from her sister, and the mom at school who throws champagne parties. Although she doesn't remember any of it, she realizes that she hates the person she has become. She is distant, selfish, bitter and thoughtless.
So I thought, where I am I headed? If I were to fast forward ten years, would I like myself? It is so easy to change. It happens almost imperceptibly. We start one little selfish habit. We hold one little grudge. We cheat a few dollars on our taxes, and then a few more. We lie to our spouse once and then end up having to keep bigger and bigger secrets to hide the truth. Imagine how such little things can have a profound change on you in just a few years. You might become unrecognizable to yourself.
How do we stop that from happening? Two things that I think are the most important are prayer and self-examination. I try to do some serious self-examination at least every few months and I find that it is really helpful. Without trying to impress anyone, I realize unhealthy attitudes and actions that I have adopted. The Bible talks a lot about self-examination too.
Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord! Lamentations 3:40
Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. "Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Ezekiel 18:27-28
Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, "Consider your ways! "You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes." Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Consider your ways! Haggai 1:5-7
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galations 5:22-23
Self-examination is no good if we don't turn to God to ask Him HOW to live. And if we aren't honest about ourselves, self-examination with do no good, so let's turn to Him and live!