360 view

A number of years ago I spent a week at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in Greensboro, North Carolina. The visit was the culmination of a “360 degree” evaluation I was trying out for the Air Force. In a “360” you answer a battery of questions about yourself, then a group of your superiors, peers, and subordinates answer the same questions about you. Finally, you meet with a psychotherapist to go over the results. Ideally, you want to be able to see yourself as others see you. It’s not good to think more highly of yourself than others (maybe your ego makes you blind to your faults).

The therapist told me that others consistently rated me higher than I rated myself. I was pleased, but not for long. She said it is also not good to think less of yourself than others: the gap represents untapped potential.

At the end of my week at CCL, I wanted to know if I should tell those who evaluated me what “my issues” were. The answer? Of course. Why? Because they already know! The idea is that when you own up to your issues, it builds trust, and others can support you as you work to build on strengths and overcome weaknesses.

We’re about to begin the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday this week. This is the season of prayer and self-examination where we prepare for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the time when we tell God, as best we can, what “our issues” are. In confessing our sin and brokenness to God, we’re not telling God anything new. God already knows us from all sides. Confession helps us to learn to see ourselves as God sees us. It frees us so the blessings of God can flow into our lives.

It’s so comforting to know that the One who knows everything about us loves us more than we can imagine and wants to make us into someone much like him.


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