“When we are not engaged in thinking about some definite problem, we usually spend about 95 percent of our time thinking about ourselves.”
If we think about ourselves that much, we should make sure we are doing it accurately. Social media didn’t cause this narcissism, social platforms are an outflow of the culture. Constant absorption with ourselves is nothing new and goes all the way back to Socrates, of whom Plato wrote, was a man obsessed with knowing himself in search of wisdom.
If we think of ourselves so much, then it is important that we do it accurately.
To navigate the year ahead wisely we start with a “right view of God” and then develop a “right view of ourselves.”
Romans 12:3-8 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Thinking rightly is significant because how we view ourselves will impact what we feel and do. I remember thinking I was really good at baseball until I tried out for the high school team. Ends up I wasn’t as good. I learned to think of myself with sober judgment. The problem is we often go to extremes at this point. I am either the “best” or the “worst,” I am either “worthy” or “worthless”. This happens professionally, relationally, spiritually, and academically and to combat this tendency we do well to read on in verse 3, with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith.
Seeing ourselves this way protects us from extremes. Our renewed mind see’s God for who he is and remembers the gospel. The gospel is the good news of Jesus' work including his life, death for our sins, resurrection, and invitation for us to follow him. We don’t earn God’s love, impress our Savior or surprise Jesus. There is no pecking order of Jesus' favorites and those he is still working on. You are in. We transform and live in faith.
Paul says he has experienced this too writing earlier about “the grace given me.” He calls us to remember that in our life too. It protects us from the error of pride and the opposite extreme of shame in his presence.
I don’t overestimate who I am, I don’t wear shame and worthlessness as a burden. I know who I am, who I am not, and I am okay with that.
Embracing this right view of ourselves unleashes us to contribute to one another. You are gifted. We are not created to be stagnant or to arrive at a synthesized statement of our being. From the opening pages of the bible, we have been given a mission to act and move. I have things to do and contribute as part of the family of God. A right view of ourselves means we avoid comparison or competition. This right view of ourselves makes sense of the list here of various gifts. There are other lists of gifts in the bible that differ slightly. The point isn’t exactly how many gifts are there, but that there is variety. We need to lean into and appreciate one another. I need you. You need me.
God has wired us to contribute. I know who I am, who I am not and I am okay with that. A right view of myself moves me to contribute!
Q. How do I view myself? Where does this view come from?
Q. Do I struggle more with pride or shame when I think about myself?
Q. How can I contribute? Looking at the list in Romans 12, in what areas may I be gifted?
 How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.