It’s just not working anymore…
Here’s a question for you. It’s an important question. Especially if you’ve been in any kind of faith tradition for a while but are struggling. Not with belief necessarily. Struggling with the tension or even gap between what you believe to be true and what you know to be true.
What do you do when you can’t see beyond what you already know, but what you already know, no longer works for you?
I see this all of the time. People aren’t satisfied with how their faith tradition is working in “the real world” but they cannot fathom how to reconcile the two. They either dig into a version of faith that’s backwards and untenable or they drop their faith completely. Neither is healthy as far as I can tell.
So, what do you do? Where do you go?
When what you already know no longer works for you; discover something new.
This is the toughest part. Discovery takes work. It takes openness. It requires a sacrificing of what we already know. An admission that we were wrong in some way or simply ignorant. The humility necessary is almost inconceivable. Especially when our faith tradition is connected to family, nationalism, and/or deeper identities that define what we see as our truest self.
I’d like to help…
In my experience once you’ve recognized and embraced discovery as a part of the ongoing transformational process God is working inside all of us, the more readily you’ll approach it. I’d like to help with a few ways I’ve discovered to best continue to discover…
- New learning usually needs new teachers. This is one of the most difficult aspects of discovery. Finding and accepting new ideas from new people, maybe even people you’ve labeled negatively in the past, can be uncomfortable. The great news is actually finding these teachers and ideas is easier now more than ever before. This thing called the “internet” allows us to easily discover new things. The trick is discernment. Just because we listen to and learn new things doesn’t mean we accept them all as best or truth, like we maybe did with our earlier faith construct.
- Hold on loosely, but don’t let go. Just because you’re reading or listening to new things doesn’t mean you abandon the concepts and people of your past. You incorporate them when/where you can, and lay to rest those you cannot. This takes work. Real work. Deep, personal work.
- Like everything else, study and practice. If you want to be good at a sport, instrument, job, etc. it requires study and practice. You have to get in your “10,000 hours” to get really good at growing. Spirituality is no different. Church is good, but when you’re deep in the process church might not be the place for either, anymore. This doesn’t mean you have to abandon your church family. At least not at first. But it may come to that.
In all of this don’t resist. “Don’t resist what?” you may ask.
Don’t resist the opening of your heart to greater love and compassion. Don’t resist the urge to move towards another previously ignored or ostracized.
This is the point.
This is what’s going on. If God loves the world, why wouldn’t he move us in that direction as well? If God is love, why wouldn’t that be the end result for us too?
I hope you’ll feel free, receive the permission to discover. To branch out. To leave the village. Get uncomfortable.
Are you in this right now? Share your story. Join the discussion!