Tag Archives: contentment

“The Show About Me”…is just re-runs (part 1)

Life *seems* like a "show about you" b/c you are in every scene and every episode.

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Deconstructing the “Show about You”

By default our heads are filled with an odd and faulty knowledge/sense that Life is a Show about ourselves. Each person thinks he/she must be the center of the universe (think: reality lived out), until something, or someone interrupts this notion. Living outside this worldview takes practice, increased maturity, and concerted effort. Cultural norms and money makers do not encourage us to turn the channel from “The Show About Me”.

Sounds like a blanket statement, right? It sounds like I’m saying everyone is a dirty, rotten jerk, and that can’t possibly be true?

Okay, let me back it up and just start with a few questions:

Think about these 5 questions as you read them and answer truthfully (to yourself, or if you feel that sharing will help others, leave your results in the comment section).

1. When you wake up in the morning do you think about the upcoming events in your day, or focus on your feelings?

2. Do thoughts of your past, present, or future occupy your time in your day?

3. Do you endeavor to find pleasure and avoid pain?

4. Do you mentally weigh the personal benefit when making decisions and actions?

5. Do you long for people to think well of you, and you make decisions based on this factor?

Okay, maybe you skimmed those questions.

Maybe you don’t want to do a personal inventory. If you want to move on, and this is getting weird or uncomfortable, you’re headed for a rerun. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Before that happens, please, go back, for one more minute and read and consider the 5 questions. After you’re done,consider your results. If you answered “yes” or “sometimes” at all, you are fairly normal, and you are also living your life as the Main Star of your Show. You perceive reality as something that centers around, basically, _________. <—— (say your name here.)

So what? you say, doesn’t everyone? What’s the big deal?

Well, friends, it’s only a big deal if you want to feel unstuck….If watching the same re-runs of yourself meeting the same sorts of dead ends and disappoints, and having the same insatiable cravings, growing frustrations, and restricted and delayed growth wears on you, then yes, the deal is starting to head into a biggish area.

Seriously, re-runs are really what you get when the season’s over. No one is working anymore, and the networks hope more rehash won’t be too egregious and lame. After two or three times of the same stuff, we usually want something new, something better.

A whole other Reality is going on, and has been long before you, and will long after you. You may have been skimming on the surface of it, but you have to wake up and realize thoroughly that you are not the Star of the Show, and more importantly, it’s not your Show.

‘Ever seen the movie the Matrix? It’s like, but with fewer people wearing sunglasses. …. oh never mind, The Matrix explanation is WAY too long and slippery. You’ll think you’re Neo, and we’ll be back where I started.

There’s a bit more to come:

In a few days, Part II of this reflection will get down deeper. Soon, I’ll also offer mental, spiritual, and emotional (concrete) ways many people have truly shifted their view to a more healthy one. We’re just getting the engine started on this vehicle to a new perspective. Let’s stick together–Meet back here soon.

Always feel free to leave your thoughts, experiences, or comments here. (Just after the tags below this post, it’ll say Leave a Comment. Not to be too obvious, and insult you, but….You click that.)

Or answer some questions:

Any guesses who the Star of the Show is?

What do you think Reality looks like with this different worldview/perspective?

And how would it be lived out? (examples, generalities, etc.)

The Riddle of Low Self-Esteem

images-2I’m going to start by saying the “answer” I give to solving this riddle, is quite real, but is not easy. I don’t claim there is but one answer, but it is surprising how transforming this surprising tact can be. This situation might be like telling a person what they need to stay fit. Once they have the information, it doesn’t mean it will happen. It doesn’t mean transformation to fitness will take place. It only means, if they truly put the information into practice regularly, will they see true change and results. I also offer that just as in fitness, results do not happen in a day, a week, or a month. It is more of a lifestyle. Change and “state of fitness” happens over a period of time–like a journey. The same is true for what I share with you.

I have often heard questions like, “How can I help my self-esteem and low self-worth?” What most people fail to realize is the truly universal problem a low view of self is. People may see others as confident, and assume they don’t have many doubts, or that others aren’t really acting out of a place of a compromised view of self. I venture to guess many bad decisions we make, and possibly most destructive behaviors come from an attitude, or some form of self-loathing. Yes, it’s a real problem, and a big one.

In most primary education schools, the big push is to raise self-esteem in hopes that a better views of self will generate more socially appropriate behavior, and ethically developed character. The teaching goes something like, “Kids, remember, this in your mind when you take a test. Cheating on a test will make me feel bad about my self.”

This reveals the anthropocentrism (human development-centered) of our efforts to both fix our problem of poor self-image, and to make ethical decisions based our our view of the world from a decidedly human perspective. In both cases we are helpless–stuck making very little ground. Or, the progress made is inconsistent, and can fluctuate based on our particular selfish motives, and short-sighted view at that moment of our ethical choice.

Strangely enough, we cannot start with thinking about ourselves to reclaim our value, or raise our poor self-esteem. For that, we must thrust our focus away from the defect, to the Standard, the Creator, and work from the Source, or the Top down. It might seem counter-intuitive to not think of yourself when you are attempting to better yourself, and that not entirely what I propose. I propose that we allow God to be the source of our esteem, and the foundation of our value.

The best way I have found to help me in this area–to increase my fitness–if you will, is to thoroughly enjoy God in worship. In him we live and move and have our being. This is no small idea. This is another way to frame Reality. (I believe it is the way the Bible offers it to us.)  It starts with God, and adds us into the picture as part of God’s supporting cast, rather than us as the star of the show. In reality, life is a Story about God, and his love and enjoyment of us. And then our response to him. Often, we live out of the premise that life, as author Donald Miller has said it seems, “…like a movie about me, and I can prove it because I’m in every scene.”

One of the greatest benefits to adjusting (or I should say re-adjusting) to a theo-centric worldview, is that the pressure for defining self, and for generating self-esteem is not our task any longer. The pressure is off. Our worth is in our God who loves us and made us, and gave all to save us, so we could be healed, and restored. So, we are brought back to rightly, and happily living, and loving him and others again. And we also have the hope of the restored world beyond this one, in which the problems, injustice, and turmoil we cannot fix will be made good and right. This is God’s promise, and it rests in his perfect nature–which must be all-good, and all-just. God is our hope of hopes, both now and in times to come. Though this truth is not completely fathomable, it is knowable because we can sketch the contour of a perfect God, who created us, and is, in fact, not a part of our world and lives, but indeed, the very center of Reality.

This topic makes a great small group discussion that can promote spiritual introspection and growth. Use this post to generate an interesting discussion by sending a few friends here to read this post, and then chat about it together. (Also pastry and coffee helps the experience. I’ve tested it out!) Please weigh-in with some of the thoughts you came up with while you were together. 

And if you can, please list a suggestion/s for worship. Thank you for reading.

New Page for which to be thankful-Gratitudes

I added the page above called Gratitudes. Consider it a spiritual practice when you visit to list a few things there, for which you are thankful. Gratitude doesn’t have to be reserved for an activity of counting our blessing, once in a while, like we do on Thanksgiving Day. It is a treasure hunting way to view our circumstances and seasons in life. In truth, it is a pathway to contentment. Thank you for participating.

Perceiving Grace… Your thoughts?

Proposals on grace, including “kenotic decentering” here. After reading it…What are your thoughts about what you read?

Adam Miller‘s article brings up notions of what grace may be in how it may be perceived, or actually work in how we experience life.

Does grace fill in the gaps of our weakness, bringing us to find satisfaction and salvation in ways we never can alone. OR maybe is it what we allow, (and what is given) to help us find contentment and salvation in whatever the mixed bag of sorrow and joy happens in life. In other words, life is already normal, (not abnormal, despite the negative side of it) and grace helps us see life as not deficient. 

Miller points out a third way, and, of course, there are other ways to perceive grace, or propose how it works too. 

I’d LOVE to hear your proposal, or stab at it.

Being Content to Forage?

diveIn the USA, a country of both abundance and excessive waste, dumpster diving is certainly a fringe activity. However, urban foraging is gaining a large following over recent years because of tougher times. Among certain folks, the urge to reuse, recycle, and of course, get free stuff, can be more of an actual lifestyle some opt for daily. It’s surprising the websites that offer tips and tricks for the habitual modern foragers. As I’ve been trimming our consumption way down, the mindset of living with less actually turns into a fun challenge. I don’t worry about the things I used to, like wearing the hip styles, and being trendy/fashionable. (I’ve set my own “trends” since the 80s out of necessity/poverty, now I’m just not so ashamed about it–on my terms.)

Doesn’t this forage business sort of bring us to a point to ponder about contentment, too? We never will find it in Things, new things, (and old things as well.) The perfect car, or shoes, or latest gadget ends up at the dump, and even the perfect meal ends up…well, you know.

Frugality can be a spiritual discipline we do, at least now and then, in which we skim away clutter that is actually internal. The crutch of things often changes us to perceive priorities wrongly. We don’t need much. What we want, and what we feel we need, get mixed up. It’s happened to me, trust me.

Without awareness or discipline, our Want matures into a monster that masquerades as a felt need that is actually internal. It is the problem that has nothing to do with external things. And it’s not a “problem,” but an opportunity for growth, and learning the ways of contentment, which brings gladness and peacefulness.

More details about urban foraging (specifically) here.

Did you ever “dumpster dive”?

(I’ve rescued some nifty items on the way to the landfill.)

photo credit

worldviews

modernity says: believe what you can understand

post-modernity invites contentment in mystery of what we cannot know, and belief so we may understand.

There are other views out there, but these two have the most prominence. 

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