Heart-check questions for the professionally religious

July 15, 2015
Dave Blundell
3 min
Heart-check questions for the professionally religious

Notwithstanding what self-absorbed motives we are trying to beat down in our hearts, a temptation of the professionally religious is to do our best to present the best spiritual image we can. We may tend to know the right things to say, but how consistently does saying the right thing reflect the real core value motives of our hearts? Here are some probing questions that have helped me dig out myself:

  • For whose benefit, really, do I lead or serve?
  • What is my first reaction when someone else is credited with my ideas or thoughts?
  • What is it that I secretly feel my experience or role entitles me to over anyone else?
  • Do I look for opportunities for people to see me as a servant?
  • Do I get defensive and aggressive when someone treats me like a servant? [<--break->]
  • Do I use self-deprivation as a tactic to publicly or inadvertently look for praise or affirmation while appearing to look humble?
  • Do I publicly withdraw in order to get people to look for me or pay attention to me?
  • Do I look for opportunities to exploit criticism in order to “play the victim” or build my camp?
  • Am I initially defensive when criticized, instead of humbly looking for the “nuggets” of personal and professional growth?
  • When someone is critical of me, regardless of motive, do I defend myself by thinking of some reason to invalidate the critique?
  • Do I attach my emotional wellbeing to praise, affirmation, or agreement of others?
  • How much of my need to be “up front” is driven by insecurities related to my sense of value?
  • Do I look for opportunities to abdicate responsibility, or pass off things I don’t like to do, and call it “empowerment” versus helping people to be used by God, even at the risk of losing the spotlight?
  • Do I feel defensive when people do not agree with me or hold differing opinions about matters close to my heart?
  • When someone else is being praised, do I react by thinking of the weakness of that person to make me feel better about myself?
  • When someone close to me succeeds publicly, is it my first reaction to feel minimized or devalued?
  • Do I secretly compare my work or actions to that of others?
  • Do I “covet” the gifts and strengths of leaders who have more fame or resources than I?
  • Am I tempted to exaggerate stories or facts to cause people to think better of me or to be more persuasive?
  • Do I feel the need to subtly remind people of my experiences and knowledge in order to feel credible or competent to lead?
  • Is my pride or value in any way connected to the perpetuation of the clergy/laity distinction?
  • Do I want to be recognized as the expert, the fixer, or the rescuer?
  • Do I feel threatened by people who know things I don’t?
  • Is my striving for excellence and achieving results more about people thinking well of me rather than God?
  • Am I threatened by a perceived loss of control or influence?
  • Am I jealous when others seem to be blessed in ways I am not or appear to have success I don’t?
  • Do I feel the need to control people or situations to bring about favorable outcomes, or am I content to do my best to influence and then leave the results to God?
  • Am I trying to “fix” or change people for my benefit or comfort vs. God’s glory and purposes?
  • Lastly...am I willing to ask three of the closest people to me to answer these questions honestly on my behalf?

An excerpt from the book Professionally Religious.