The hardest thing to do is to connect what’s in your head with that which is in your heart. Sometimes your head is filled with so much that it muddies the clarity of whats in your heart, and sometimes the passion in your heart gets out of control and causes more damage than good. This is an issue we all have to deal with, not just people of faith, but every human being in this world. we tend to make the simple things, the things that matter the most and that would lead us into greater growth, more complicated than they were meant to be. How do we stop from doing that? How do we manage to grasp something as complexly simple as faith and not just learn about it but live it?
Perhaps you picked up this book and thought that it would be filled with how to’s and formulas on how to deepen your faith life, sorry to tell you that this is not its intent. This is not a self help book, nor will it try to define what faith is, there are plenty of those in any church or bible college library written by the best and brightest minds in the Christian sphere. Lastly, this book will not try to debunk any denominations theology or view on faith. If you’re searching for any of the issues listed above this is not the book for you; however, if you want to join me in a journey of discovery where we will most likely end up with more questions than answers, where we will wrestle with our very souls and beliefs, then I invite you to read on.
There are many ways that we are able to learn things. Some need to experience something before it becomes part of their knowledge, others like clear linear instructions, yet others prefer to be left alone with no limits to figure things out. I am more akin to learning by observing how others do, so this book will have personal observations, that have helped define my view of faith.
An ancient proverb states, “A cup that is full cannot be filled.” Perhaps whomever said those words meant that as a metaphor for our minds. A mind unwilling to empty itself in order to view things from a different point of view or to receive new knowledge is like a cup that is all ready full. One can pour new liquid into it but it will just be a wasting of time and whatever liquid was hoped to be added. Lets think of it this way: if we were given a very expensive 200 year old bottle of wine (do they have those?), and we only had one glass (I know that all you practical people would just go out and buy or borrow one, but stick with me) and it was filled with cheap grocery store boxed wine, would it not be logical to first empty and wash the glass before new wine was poured in it? Any wine taster will tell you that you never mix wines because it cheapens the experience, aroma and taste of the more aged wine.
So it is with our minds, to go in this journey, we must lay aside any previous knowledge, theology, dogma, or family belief. Not throw it away, but simply put it in proper storage, locked away for a bit, so that we have had a chance to experience something else in its fullness without preconceptions or biases. Let anything we carry drop away so that our mind is free to perceive more clearly.
Empty some mind-space
We all have junk in our homes. Be honest! we all know there is a room or a drawer in our houses that is filled with knick-knacks, boxes full of stuff we meant to unpack, things we’ve stored to give away, but never did. Some hold memories and are too precious to throw away, some are gifts that were well intentioned, but had no immediate use, or perhaps a pile of hobbies we meant to take seriously, but gave up on the minute our attention was drawn away by yet another shinier object, or are simple pack rats.
My father was a bit of a pack rat. He would go to garage sales, flea markets or simply walk down a back alley in the evenings and find things to bring home. Broken sewing machines, chairs, toaster ovens, etc. all things in which he saw the glimmer of usefulness and could be fixed and be reused. unfortunately, he never would fix anything so all these “treasures” would keep filling the basement in our not so large townhouse. Eventually, they were joined by more items all waiting for the day that my father would finally fix and make use of them. It was all junk to me, and perhaps it is why I detest storing things that will never be of use or are broken, and why I abhor going to garage sales. If it can’t be fixed why keep it? If it’s not going to be used regularly, why store it? No need to keep clutter around. This is a perfect example of what I mean by Unlearn.
We all have a place in our being I like to refer to as mind-space. This is an area of our being meant to store all the faith experience God gives us. From a simple experience in kindness to prayers for someone’s healing are all meant to be kept in this place so we have access to them so we can share, empathize, or comfort our brother’s and sisters in difficult times. Unfortunately, as with most basements or garages, we tend to put items there simply because its available space. Sometimes, broken dreams end up there, regrets or bad experiences, hurts, shattered relationships, shards of old friendships and rending words spoken to us. Perhaps we tend to fill this “mind-space” with intellectual knowledge or spiritual trivia because it seems eerily devoid of true character building faith experience and the emptiness frightens us. We can also easily hide counterfeited faith in there so that others will think we possess scores of the genuine item. We fill our mind-space so full of spiritual “junk” that there is no room for us to store true faith experience and its even harder to access the one stored. Thus, they sit there, unused, valuable, but gathering dust and covered in cobwebs no more useful than all our broken “junk”
At this point in our journey, some are waiting for a list of do’s to help clean out the junk. Well, its not that simple Why? Because each person is unique. there are insurmountable combinations on how to do this. Some, prefer to take long walks alone with God or sometimes playing music on an instrument. Others, enjoy entering in to heated discussions (I call it arguing) with people of opposite views, yet others use the ancient art of biblical meditation to free up any mind-space. Our task is to find what works best for each of us, since there is no simple, blanket process that will work for everyone and yield the same results. Each of us is in different stages in our faith walk, and though we follow the same path in Christ Jesus, each of our “routes” will be vastly different, even if they intersect at times. If developing a relentless version of faith is important to us, then we will find a way to remove the clutter.
Why do we need to unlearn? Well, We self-impose limitations on ourselves that were not God-ordained. We use our “clutter” as fodder for excuses. These same excuses that gives us the illusion that we have some measure of control over life. It is our ingrained arrogance that stops us from humbly doing the cleaning work so that we may store our faith experience in its proper, character edifying place. There should be nothing, save the words of the Bible that should be our extent. Not theology, not denominational beliefs, not political affiliation, nor societal status. Nothing, but the Word of God....
Pedro V. Escamilla
Feb 28, 2013
Edmonton, Alberta Canada.