I’ve never understood the phrase “blowing smoke up your own ass.” I don’t really want to understand it, either. But I think it means something about the inconsistency and impermanence of smoke. The funny thing is, smoke is very mobile, but is also thick and heavy. I find it amusing and all too appropriate for what I’m sharing today.
There are different types of smoke, sure. These are usually based upon the things burnt to produce said smoke. I’m not here to provide a chemistry lesson on the different fuel sources and vapor consistencies. I will share about the things we turn into refuse to fuel the smokescreens we create.
Now, I’m speaking of the things we’re willing to burn. Do you ever tell yourself:
- Just five more minutes and then I’ll get up.
- Oh, it’s ok. I’ll do it tomorrow.
- Don’t worry about it. She’ll get over it.
- Hey, sorry to cancel on you last minute, but…
- I’m just a couple minutes late; I’m sure they’ll understand.
If you don’t tell yourself any of these things, you’re ahead of the curve. Or, at least well ahead of where I am. In the past, I’ve been willing to burn my time, my reputation, my good will with others, and more to cover up my flaws. I rely on the goodness of others not when I need to, but when I can. And that makes all the difference.
Choosing to admit that I’m burning up precious personal resources is the first step in clearing up my personal smokescreen. I burn(ed) all of these things to lie to myself. I told myself all of the lies mentioned above. And these are some of the best lies I’ve ever told myself; something tells me you’ve got your own best lies, too.
Be honest with yourself.
To hear the truth, accept, believe, and share it, I think you’ve got to rid yourself of your personal smokescreen first. If you’re closed to the actual truths about yourself, accepting external truth will be more difficult. I don’t even mean the truths you’ve actively denied or buried with those best, personal lies. For example, I didn’t know my pride and ego were so big last year. So significant, in fact, that I couldn’t see how it affected my choices and kept me stuck.
Conversely, I’ve been well aware of my lack of discipline and my need to develop and maintain better habits. Yet, when opportunities arose, I denied and ignored the chance for growth, subsequently smokescreening apparent truths about myself (i.e., my fear, pride, obstinance) of the past year. Obscuring these obvious truths resulted in me holding myself back. My eyes watered and throat choked because of how much I’d burned and how I’d lied and how I’d denied myself into a roiling cloud of pollution. There’s a reason I lost sight of me for a little while.
The main point is, I wasn’t listening to the whisper of truth in my heart from God and that had me LOST. That’s why this whole self-growth and development thing is so important. The irony is, I’m only interested in bettering myself to best be there for my loved ones and prepare for my future vocation. Whether people need me there or not isn’t the question. Can I be counted on by my parents, for instance, to be reliable, dependable, someone who follows through? This is how they raised me, and how I see them, but I’m only concerned about what smokescreen they see.