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Self-Consciousness Robs You of Rest

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Oswald Chamber’s devotional books have been on most everybody’s kitchen table at one time or another (depending on age, of course!). His thoughts are often relevant to a lot of us—personally and decisively relevant more often than not!

These thoughts from My Utmost for His Highest, August 19th and 20th, cut right to the quick for me—in other words, they were personally and decisively relevant! He said: “Self-consciousness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of the life in God and self-consciousness continually produces wrestling.”

Now I need to remember that self-consciousness isn’t always thinking I’m a winner and that I am thankful that I have “me” in my life! Other people make so many mistakes. They just need to be more like me! No. It is also thinking very little of me and wishing I were out of the picture. It is thoughts about “self”—self-pity, self-loathing, self-aggrandizement, self-reliance, false humility, pride, or any of those disgusting, self-centered things. It can be self-exaltation or self-degradation. Self-consciousness is simply setting my mind on me and mine, negatively or positively.

So do I hear him saying that if I center in on myself that my relationship with the Lord can be damaged and that I’ll experience wrestling? What is that? Well, one definition would be grabbing things out of His hands and taking over the circumstances in my life myself—”I can do it! Anabel can handle this! I know exactly what needs to be done! I don’t need to seek His thoughts on this issue.” It is the absence of God’s rest, of contentment, of peace. It is feeling uneasy, worry, fear, constantly evaluating my circumstances, the people in my world, rejection, resentment, pride, hurt feelings, ad infinitum. These things come about through self-consciousness and when they do, my walk with the Lord suffers. I have certainly and painfully found this to be true. Self-consciousness robs me of rest.

Chambers says anything that disturbs my rest in Him must be taken care of immediately; that I must never allow anything to remain that is causing a separation between Christ and myself. A separation? Ignoring Him and taking control instead of trusting: Doing things my way instead of His way. This thought-battle is going on in my mind. It may at times be a minor skirmish, maybe a subdued but persistent struggle, or at times a fierce, raging battle.

So, what is my strategy? Bring “will” into the fray! Choose to stop those thoughts! Choose to change what I am thinking about.1 Get control of my thought-life! Ignore self and all of self’s problems! Wave the white flag and let God take control. How do I do that? Talk to Christ continually. Have lengthy conversations with Him. Tell Him what’s happening. He knows everything anyway so don’t try to defend myself. Ask Him to give me Christ-consciousness and don’t let Satan interrupt my conversation with his off-color half-truths.

That sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Don’t I have to DO SOMETHING? Confront? Let off steam? How do I get rid of the emotions that are trying to claw their way out of me? I change what I am thinking about. I quit analyzing what happened, quit blaming myself, quit focusing on myself, what has happened in my life, laying plans for retaliation, etc.

All of those things are filed under self-consciousnessand Chambers has just told us that thinking about yourself and your circumstances will inevitably result in being separated from the Lord and I don’t want that!

Remember, I am not generating those pesky defeating thoughts! I’m receiving them as the Power of Sin sends them into my conscious awareness.2 So I can say “NO!” to that enemy and refuse them. Then, I “Fix my thoughts on what is true, and good, and right, I think about those things that are pure and lovely, and I dwell on the fine good things in others. I think about all I can praise God for and be glad about” (Phil. 4:8 TLB).

Lord, thinking on those things will make me God-conscious and I desperately need that. Oh, I am so cognizant of when I am separated from You and have no rest—and those times are not pleasant to live through or to remember. Please make me very God conscious. It’s not about me. It’s about you, dear One.

Notes:

1 James 4:7

2 If you are not familiar with this teaching, please purchase Bill’s book: Lifetime Guarantee or my book, The Confident Woman. These can be purchased through our online store.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.