Have you ever noticed how many times Jesus went away by himself to pray? He spent intentional time alone with himself and with God. He sought out solitude.
Last week our blog talked about Emotional Intelligence and how it is essential for effective leadership and really for life in general. We also talked about how the one critical factor in developing high EQ is self-awareness. The problem is that self-awareness is one of the hardest things to possess.
Knowing our true selves requires some perspectives from others to help us see the gap between how we intend to act versus how we really act. And then we must dig deeper to truly know why our intentions are not aligned with our real actions.
In addition to how we act, self-awareness is about knowing who we are. And knowing who we are requires us to shut out the world and seek God to help us see—see who we are designed to be and what is inside of us that keeps us from living that out. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 that you should “go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret” (Matthew 6:6). Author James Alison says that the translation of “room” is not a bedroom, but a storeroom. “This was the room, in an ancient Middle Eastern house, which was totally enclosed inside a building, with no windows. The purpose of such a space in a culture which had neither central heating nor refrigeration was to ensure that perishable food stored in it would be less susceptible to extremes of either cold or heat. It also meant that once you had shut the door from the inside, you could neither see out, nor be seen”. (Prayer: A Case Study in Mimetic Anthropology, James Alison).
God has much to reveal to us about who we are, where we need healed, the Holy desires God placed in our heart, and how our hearts are aligned with God’s, just to name a few. So go into the pantry and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal yourself to you. Go into the pantry often. Jesus sought solitude not only when preparing for his crucifixion, but so often when he just performed a miracle. Going into the pantry after we have performed well keeps us humble and aware of who we are and whose we are. Otherwise, we move toward whatever the voices of the world say we are or we should be, instead of moving from our own solid core.
To have integrity, meaning a congruence within yourself and your relationship with the world, requires knowing and working from the core of who you truly are. The gap between intentions and actions closes when we have awareness of our core.
So go into the pantry. God has something to reveal to you about you. And if you think you don’t have time, just remember the many times Jesus, the Son of God, went by himself to pray. Doesn’t your staff, your family, your neighbors, and the world deserve to interact with the real you?