Understand Yourself First
The first step in understanding the differences between people is to understand yourself first. Bryan and Anna experienced this firsthand as they discussed their finances.
The couple sat at their dining room table studying the latest report from their financial adviser. Anna twisted her hands.
“What about these trades?” she asked, pointing to a stock that had been bought and sold three times during the last month.
Bryan grinned. “I read an article about that company and day traded it,” he said. “Looks like we got lucky.”
Anna turned to face her husband. “That’s not the first time you’ve tried that,” she said, cocking her head. “The last time you tried that it didn’t work out so well – I believe you’re a lot more of a risk-taker than you realize and I am not sure I am comfortable not being part of these decisions.”
Bryan stopped to consider his wife’s words.
Understand yourself first
That kind of self-examination can be both uncomfortable but transforming. Scripture indicates the importance of knowing yourself, your bent, your feelings, and your motivations. Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us examine our ways and test them.” Here, the Hebrew word for “examine” indicates our self-study is to be a probing investigation to uncover what it true.
The more Bryan thought about Anna’s words, the more they rang true. He’d never thought of himself as a risk-taker. He had a steady, reliable job and liked golf – not bungee jumping, car racing, or even football. But he chafed at unnecessary rules or the feeling of having to “check in”. He liked his firm’s unconventional approach to a dress code and the freedom he was given to pursue new client accounts. When it came to finances, Bryan paid the family’s bills but relentlessly looked for ways to maximize their assets even when it meant taking chances. His investments often made Anna nervous.
Bryan saw Anna studying him. “You’re right,” he said, looking at her. “I didn’t realize that I tend to be a risk-taker, especially when it comes to our finances.”
Bryan had taken an important step in building a healthier relationship with his wife: a willingness to understand himself first.
Healthy relationships begin when you understand yourself first.
Let us examine our ways and test them (Lamentations 3:40).
- Honest self-examination can be both invigorating and uncomfortable. List reasons why you’re willing to search yourself and reasons why you might hold back.
- How can self-deception get in the way of understanding what’s true about ourselves?
- Name a next step you can take in your journey of self-examination.