Process Without Panic

“Claire, I can’t emphasize this enough: You are allowed to be in process!” My friend said to me in a loving, somewhat exasperated tone. I sat there reeling for a minute...

Is that true?
What does that mean for my life?

How do I lead from this place?

I am so thankful for that conversation and for that friend. She revealed a point of pride that has tripped me up way too many times. I really believed that I needed to understand everything. Therefore, if I was in process, I was in panic.
This Wednesday we will start a series called Unraveled: Reconciling an Ancient Faith with Modern Questions. This series is about the process of deconstruction.

Deconstruction (noun): a method of critical analysis which emphasizes the internal workings of language and conceptual systems, the relational quality of meaning, and the assumptions implicit in forms of expression.

Basically, deconstruction is reviewing the building blocks of our faith, piece by piece. When we engage in deconstruction, the structure of our faith enters metamorphosis.
We will go through versions of this process our entire lives. It reminds me of the moving staircases at Hogwarts. One moment you’re walking confidently on a set path, let’s say, to the Hufflepuff common room. The next moment, the stairs have shifted and you find yourself in front of a locked door on the fourth floor of the castle. It is unplanned, unprompted, and completely disorienting.
Deconstruction causes the intense discomfort psychologists refer to as cognitive dissonance. Suddenly, there are gaps in your thinking that you can’t ignore. You long for the simplicity of the common room. But you can’t unsee the locked door. What secrets are in there? What are you missing?

I am learning that the process does not have to produce panic. Here are some lies I attempt to resist when I wrestle with big questions:
I can only lead if I fully understand.

It is a sin to not know for sure.

God is frustrated by my questions.
God is rushing me to figure this out.

You are allowed to be in process.
You cannot reduce your life to a presentation, a performance. That would diminish it. You aren’t hanging in a museum. You are receiving brush strokes and criticism and movement. You are the subject of questions, curiosity, complaint, and praise. You will be misunderstood. You will misunderstand. You will see in part.
What process are you rushing through? Slow down. Receive. Breathe.
“For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood.“ - 1 Corinthians 13:12

What would it look like for panic to not be a part of your process?

Author | Claire Jordan




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