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Seasonal Necessities: Self-Examination, The Courage to Purge

Whether it’s that the yuletide season naturally lends itself to reflection or the end of any year signals opportunities for new beginnings, it just feels right to take time out to examine ourselves as 2022 approaches.

We commonly indulge in state of the city, state of the state, state of the union, even state of our employment status. It is a time for us as individuals to celebrate how far we’ve come and measure the yet unfulfilled journey.

Self-scrutiny requires a delicate balance. A caveat is avoiding any inclination to be hypersensitive. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies – either openly expressed or more subtly rooted within. Insecurity can impede self-recognition justly due.

On the other hand, there are people who, as the Bible says, can easily detect the style in the eyes of others but tend not to be hesitant or resistant to confession. Some just don’t get their hypocrisy. Some are far too concerned with appearances or perceptions.

No matter which extreme characterizes a particular person – being overly self-aggrandizing OR unable to own accurately and assess one’s own shortcomings – neither offers a template for truthful analysis of self or the conditions in which we function.

There is power in the capacity to look in the mirror with honest reflection. Contrary to popular belief, vulnerability is STRENGTH, not weakness. No one escapes reality forever. No matter what we tell ourselves or others, we all eventually come to actual self-realization – outwardly or within.

Truth is, our performances and accomplishments are not as dismal or failing as we sometimes fear or feel – even considering the worse. The adage says, “I was sad because I had no shoes… then I met a man who had no feet.”

Stop being consumed by the struggle and be more thankful for the strength, courage and faith to endure, persevere and emerge victorious. Worry less about the score in the moment and focus on the blessing of knowing God is on your side! You’re never alone.

A reasonable outcome of self-assessment is to exercise the necessity of change. If we speak our truth, but refuse to adjust to what we know are our needs, then any attempt at self-improvement becomes futile. Our ability to go to the next level is often impeded by our being “spiritual hoarders” – clinging to what we need to relinquish to clear space for new blessings.

Just like you eventually get around to cleaning that basement or that closet or that garage, we all need to purge elements in our life not contributing to our best selves. It may come in the form of habits, material goods, working or social conditions, practices, public or private, or the people who surround us.

Respectfully separate yourself from people, places and things that don’t contribute to your growth and character. The two have to be combined because growth simply reflects a progression that might be materialistic or earthly. Character on the otherwise speaks to the person within and your God relationship.

As you go about the serious business of purging, never hesitate to go against your comfort zone. Sometimes progress has to be uncomfortable. But proceed with the warning to be able to truthfully discern those who you opt to include or exclude. Don’t throw out the baby with the dirty bath water.

Cling to those people who have been there for you throughout. Work your way through any fog that may have separated you – tempting you to include them in your discard. You never want to burn bridges. Think long and hard about those who have been instrumental in helping you cross. Embrace that truth over any emotional disarray of the moment.

Self-assessment. What are useful ways to spend your time over the next few days, weeks? The courage to purge. It is necessary to relieve stagnation and go to the next level. Do it all in truth and in prayer, and what comes out of this season will benefit you throughout the entire coming year.

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

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