Why Introspection Is A  Bad Idea

Should you be more introspective?

Well, it depends what kind of life you want.

If you want to rob yourself of joy, stunt your spiritual growth and become a more self-absorbed person than yes, by all means, you should be introspective.

But seriously, think about it.

Have you ever felt empowered after an intense time of introspection?

Did you examine all your motives and then walk away feeling refreshed and closer to God?

If you’re like most people then probably not.

And why would you?

The nature of introspection is to look for things that are wrong in your life. Areas of your life that need to be corrected. Trying to judge yourself according to your own internal belief system.

And from my experience (and observation of many well meaning Christians) introspection does little to change your life for the better.

If you really want a heart change. If you really want to be free from sin then turn your gaze away from yourself and onto God.

The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of doing this work without your help. So is the living Word of God. And so are the people God has placed in your life.

If you need to be corrected simply ask the Holy Spirit to convict you when you need to be. Ask him to guide you by His Word.

But I strongly encourage you to refrain from spending countless hours “naval gazing.”

You will have more joy, mature spiritually and become a more selfless person by gazing into the heart of God instead of into your own soul.

If you don’t believe me just try it.

For the next 40 days you could “fast” introspection. Here’s how it works. Every time you have a desire to be introspective, simply use that as a trigger to turn your focus to God. If you still like your life better after this experiment you can always return to life the way it was before.

But why not try it? See if I’m telling you the truth or not?

I’ll leave you with a quote from David Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

“I suggest that we cross the line from self-examination to introspection when, in a sense, we do nothing but examine ourselves, and when such self-examination becomes the main and chief end of our life.  We are meant to examine ourselves periodically, but if we are always doing it, always, as it were, putting our soul on a plate and dissecting it, that is introspection.  And if we are always talking to people about ourselves and our problems and troubles, and if we are forever going to them with that kind of frown upon our face saying: I am in great difficulty–it probably means that we are all the time centered upon ourselves.  That is introspection, and that in turn leads to the condition known as morbidity.”  -David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression.

By the way, I’m not advocating that you never examine yourself or your motives. I believe there’s a distinction between self-examination and introspection. And I believe the latter to be an unhealthy practice. What do you think?

About Josh Monen

Josh is a Christian entrepreneur who lives in Central Texas with his wife and 4 kids.