If you know much about me at all, it is clear that over the last 3-4 years I have changed my views on a few things. It would take many posts to go over the ins and outs of each of these changes, but, as I reflect, I think much of the change can be summarized as a shift in paradigm.
Growing up I used to see life as the picture below.
Truth was clear, and all the correct beliefs were filed away neatly, and could be pulled out at any moment. As seen in the picture above, this belief system had clear boundaries which made is simple to tell who was “in” and who was “out”.
The goal was to first solidify your beliefs, then organize them, and then try to convince others that all your views are correct. In other words, you are trying to get everyone else outside of your way of thinking to come inside.
Then something happened…
this whole system no longer worked for me.
I find it quiet interesting that some have (and continue to) suggested this happened because I fell of the wagon, turned my back on God, truth, Scripture, the Spirit or was offended or hurt by someone. (Usually this is because I see things differently then they do and they aren’t sure how to handle it).
The fact of the matter is, that this shift took place while I was seeking after God’s direction, attending church on a regular basis, and attending a conservative Bible College. What happened wasn’t that I walked away from truth, but that I wrestled with the answers that were given and being given to me and found them lacking.
While it began with a few small changes, it soon became clear that the whole system or way of operating didn’t work…it didn’t make sense…I didn’t just need to change a few beliefs, but I needed a completely different way of understanding life.
I needed a new paradigm.
Instead of a “truth box” life is much more colorful, interesting, dynamic, and complex. Instead of the goal being to try to make my beliefs stronger and then convince others I am right, I see life much more like a journey towards growth, and growth always requires change.
What this means is that I do not see things the way I did before and I think this is a good thing.
We all start somewhere, but hopefully we don’t remain there. Hopefully we will grow, discover, come to better understandings of God, the universe, creation, purpose, meaning, the sacred etc.
Maturity is not about solidifying all of our beliefs exactly as they were five or ten years ago, but about learning to be open – we will not see things the same way and that’s actually a good thing.
We start somewhere, but then we move.
This also means that the place we are at, will not be the place we will be at in another 5 or 10 years.
Now, in honesty, this is usually not an easy transition and often it brings with it a sort of disequilibrium. The old system or way of seeing doesn’t work and it can throw us off or put us in a tail spin of sorts. It is during this time of disequilibrium, where we choose. We choose to either go back, chuck out everything because it’s just to complex, or we fight to move forward.
Going back is safe.
Giving up is simple.
Going forward is strenuous.
In my experience, going forward can often be a major struggle, but it is worth every ounce of effort!
I now see life as a serious of movements. Each step we change, grow, and see things in different ways.
Life is more complex, truth more inclusive, and love more expansive.
As part of this process, I also see God as the force that is drawing us forward into more love, inclusion, justice, and compassion.
I think it is quite a beautiful thing!