Making Space for Real Change
The idea that drives what I read, what I write and speak about, and how I do spiritual direction is this: what transforms people, how do people change. Too often, people have sincere intentions (as with New Years resolutions) but then very little happens. God gives us nudges all the time. I want to help people recognize those nudges and respond. I desperately want to help people get “unstuck” and move forward. It’s interesting how such a focus not only moves us closer to God and each other, but it makes life so much more adventurous, fulfilling and fun.
Especially as our School of Kingdom Living team has developed our content, we’ve kept this in mind. The interaction style of our week-long gatherings and times in between is designed to give participants space to discuss, reflect on, and internalize ideas that help them move toward Christlikeness. It has made me wince at the fallacy of our culture’s focus on content-download.
It’s commonly thought that knowing (or at least reading or hearing) more information changes people. So we google everything. We go to conferences and workshops with impressive speeches accompanied by gorgeous, flashy PowerPoint presentations. But content download does not change people. If I’m putting together new exercise equipment that I bought through Amazon, I read the instructions, but that alone does not help me. I need to reflect on those complicated diagrams and then focus on them enough that I’m eager to follow them (instead the crazy shortcuts I come up with).
Information needs to be internalized. You need to see yourself putting together the stationery bike, lawn mower or kids’ toy. It’s the same with learning new ideas. This requires time for reflection and processing, discussion that helps us flesh out meaning, practices that help us experiment with them and especially relationships that feed our desire to change. Hearing an expert speak with thoughtful quotations and stirring anecdotes may be interesting but it doesn’t facilitate change. People change as they process and pray about what they believe God is leading them to do. They need space to have conversations with God and engaging discussions with each other about what they most desire.
To really know an idea or new information is to interact with it in a street-level way. To only hear it well-spoken creates praise for the speaker and may even convince the listener that they know something they’ve only heard, and so increasing their sense of self-importance. This much overlooked practice of internalizing truth is what helps people really change, to become the kind of person they really want to be! And that God has imagined for them for a long time.
Please reflect on how this might be true for you. In the midst of that, it might be helpful to know that And, btw, applications are being accepted for our third cohort for SKL. If you’re looking for interaction with other people who want to know Jesus better, if you want to form substantive community with others, and if you’re eager to internalize ideas that help you move forward, consider School of Kingdom Living. Apply here.
Grace and peace,