Recall a time when you felt terribly self-conscious about something — even to the point of it affecting your wellbeing in ill-confidence. There was such a time when I found doing sound checks before church services so daunting I avoided doing them; then preaching only months later was a non-issue: why?
Being self-conscious about things to such a major extent introduces us to the concept of consummation.
Consummation is a dangerous state when pushed to the negative.
We can be fooled into thinking we’re totally useless at life — when it’s only this thing, at this time or in this mood, that finds us wanting. It’s no good that a small area of our lives knocks our confidence so much, affecting how we see ourselves as a whole; invading our entire thought-world.
Guarding Against Consummation
What’s meant by “consummation” is not the typical definition — “the act of consummating” or “the ultimate end.”
Rather it’s about focus, or having all our focus subsumed in something — this way, beyond our wills.
Even though consummation in the positive sense is tremendously empowering, any wavering, which tends to happen, can mean we’re given to passions that make us less reliably resilient.
Consummation, as a state, is the relinquishing of control, not to God, but to fear.
Guarding against it has to become a wisdom ploy where we see threats to become consumed in fear, for they are, in truth. This is the established habit to become aware and check. This is about running a straight-edge up against the prevailing thought that the mind wrangles with — challenging the presences of fear.
Fear’s not always bad. Besides the adroit fear-of-the-Lord — the awed sense of respect for God — there’s fear that warns and piques our awareness... danger in sight!
But fear other than that which has a good purpose is extraneous.
Fear stands there as a thing to be right-sized. The only way to do that is, as I’ve mentioned, by checking it against the truth.
But, we need to know how to discern the truth. If we can’t do that ourselves — and many find it challenging — and we don’t have trusted others to ask and rely upon, how are we to tell between good fears and extraneous fears?
Well, self-consciousness’s a key.
It’s a good fear, in that it’s warning us of perceivable barriers to unleashed performance, though it can also crush a performance that needs to occur — ones we can’t get out of.
When We ‘Have To’ or Don’t
When we have to ‘get over’ our self-consciousness, and there’s no choice about it, we best ignore the record of our nerves — using the powerful will of the mind. We focus on staying on track, no matter what. Then, with every minor victory from our courage, we pat ourselves on the back to grow our confidence.
When we have a choice to perform or not, wisdom might dictate it’s better not to risk, now, until the source of our self-consciousness is known and dealt with.
Although it might seem at the time that self-consciousness is overwhelming us, it does not have the final word if we don’t let it.
With the truth as an ally, we have nothing to fear, for good fear is a friend.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.