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Preview and Input

Next Sunday I will be speaking on the topic: What We Most Need to Know About Ourselves.  Here’s your chance to weigh in and contribute to my prep.

Ten years ago, a popular book, Emotional Intelligence, written by Daniel Goleman highlighted research about how an effective self-awareness and an awareness of the emotions and experiences of others played a greater role in a successful life than previously understood.  The ability to be self-aware and responsive to what that awareness reveals is one of the remarkable qualities of being human.

Not knowing what we most need to know about ourselves causes all sorts of problems.  Denial about our struggles, compensation through high-achievement efforts.  Pressure, pressure, pressure. 

Think of how many popular movies are transformation movies, where someone experiences a crisis that teaches them who they really are, and they become transformed in the process.  The Christmas Carol is such a story, and it gets re-made over and over again.  Avatar has a similar theme.  What are other movies that are about personal transformation?


What does God want us to most know about ourselves?

What’s most true about us?

What is the self-paradigm that motivates you?


There’s a general answer or two that applies to every human being, and then there are particulars that apply to us individually.  We will look mostly at the general things that we need to know.

Check out Psalm 8 to see a pretty amazing description of humanity. 

Then check out Romans 7:14-25.   Crowned with glory or wretched.  Which is it?


What do you think that we most need to know about ourselves?


  1. Don't stress about it, there is no god anyways, so you can go on with your life.

  2. Ok, now more seriously, you raised some good questions about self awareness, but then you put god into it. Do you think you should think about what god wants from you? Or more about what YOU want for yourself? Life is short, and in the end, it's you who are living it. Is it such a good idea to be around wondering how to gain aproval from an entity that may well not even exist at all?
    Humans live with humans, and in the end, for humans. It's the interaction that we call "social life" that creates this self awareness in the end, so the mere point of improving this interaction, and be a better individual for ourselfs is much more fullfiling and ultimately much more complete, than just trying to find answers where only questions can arise.

    • Mark Acuff says:

      Sky, I really appreciate your comment. It forces some clarity and helps us interact with some things that we would have missed. Thanks. Just a couple of thoughts: “Do you think you should think about what god wants from you? “ When I bring God into it, I’m not thinking about what God wants ‘from’ me, but what God wants ‘for’ me. And, I’m not trying to get God’s approval, but God’s wisdom, guidance, honesty and grace. The pressure comes from my own distorted awareness, which I’m counting on God to relieve and transform.

      And, I think that we live with God as much as we live with humans, and even though religion has been often used to not live well with other humans, God’s presence, purpose and power can help me to have the most honest and hopeful self-awareness.

  3. Mark,
    Your question forces me into that knee-jerk reaction of self-deprivation. It is like having to talk about your good qualities in a job interview. This is the part where I say something nondescript like my amazing ability to show up for work on time.
    Yet, our self-understanding is deeply interwoven with our theology. How are we as creatures related to the Creator? The Bible talks about image-bearing and being animated by the breath of God. That sounds like a decently positive description. This is how the story starts, with dust and Divine breath. We are stamped with the image of God. 
    And yet if I am honest with myself, I do not feel like God's spirit animates me. I have all but lost the image of God. Only hints remain, like through a dim, foggy mirror.
    My working assumption is that Jesus restores this Divine image. Illumination. We are set free for our true purpose, which is not endless struggle.

  4. What do we most need to know about ourselves?
    That we are loved by Someone, completely, without condition.
    It's the fundamental need of every human heart, and only One Person can fulfill it. When we finally grasp that (in our heart, not just in our head), the possibilities of who we can be and what we can do are limitless.

  5. Do I know any other transformation movies? You're asking the right girl: The Matrix, Dances with wolves, Good Will Hunting, Miss Congeniality, Garden State, Sound of Music, Sister Act, any underdog sports movie, Somethings gotta give,… to name a few. Hopefully thats well rounded enough to name at least One Movie any random reader has seen.
    What does God Most want from/for me? This question has come up a lot recently. Or maybe I am just more aware of it. (Interesting book you mentioned Mark) I think its to show us what in our lives, mind, or heart is Most blocking us from experiencing real Love. I believe God's presence is in Real Love. So what is keeping us from that would be a great place to start.