I've been thinking lots about how big self-help/self-actualisation/self-improvement is in our society, including our Christian world - and especially about how much I have given into this culture over the years. It's so easy to start seeing it as if it's the work of the spirit. It is in some ways a fine line - although in others it just is so different that there is no way the two could be confused. I think God does use stuff from these fields to help people be more whole but the question for me is what's the driving force behind it - being caught up with ourselves or being caught up with God.
I was asked the other night what it would mean for me to find my life by losing it, particularly in relation to this stuff, and I really do think that it is one of the key questions of our time, particularly for some personailities. What does it mean to give up on our path of self-improvement, look to God and let him shape and mould us. What does it mean to truly seek first his kingdom and not our own?
The outward stuff might look the same - eg. you might explore personaility types but it would be out of response to God rather than to further yourself. One such time for me recently was feeling strongly that it was good to buy a book about losing a parent when I was in New Jersey - this led to reading this book on the place between New York and Seattle and to one of the biggest life defining decisions of my life and has profoundly reshaped my relationship with God - yep that has the hall marks of a God led reading of that kind of book.
But my life is not about me - it's about God; and everything in my life needs to be shaped around that; that is where I believe true life is.