WE ARE ALL WORKS IN PROCESS
Committing fully to the step of taking our own thoughts captive means accepting, that the task of discovering who we really are, how we have been limiting ourselves, and how we can best learn and grow in our lives is an ongoing business, something that is never complete. We will never “finish” the job. We are all works in process. It’s a Journey, not a destination. We can learn to journey well.
We are not talking about some magical, instant transformation. We are talking about steady, predictable progress toward a pattern of stepping back to make informed, mature, considered responses to our own thought patterns . . . to our environment . . . and to the people who matter in our lives, starting with our spouse or significant other. This kind of progress is very likely to be of the two-steps-forward, one-step-back variety. And that is fine. If you take a moment to consider all the areas where you learned to master a new and important skill—riding a bike, doing a new job, parenting—you will realize that two steps forward, one step back is the way that you, and the rest of the human beings on earth, learn best. We make mistakes. We learn from those mistakes. We change what wasn’t working, and we replace it with something that works better. We replace what is wrong with the right.
It would be a mistake to think that anyone – up to and including the mentor you might be working with—has it all together. Because we are human beings, we are never “complete.” We are never “done” doing the work. The mentor may have been around for a while, may have been through multiple life situations, may have grown on any number of levels, and may be able to help others learn how to avoid or get out of bad situations. That mentor is still alive, still human, and still going through the process of life, just like everyone else.
Probably 98 percent of the help I might offer people is born out of having received help myself in situations that have taught me about them. That direct experience is much more relevant than any counseling technique, or any degrees on my wall. Not only that, since I am still alive, I am prone to many of the same thought-life mistakes and pitfalls as the people I counsel. Yes, I avoid many of these mistakes because I have learned, grown, matured, and acquired some wisdom over the years, but I am not impervious to difficulty in relationships, to decision-making errors, to responding poorly to others, and so on.
The great mystic and writer, Henri Nouwen, provides us with several quotes that exemplify this reality. I have reproduced them below:
“We don’t sit as those who have all the answers, but journey together toward light and liberation.”
“Do we want to get useful information, or do we want to show that someone else is wrong? Do we want to conquer knowledge, or do we want to grow in wisdom?”
“I am learning to trust God’s love and God’s actions and spend less time worrying about things I don’t need to ‘know’. Sometimes it is OK – and good for the soul – to be left in the dark. I am more prone to humble myself and accept leadership to help me out of the dark place.”
“Why can’t we just be content with not knowing all the answers? After all, if we knew everything God knows, we wouldn’t need God; we would be God.” “
This is an adapted excerpt from my book, The Process. Indeed life is a process, God’s process to be exact, and we are all in it one way or the other. We are also created to journey together in the worlds that we find ourselves in and make choices in. As we choose to engage with one another, we must understand we are all works in process, not perfect, nor will we ever be. If we were, as Henri reminds us, we would be God. In the meantime, His grace is sufficient.
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