BECOMING AWARE

Written by: Mateo Palmitier

Awareness is a funny thing. For many of us, it’s a thing we’ve been missing, a thing that we’re lacking, but a thing that we’re desperately in need of. What I’ve learned along the way is that there seem to be “levels” of awareness. The first level could be defined as this: ignorance. Ignorance isn’t meant to be a harsh term, it’s not meant to sound condemning or negative, it simply means that you don’t know what you don’t know. We even have a slogan of sorts for this; ignorance is bliss. The thing with ignorance is that you’re lacking information, there’s something you do not know, but you don’t know you’re lacking information, you don’t even know that there’s information to have! You’re not turning a blind eye because you don’t know that there’s anything to turn a blind eye to. You don’t worry because you don’t know there’s a reason to worry. You don’t even think things through because you don’t know there’s something to think through. You simply live, and that is why they say that ignorance is bliss.

The second level of awareness is what I call discontentment without definition. This phase of awareness is what interrupts our bliss. It can seem unwelcome and even unnerving at first, because when you lacked information you lacked responsibility, but now you’re aware that there’s something missing, you just don’t know what that something is, and because of that, you’re left in discontentment. The thing about this phase of awareness is that there’s suddenly a void of sorts in your life, but you’re unable to identify what that void is. Whereas before you didn’t know that you didn’t know, now you know that there’s something you don’t know but you don’t know what that something is. You know you have a problem, but you can’t identity the problem. Or maybe you know the problem, but you can’t identify the solution. There’s been a rubbing, an irritant, a tension of some kind that’s provoked awareness that something’s missing, but you’re unable to define what’s going on, or where you are to go from here.

The third level of awareness is one we’ll call knowing or revelation. The word knowing means, “done in full awareness or consciousness” or “the state of being aware or informed.” One of the many definitions you’ll find for the word revelation is, “a surprising and previously unknown fact.” In other words, you now have clarity, resolve, and knowledge. What you didn’t know before, you now know. Not only are you able to identify the issue, problem or discontentment, but you’re aware of what the solution, strategy, or answer is to the thing at hand. This is the way we are designed to live. We are meant to move from being people who don’t know to people who know. People who don’t have, to people who have. Jesus did not come to keep us in the dark. In fact, in John 8:12 He tells us, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Just a few short chapters later Jesus reiterates this point in John 12:46, by saying, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

We were born to be people who are in the know. We were born to have knowledge disclosed to us and wisdom unveiled to us. We were designed to be aware.

The thing about awareness is that it’s two-fold. On one hand it causes you to recognize what’s available to you, but on the other it causes you to recognize your lack. I’m aware that there are promises that God has made concerning me, but I’m also aware that my life doesn’t look anything like the promise. I’m both encouraged, yet frustrated. Jesus told us in John 10:10, “I came that you may have life, and have it to the full.” I am so grateful for this promise, but I’m also painfully aware that my life doesn’t always look that full. If I’m completely honest, sometimes my life doesn’t really look like life even.

So what does this mean? Is God a liar? Absolutely not! In Titus 1:2 we learn that, “God does not lie.” We also learn in 2 Corinthians 1:20 that, “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” If you’re lacking promise in your life the issue is not on God’s end. No, there’s something else at play here, and that thing is mentioned earlier on in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The truth is we have an enemy, and that enemy is a thief. The reason our lives don’t always look that lively or full is because we’ve been stolen from. There are things in our lives that have been killed. There are things that have been destroyed. This can be a harsh reality, a bitter reality, a sad reality, but it doesn’t need to be our permanent reality. However, we make it a permanent reality when we choose to turn a blind eye or sink into hopelessness & defeat rather than partner with awareness, promise, and hope.

One of the reasons many of us never step into the promises God has for us is because we find it too painful to look at our lives. We find that it hurts too much to assess our need, our lack, our desperation, so instead we put on a smile and “press on.” Not only that, but I believe many of us have more faith in the enemy’s ability to steal from us than in the Lord’s ability to redeem, restore, and reconcile on our behalf, so we refuse to hope out of fear that the good will never happen or never last. But the thing is, you cannot return to ignorance, rather your ignorance turns into negligence when you operate in this manner. Awareness is a gift, not a curse. It’s not meant to tear us down or make us miserable. It’s not intended to spur on shame or throw a pity party. Although we may lose our bliss for a moment, there’s greater joy on the other side of promise, & the only way to arrive in promise is to become aware that a promise exists. Awareness is a gift, and it is a responsibility to be stewarded.

Jesus did not come so you could get by. He came that you may have life and have it fully. So here’s the call, Ephesians 5:14, “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead,” and here’s the promise,  “And Christ will shine on you.” Don’t allow yourself to get so disheartened with the deadness of your life that you lose sight of His ability to liven it up. His promise is always bigger than your problem. So let’s dare to believe in the goodness of our God and in His faithful ability to bring us into a full life.

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