LANDSCAPES OF LIFE, Seasons of Life, SOCIAL JUSTICE, SPIRITUAL AND EMOTIONAL WOUNDING, TRANSFORMATION, Transitions, TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

BECOME RESILIENT BY REFORMING YOUR BELIEF SYSTEMS AND EXPERIENCES

man and woman standing on brown field near green tree under white clouds
Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

Four Steps to Turn your Past into Your Future

We are on an ever-evolving pathway of growth, and understanding the world around us, and our purpose in it. Some have settled into a comfort zone of “I know what I know and am happy and content with that.” This may give a sense of stability and security, thinking things will stay the same and the future is more predictable. Unfortunately, many things outside of our control will flip that idea on its head. Natural disasters, disease, and war can pull the rug out from right under our feet. So how can we build resiliency into our lives?

1. EXPLORE NEW IDEAS AND BELIEFS

unrecognizable men praying in old catholic church
Photo by Mimi Moromisato on Pexels.com

Most of us would have grown up in a home that had a particular set of beliefs that were passed from parents to children. The culture, and environment in which you live also play a large part. Beliefs and values and not the same, but they do overlap at times. What is valued in one culture may not necessarily be appreciated in another. Examples of these systems can be capitalism, socialism, ubuntu, or some other local system. Do we really understand the positive and negative things these systems bring with them? How they affect our culture and our sense of being and self-worth?

Religion is another system, although it was meant to be a spiritual experience with our Creator God. It has evolved in some places to a structure of hierarchy and power. Instead of being the place of refuge for the vulnerable, it has imposed oppression on them, particularly women and children. Especially when the application of Scripture is interpreted through the laws and not through the grace which was the Creator’s redemptive design for His Creation.

Do we blindly accept everything we were taught, or has life experience led us to doubt certain things, as they no longer make sense?

Do we blindly accept everything we were taught, or has life experience led us to doubt certain things, as they no longer make sense? As an example, a seven-day creation does not make scientific sense to me as a geological cartographer. I am happy to change that belief to one of time periods, eras, or epochs.  Have life experiences and new scientific discoveries rocked your belief system? We are on a journey of discovery; when you open yourself to let go of an old belief, you can embrace new ideas and thoughts.

2. ENJOY THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE

person holding book from shelf
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

To build resilience, you must be prepared to spend time learning new things. Is research a chore, something you did at school or college, and when you had finished, you were done? I have met many people like that, they have hardly opened a book since they left school. They only learned the necessary skills to keep a job or find employment. But what if learning was fun, digging deeper into the hard questions of life to find hidden nuggets of wisdom and truth. History repeats itself if the lessons are not learned. The French Revolution was an example when a government system did not heed the people’s voice, and power and corruption were rife. How did Nazism take hold? What did the people in those times believe? Enjoy the learning experience as you delve into other deeply held beliefs, religious, faith, and church systems.

In the light of what we know now, do these things really bring us into alignment with the purposes of our loving and compassionate Creator, whose pathway of redemption was love and sacrifice of self, not others.

In the light of what we know now, do these things really bring us into alignment with the purposes of our loving and compassionate Creator, whose pathway of redemption was love and sacrifice of self, not others. Learning new things can be fun, but your new ideas may not be well received as people around you get uncomfortable with your new truths. This is also part of growing resilience as you learn to live in the face of opposition.

3. CHALLENGE YOURSELF

positive senior businessman typing on laptop while holding money in hand
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Building resilience involves challenging yourself, not others. They are just as entitled to their beliefs as you are. Breaking free of the old systems and ways is always hard. Heraclitus said, “the only constant in life is change.”  Nobody likes change, but survival often requires us to embrace change and accept what is. My grandfather was a horseman; he never could adapt to the automobile, so he always relied on other people to take him to appointments if he could not walk to them, thereby limiting his experiences.

We are in a digital age now. It is difficult for older people to embrace that this is how life is going to work from now on. Resisting online banking and shopping is not going to make it go away. Learning to use new technology is a challenge, but it is here to stay. Re-read the previous paragraph and take it on board, enjoy the learning experience. Make it part of your daily practice to build new experiences into your everyday life, try ethnic foods, new languages or skills, or even watch movies you never enjoyed before. What new things could you intentionally learn from them?

4. MOVE OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

man riding motocross dirt bike on dirt road
Photo by vikram sundaramoorthy on Pexels.com

Building resilience means you need to practice what you have learned, which usually means moving out of your comfort zone. Speak the new language you have learned. Interact with people of different beliefs and cultural systems, try and understand their perspectives on life. Visit places you would not usually have. If you are a sports fan, visit an art gallery or a ballet. If you are a culture vulture, see a sports game. How does this make you feel? Are you enjoying this experience or learning something you would not have had the chance to learn before? By moving out of your comfort zone, you are giving your heart, mind, and emotions time to make new neural pathways and expand your capacity to survive more difficult circumstances. You are building resilience muscles just as you would in a gym workout for strength training.

black handled key on key hole
Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.com

After reading this, you may still decide you want to hold tightly onto your past beliefs and cultural systems, and that is OK. But I have given you the key to open the door to new experiences that will build your resilience muscles for when life moves on and the inevitable changes are forced upon us that we have no control over. There is one core belief that has remained unaltered for me. Our compassionate, unchanging Creator God loves and cares for all that He created and desires to walk in companionship with us to show us the pathway through the changing seasons of life.

Seasons of Life, TRANSFORMATION, Transitions, Uncategorized, Widowhood

TRANSFORMING THE BRIDE

transformation2.jpgJesus used many parables and examples from nature during His time on earth. The book of Romans tells us that we are without excuse because since creation His attributes have been clearly seen and understood through what was created.  This has caused me to look at spiritual concepts and view them through nature and thus enrich my understanding of them.

Look at the Church, the Bride of Christ, we all understand that concept. We see the denominational diversity, divisions and competitiveness – how can we really become the one Bride of Christ?  Jesus said they shall be known because they love one another!  The conflicts and religious wars of history have shown that that hasn’t happened.  How can we accept one another’s differences and love one another at the same time? Let us look in creation for a metaphor and see if we can find an answer.

A tree has four components, a trunk, branches, leaves and roots. Without these it cannot live each being dependent on the other as a whole and the spirit (life-force) within that maintains its cycles.  If we look at each part and compare them to denominational or religious philosophies, we can see how much we depend on one another and therefore need each other to prepare the Bride of Christ.

The trunk, solid and immovable on what is right or wrong, black or white, no shades of grey. The Word of God is the Truth; we need to be reminded that this is so, that our focus is kept on the Triune God and that no other philosophy can woo us from this Truth. Trunks are covered with bark, that bark can be smooth or rough, striped, ringed or covered with thorns, and depending on how our Truth is projected or told to others can either protect or harm them. Fundamental Truth and belief systems.

The branches represent those who teach the Intellectual and Practical outworking of this central Truth.  Their programs reach out like the branches; they offer shade and shelter to the weary and to passersby. They reach out to causes like prisons, missions and good works.  They bear fruit; they feed the hungry, comfort the sorrowing.  They are always reaching out, even in winter when the branches are bare.

The leaves are seasonal and colorful. You know the wind is blowing by the rustling in the leaves. Jesus compared the Spirit to the wind; no one knows where it comes from or where it will go.  The leaves flutter and give trees their glorious colors.  In the Psalms it says the trees in the field will clap their hands in joy, charismatic movement.  We need the joyousness of the leaves to lift our souls in worship above the heaviness of life and to know when the Spirit is moving.  The leaves are there for a season, then drop to the ground where in due course they provide food for the roots.  The young leaves are then formed for the next season’s growth. There are seasonal patterns in our spirituality and belief systems.

We cannot see the roots, but we know they are there, they draw the nourishment and water up from the soil to feed the tree. There are people who set themselves apart to pray, those who withdraw from the world, contemplatives and mystics where meditation and prayer are central; the prayer warriors, monasteries, convents and communities.  Even if we do not see them, if these people stopped their function in the Church it would become very sick and maybe even die. We all need their prayer and deep connection to the Creator

Nature has given us a solution to the problem of religious and denominational difference and diversity.  We must accept the place God has assigned for each of us individually, whether it is the trunk, branches, leaves or roots and fulfil our function with all our hearts, minds and souls. This may be for a season or for a lifetime. We then must accept that God has assigned different people to different places and they are there to create balance, diversity, color and strength to His church so that the Church Universal can fulfil its function.

If we each maintain our own identity and function and accept everyone else’s identity and function as God given and as part of the whole, together we can transform the Bride of Christ because the Church will be known “because they love one another”. A tree will not survive if any one of the four components are missing so we need each other to grow in love and unity so we may be THE Bride and not many brides.