Introspection Is Like a Daily Haircut
Have you ever spent any time trying to figure out what’s wrong with you? Yeah. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. 🙂
Before I got saved, I was really messed up, and I spent a lot of time dwelling on that fact. Introspection was my favorite activity.
“Introspection” just means looking at yourself and trying to figure yourself out.
In my case, I spent a lot of time asking questions (of myself and others!) like:
- “What’s wrong with me in this area?”
- “Why am I like this?”
- “How do I need to change _____ in order to be… (accepted, pretty, popular, find Mr. Right, etc)?”
Just thinking about it now makes me cringe. Ugh… I was in a sorry state, and I made it even worse by looking at myself all the time! But I didn’t know any better then. I thought that examining all my problems as closely as I could was the way to solve those problems.
However, after I got saved, joined my church, and began to grow in the Lord, my pastor told me not to get into introspection. He called it “navel-gazing,” and said I should look at Jesus instead of myself. That was news to me!
I started trying to get in the habit of looking at Jesus. It took time, but eventually it worked. I began to look at the Lord more than I looked at myself, and it’s funny. Looking at myself had never done any good. But when I began to look at the Lord, I actually began to change. I started becoming like the One I was gazing upon.
I was reflecting on this lately, and this analogy occurred to me:
Introspection is like a daily haircut.
Just like a haircut, you think introspection is fun at first. You sit in the chair, look in the mirror, and hope to get all prettied up. But every time you focus your attention on yourself instead of on Jesus, you cut off the purpose God had for you in that moment.
Each day you go back for a haircut, and you cut your hair shorter and shorter. It feels all right for awhile, so you don’t notice that you have a problem. You just keep on focusing on yourself, and you continually cut off more and more of God’s purposes for you.
Eventually things get scary. Eventually there’s not much left. What happens then?
I don’t even want to think about it. Squandering one’s life and destiny is a scary thought.
Here’s a better idea: what would happen if we skipped introspection altogether?
What would happen if we followed Papa’s instructions, found in Hebrews 12:1-2:
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
What would happen if we just looked at Jesus all the time? The more we looked at Him, the more we would become like Him.
Second Corinthians 3:18 confirms this:
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
See, what you focus on is what you empower. Whatever you look at becomes bigger in your imagination and in your reality.
So when you look at yourself all the time, your entire paradigm becomes full of nothing but Y-O-U.
But when you look at Jesus, and keep on looking at Jesus, then JESUS becomes bigger in your reality. Your entire horizon becomes filled with nothing but Jesus.
And when your horizon is filled up completely with Jesus, everything will change in your life.
That’s why David wrote, in Psalm 34:2: “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” “Magnify” means to make something appear bigger. When you “magnify” Jesus, you’re looking at Him more closely. You’re making Him appear bigger in your life, and your life becomes consumed with Him. He becomes all you can see, touch, taste, hear, and smell.
- That’s why the secret to getting rid of your desire to sin is not really a secret–it’s just, “Look at Jesus.”
- That’s why the secret to character growth is not a secret either. It’s just, “Look at Jesus.”
- That’s why the secret to a happy marriage, family, and home is no secret at all. It’s just, “Look at Jesus.”
- And that’s why the secret to being completely filled with the Holy Spirit and power, and being free from all manner of demonic influence is just, “Look at Jesus.”
Introspection and magnifying Jesus are two completely opposite activities. Introspection cuts off the purposes of God. It turns your focus in on yourself.
Magnifying Jesus, on the other hand, fills your paradigm with the reality of Jesus’ life, Word, and Person. Which one will you choose today?
Does this word resonate with you today? Is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about this? If so, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you think!
Image courtesy of Hans Kylberg on Flickr via Creative Commons license. Image has been cropped and graphics have been added.
I am so guilty of this. Thank you for writing this post! So in practical terms, how did you turn your attention on Jesus when introspection was such a habit? I’m also reminded of Colossians 3:2-3 when reading this. 🙂
Hey Camille, in practical terms, I would say these are the things that helped me the most:
1) Worship. Lots of time putting on a good CD and getting alone with God, and just picturing Him in my mind (like I talked about in this week’s podcast). CDs that are focused totally on Him. (Like the Behold Your God CD that we did – free on this site- where we sang through the visions of Jesus in Revelation and Ezekiel). When I let Jesus fill my mind and imagination, He made everything ok again. All those things that I was worried about just fell away. And I got such relief from the mental anguish that I kept going back to Him for more. Eventually, the habit of Jesus grew and became bigger than the habit of Jamie. 🙂
2) Repentance. I had made an idol of myself, always bowing down to my own feelings and trying to examine myself. So I repented and asked Him to change me.
3) Then every time I caught myself “in the act” of All About Jamie, then I would tell the Lord I was sorry and just thank Him for Who He is, and that He’s got me under control and that He loves me, etc.
Washing my mind in the Word, day after day, made a huge difference too. Probably the biggest difference. “How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word.” Ps. 119:9.
Does that help at all?
Jamie, I appreciate this post…esp. since I just got a haircut yesterday and it’s funny, but I keep looking at it, obsessing in the mirror, because it’s not exactly the cut I had planned on getting. Life is a bit like that, and our walk with the Lord is a bit like that too…we get so focused on the “should of” or “could of” type stuff that we can’t live in His presence in the here and now. Great post…it’s inspiring me to take this and maybe write my own on the topic in the near future. 🙂
Bwahaha! Thanks Nicki! I bet the haircut looks cute and you don’t even know it. 🙂 Write on! The more truth out there, the better!
Thanks for the reminder! As long as we focus on Jesus then we are empowered. When we start looking at ourselves or even comparing ourselves is when we lose hope and fear comes in! Its in Jesus that we move and live and have our being! When Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. Its the same way in life! When we take our eyes off Jesus, we begin to sink in despair, fear and a feeling of failure! I have a hope and future! And its in Jesus! Thanks Jamie for the reminder girl!
Yes! Preach, Angela! Whoohoo! You do have a hope and a future and you are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Amen!
God bless and thank you. This was sent to me by a dear family/friend and the timing is truly a blessing . The entire article resonated with me and is now my reference for clarity on introspection and magnifying God. The two has been extremely tricky for me for months now and to read an article about something that I knew deep down was causing me pain is a relief and a great help. Thank you for sharing and for being courageous enough to share.:)
Jennisse, thank you so much for your note. I’m so thankful Papa used it to encourage you. Papa is so amazing to give us such a magnificent Savior, isn’t He? The more we gaze at Him, the sweeter and more beautiful He grows, and the more everything else pales in comparison. May we all have a never-ending obsession with Jesus, the Son of God.
Thank you for reading my blog!!!
This is a very powerful message, especially for our world today. The winds of temptation want to steer us towards ourselves, whereas we need to focus on Jesus.
Praise God for the Holy Spirit as this past Sunday, I intervened for a short moment at church when the pastor gave us an occasion to speak. And through some recent experience, I just quickly shared with the church that in order to overcome difficulties and keep on walking with Jesus, we just need to focus on Him. And I am so pleased to come across this post today Jamie, as it takes my understanding further on this subject. Praise God for your faithfulness in writing very relevant posts.
God bless you!
That’s wonderful, Henri. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for reading, as always! Praising God with you!
Wow. Guilty as charged. Thanks Jamie. Dead on point. Believe this happens in periods of waiting to corrode faith and bring on feelings if regret, shame and failure. Soon, i thought, why should God rescue me? i don’t deserve it. Oh what despair in that place!
Songwriter Helen Howarth Lemel was certainly led by the Holy Spirit when she wrote the hymn:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
Meditating on these things and revisiting my “Beautiful Jesus, i adore You” medley from my heart straight to His.
“Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful, Your face is all i see, and when Your eyes are on this child, Your grace abounds to me.”
You are absolutely right and I thank the Holy Spirit for revealing this truth to you. And I bless Him for using you to share this truth. Until this morning, I never realised introspection is dangerous for us as Christians in our walk with Jesus . Now I understand why I keep struggling with despair all the time even after hearing the word. God bless