27 January 2011

Making Sense of Life, and stuff. Pt 2

"What I'm most interested in is how we make sense of life."
When we get a curve ball unexpectedly, when our plans turn to custard, when the wheels fall off the bus, how do we respond?
  • Sometimes we just get on with doing the next thing.
  • Sometimes we sit down and try to make sense, to understand what has happened.
  • Sometimes we just sit down.
How do we factor in the new data with what we've always known, and coming up with a result that makes sense? Another question arises, "How much control do we have over the new"?

Whether struggling with the death of a loved one, a job loss, an addiction, personal economic chaos, a relationship gone wrong, an illness that's not likely to get better ... making sense is

Sometimes causative questions are asked: How'd I get here? What could I have done differently? Quite often things just are, and there's no one to blame or no decision to retract.

Emotions roll through ... or may just
come to a halt as numbness kicks in to save us from overload. Anger, grief, remorse, anxiety, frustration ... they are both part of the picture and they take their toll. Emotions are part of being human. We are feeling animals as well as thinking animals, with deep seated senses of right and wrong and normal and balance.

We like to make sense, to know, and we'll often exhaust ourselves in the pursuit of that goal. It's about having power over our situation, or choices within it. Even if it means a retreat or a dignified surrender, we like to be cognizant, to have made sense.

Some will argue that this autonomous desire to understand is rebellion against a sovereign God who will protect His people from all ill and harm.

Look around. Christians get sick, die, go bankrupt, divorce and get caught up in chaos around us. It happens. Intelligent confidence maintained within suffering speaks volumes.

Marrying the natural order of things with God's role in the meta-narrative aids the sense-making process. Jesus followers often keenly see the order in God's universe and are attracted to it because it makes sense. It's the disorder that irritates, the bit that's been distorted or corrupted and throws everything else out of kilter that threatens our sense of sense.

Believers should never check their brain at the door. It ought to come in to the conversation, along with the heart, liver and eyes.

I thoroughly enjoy conversations between sincere and humble scientists who seek truth and order. Its a joy to watch those who know God's part of the equation learn from those who are skeptical, and vice versa. The battle is not against God, but for how to make sense of what we observe. The battle is not in the labs or lecture halls, but in the hearts of every human.

As you try to make sense of what's happening in your corner of the world, in your soul and your brain, you might consider conferring with someone who can look at things from a distance or through a different filter. Getting additional input might complicate things in the short term, but it might bring clarity in the long term. Choose that person well though, or things could become more distorted.

Remember too that their answers do not necessarily fit your questions. You'll have to discern your own unique answers that fit your situation, and with which you can move forward with confidence that you've made sense of things ~ for now.

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