Mystery: Our Chance to Grow

Today I’m really just asking questions and exploring as I’m facing some mystery in my life. We’re repeatedly handed incomprehensible situations, both intellectually and emotionally and I don’t get it. How are we supposed to respond? Are we to tirelessly seek answers and dive head first into informational research? Or, are we to “Be still” and hope understanding is revealed? Evenmore, are we to put on a gritty smile and be alright without full understanding? Mystery can only be brewed with an intricate complexity. Through mystery we gather perspective. Through mystery we clarify the truths of this world. As a result, a long term result, a refined belief system is gained. I hope.

Talk about a practice of critical thinking! Talk about developing a state of mindfulness!

More Feelings, Ugh

I do know that we’re given emotion and it shows up in times of mystery. So when we’re talking about learning through inquiry and wonder, there emotion will be. Usually it’s not a gentle, calm peace that shows up either. I’m not feeling a quiet peace when I struggle to find answers and can’t even determine a purpose in a situation. Instead rushing in unannounced is betrayal, anger, frustration, and resentment. We must not judge the emotional response of the learners around us. Honest emotion is always legitimate. For me judgement is a real temptation that I try to fend off daily. How appealing does learning through conflict appear now?

Treasure the struggle, for we’re sifting the clutter while revealing truths. While sifting, emotional intelligence is developing, at least I hope it is. How uncomfortable it is to be in the sifter. The coarseness of each gritty grain chafes. A new fresh foundation of skin is revealed through the soreness. Those humans who have chosen to grow from the deconstruction in their lives are the beautiful ones. Mysterious circumstances can blow over our house of cards in a moment. That same house we spent years constructing. The best learners have found their foundational truths through conflict and continue to lay bricks upon it. Bricks are not made out of the question “Why?”. We judiciously mold our bricks by selfless listening and claiming a lack of understanding.

Sitting In Struggle

The progressive student maintains the same solid approach to learning. Humility and reverence for the sovereign creator is our path forward. Whether trudging through a murky swamp of fog or basking in a sunrise with 25 miles of visibility. Here lies the beauty of a community of learners, being exposed to a variety of terrains in a moment. I’m also realizing we don’t have to be ready to move forward on the path. It doesn’t mean we’re stagnant. At certain points on our journey it’s necessary to stop and take in everything around us, to listen and respond to the perspective and feelings of others. This is the humility that allows God to determine our path. I’ve tried to bushwhack a path of my choice using only my dull machete. After clearing a narrow trail for my own selfish desires, I found it leads to an impassible dead end filled with isolation and offering no available resources nearby. Humility offers the trail of insight, connections, and resources.
Attempt to embrace the struggle and the emotions of others in love, for we are mercifully loved!

Human Growth: A Simple Process

Since the fall of man, God has used mystery to draw people to himself. Every conflict or failure is a chance to either move toward him, or away. I think few find this to be a fun way to learn, though I I learn the most when my curiosity is piqued with wonder. These are the times when the easy answer is the wrong answer. When faced with uncomfortable circumstances the progressive learner didn’t ask why. Instead he looked around, reflected, and considered the path of humble inquiry. Socrates had this figured out a long time ago when he said something like, the more I know the more I don’t know.

Eureka! The power of knowing how we learn   

We’ve been designed to learn, develop, and grow in every way: socially, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. I feel like our culture is beginning to grasp how we learn. Smart people are revealing ideas like “The Growth Mindset” and “Event + Response = Outcome”. The growth mindset is the idea that dedication and working through struggles is critical to growth, and talent is just a starting point. It’s obvious to me now that it wasn’t Carol Dweck who came up with this mindset theory, but this is the perspective God has intended for our life ever since the existence of sin. I mean, he does tell us to consider it pure joy when facing trials because he is developing perseverance and maturity in us through circumstances (James 1:2-4). Could he be more clear about the perspective we are to have when given the chance to learn? Don’t avoidingly sidestep anything because anxiety, worry, and fear cripple our ability to learn.

Our time on Earth has been designed to be filled with purposeful conflicts and problems so I suppose we should teach our children how to deal with those problems. After all we’re to “Train up a child in the way he should go,” (Proverbs 22:6).  Our response to those issues determines how we grow. In this place there is a growing sense of entitlement. Many hold the perspective that the events that happen to them are controllable. The myth of “Because of who I am, bad things can’t happen to me” is a very dangerous stance. Look at the story of Job and imagine if his response to problems was from a point of entitlement!

Entitlement is just our Earthly desires on display. One of the most unattractive attributes is a puffed out chest filled with pompous disposition. This is grown from a complete misunderstanding of the truths and reality of our life. Thank God for his pure plan, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 8:28

It’s a battle we all fight, everyday.

Tools for Learning

Sorry to break it to you, but please consider this news with pure joy! When we need to develop in an area, we are given conflict. Yes, we are asked to embrace the struggle, hurt, grief, and frustration that comes with conflict. I think a great example of this is marriage. The first couple years of my marriage was littered with purposed conflict. We worked in it and responded to it and it made all the different. I must say, I tried to avoid it but thankfully my wife is much smarter than me and she helped me realize the process of growth takes effort and intention. Or if you’d prefer a much different example, let’s look at Lebron. The greatest basketball player on the earth has conflict too. Other teams got smart and decided to double team him or punish him with fouls every time he got close to the basket. So Lebron didn’t just continue to practice. He knew if he wanted to enjoy a long successful career he had to work on an alternative to going to the basket and getting beat up. He developed his outside shot and is now even more difficult to guard. (I love sports analogies and have a baseball one that applies as well, but I’ll spare you the boredom).

So you see you will not go through life unscathed, if you claim to, you’re an infant in every way.

I find Isaiah 43:19 very encouraging. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

The path of development is filled with challenging elements. Each element has been divinely designed.

 

May you take joy in your wilderness or desert