rebuilding after deconstructing: 7. exploring possibilities
this is the second-to-last installment of 7 major movements in rebuilding after deconstructing. tomorrow will be a wrap post, which is really the 8th–”trusting the path.” then early next week i want to brainstorm a few helpful lists together (it will be fun, i promise!).
the other posts from the past 2 weeks are listed here.
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one of the hardest parts about writing a series this-packed-full-of-intensity is that everyone is in a different place. some of us have already found our way & feel free-er than we’ve ever felt before. others are only beginning to realize we’re at the wall & don’t know what the $^$&#@ it might mean for the future. others are worn out & tired & feel really “done” at the moment and really don’t want to talk about this right now.
i say this as yet another warning when reading this post. for some of you, you’re just not ready to think about new possibilities yet. please know the last thing i want to do is make people feel pressured. we don’t all have to be at the place of being ready to “explore possibilities.” this shifting process take time; it’s important to not rush and expect ourselves to get to some imaginary finish line fast. that will mess our heads and hearts up even more. so as you’re reading today, know that it’s totally okay if you’re not in this particular space at the moment.
but some people are.
one of the hardest things for many deconstructors to do is to plug back into some form of community. see, even saying that word is making a few of you have an allergic reaction! the thought of risking again, trusting again, trying again, engaging again just feels too overwhelming. you’ve been there, done that, and so why bother.
i totally get that.
but it might help if we begin to widen our view of what community & connection might look like. as we do that, we can begin to explore possibilities.
community & connection with other people of hope might look like:
re-attaching to a safe church–or never darkening the door of a church again but finding hope through a small cluster of friends dedicated to each other.
joining a group and remaining firmly on the fringes–or trying to plug in and serve again, with eyes wide open and hearts a little more aware.
being part of something that doesn’t have a lick to do with anything overtly spiritual–or finding a clearly sacred place for intentional spiritual practices.
working with people directly connected to our newly-ignited passion–or in a completely different context.
part of rebuilding & renewal is an openness to new possibilities for community & connection.
there are a few things to be aware of as we explore new possibilities:
it has to be when we’re ready, not when someone else thinks we should be. this is so important!
experiments help. i’m a big fan of “let’s try this and see what it feels like.” we can enter into some of these experiences more loosely & not hold ourselves to feeling like we have to commit to anything. i love the idea of “for this next season i’m going to experiment with…” and then have a time to evaluate how it went, how it felt, what it opened us up to.
we don’t have to give all our power away again. it’s okay to be part of stuff without being “all in”. it’s okay to disagree with some things but be okay with others. it’s okay to guard our hearts and at the same time open them a little. it’s okay to be skeptical about leadership & power but still take part. it doesn’t make us cynical; it makes us wise.
let go of old definitions of “church”. if we hold on to old preconceptions, it will really hijack possibilities, especially if we’re toast when it comes to typical systems. small or big, formal or informal, regular or sporadic, christian or non-christian, there are all kinds of ways to be with other people and be part of “church.”
listen to triggers but be careful about making quick decisions based on them. part of our maturity is developing listening skills for our gut feelings of what is really going on. as we explore new possibilities for connection & community, we need to better listen to the Holy Spirit-working-in-us. at the same time, when we’ve been in toxic systems or are still really raw, every little thing can feel triggering. it’s easy to say “well, we’re for sure not ready to explore new possibilities yet” and even though that could be true, it can also be true that we’re really sensitive about certain things (for good reason). i never want to say “ignore the triggers and push through” but i do want to say “explore your triggers and don’t make reflex decisions based on them.” talk about it with safe friends, get wise input.
ease in, don’t rush. sometimes when we’re lonely & desperate & tired and long so deeply for connection and stability again, we can dive in too fast, too hard. don’t. it’s not good for us. take time to live on the fringes a little. don’t volunteer for too much too soon. trust that healthy systems & groups & people won’t be in a hurry.
overall, when considering new possibilities to explore, i really like the words “practice” and “try.” they’ve helped me become a little more balanced and not so black-and-white. these words help us remember we don’t need everything mastered or figured out or buttoned down; rather, we can do our best to show up, engage as best we can for the moment, and continue to learn, adjust, re-evaluate, and grow.
over time, may our hearts be open to new possibilities.
what are some new possibilities you are trying (or want) to explore?
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tomorrow: the wrap, whew! – trusting the path.