Find the Truth By Unlearning and Unlayering
Today, I had a wonderful and insightful conversation with a dear friend. We have many things in common – church, loss of our husbands of many years, stage of life, interests, and faith. We also learned we are both in a life-stage of finding the truth for ourselves,relearning or peeling off layers of learning. Unlearning and unlayering is part of the process we are each going through right now.
How Do You Know What You Know?
In my blog last week – Why Do I Write? What is My Passion? – I wrote about this process without calling it that. There are things we are taught as children and adults which we may discover were either not true at all, or only partially true. We may live many years of our lives believing and practicing certain things. Then, some life event causes us to begin questioning.
How do I find the truth? Don’t start by assuming everything you’ve heard or been taught is a lie. You probably have a wealth of truth within you. Some of it may just be a little tarnished! Take off some layers of the world, and you will probably discover you have a good foundation – it just needs a little repair.
Don’t Accept Twisted Teaching
For me, that happened over 20 years ago when a famous person came to our church to teach a principle on giving. I can’t even remember the person’s name, only that as they spoke, something inside me said no. At home, I carefully read the scriptures they used to support their theory. I am not criticizing them. All I’m saying is that, for me, it seemed that a simple principle of giving God the firstfruits of our harvest – tithing – was being twisted to elicit money.
You Will Find the Truth Under the Layers
I listened for several nights and repeated the same process of going to the Word and searching to see if what they said was true (remember the Bereans?). I did not believe it was. There was no need to run to others to criticize and turn them against this teacher. I simply knew that my spirit, my conscience, and my heart could not accept what I was being told. It didn’t matter how ‘famous’ this person was or how big their ministry was. This was the beginning of my journey of figuring out for myself what I believed. Not simply accepting what others told me to believe or do.
God’s Gifts and Blessings Are Not For Sale
I watched a world-renowned pastor on television talking about healing and how to be healed. At the end of the message, he announced that if you would send money, he would pray for your healing. Hmmmm. I never saw Jesus sell healing. Once again I knew that I must be wise enough to search the Scriptures for myself and see if the things I’m being told are true. Do they line up with what Jesus did? This certainly didn’t. A person’s words and actions should stand up to the test of the Word.
Finding the Truth Will Let Your Light Shine Brightly
All of this caused me to begin to examine what I believed. I asked myself – How do I know what I know? Finding what is real means it must match Jesus’ words and actions. I wanted to take off some layers. I had to start unlearning and unlayering. As my friend described it, when you are born and born again, there is a light in you. The light of life and the light of God’s Spirit. But, as you grew and learned, things may have been placed over your light and it gradually grew dimmer. Then that day came when you questioned a belief or an attitude, an assumption or a social norm.
Social norms can be hard ones to recognize because everyone in a particular social group or place us is living them just as we are. We probably grew up with them. For instance, we may have grown up thinking that if you live in a certain area, you have to hunt deer every Fall. If you don’t hunt deer, there’s something wrong with you. Maybe you don’t like hunting and you prefer to see your deer alive but – you go hunting because it’s what your family and friends do. Or, you belong to a religious group with many restrictions and rules. It’s not that the rules are bad, it’s just that you suddenly question why you can’t do or be.
This Isn’t a Process of Finding Fault
I’m not criticizing or attacking the social norms, the beliefs or anything like that because I’m not the judge. However, I can question those things as they apply or don’t apply to my life. That’s the stage of life I’m still in – unlayering and unlearning some things. There’s an old saying – not all that glitters is gold. Words can sound as if they are deep wisdom when instead, they are simply deep deception. Be a student of the word so that you are not collecting a bag full of fool’s gold. Be a learner, not a critic.
Here’s a good one – believing we can’t change! That strikes many of us. It’s a lie and you can verify that by searching the Scriptures. Or, I’m not good enough! That can stem from circumstances and/or social norms. Growing up, I was always a little chunky at a time when Twiggy was all the rage. That social norm – the Twiggy norm – sent me a message. No one told me I needed to look like her but I knew I was far from being anything like her. A social norm doesn’t have to “taught” in order to be learned. It isn’t the truth but it still shapes us and our thinking.
Searching for the Truth
Figuring out what’s true requires initiating a search party of two – you and God. Yes, we should listen to and learn from others but maturity is the process of taking those things and researching them in the light of what God is doing and saying in you and in His Word. It may take some trial and error. You don’t have to radically blow up your entire life. It’s just a slow process of searching and researching; being willing to change; taking off and putting on. Finding out what’s true will require patience but it’s worth it.
Your friends can probably still be your friends, your social circles may not have to change, and your church is probably just fine. The only thing changing is you. You have no obligation or right to try to change everyone and everything. It’s about you and your relationship with God. Take it deeper by learning. Search the Word of God for yourself. Look back at your history to see why you may be where you are. Meditate and don’t be afraid.
Don’t Criticize Yourself Either
I find that my light is much brighter and my confidence in who and what I am has grown immensely. Questioning is good as long as you don’t become a critic. Remember, you aren’t trying to uncover what others need to unlearn or take off. It’s all about you and criticism should never be part of the process. That includes criticism of yourself.
If you’ve been taught things which you believe are not true, don’t criticize or blame the person who taught them. Don’t blame anyone! That person was probably doing the very best they could. Even if they weren’t, it doesn’t matter because this is only about you. There is no self-criticism involved either. You don’t know what you don’t know. Don’t beat yourself up because you thought you should look like Twiggy! Just get past it.
Be Set Free to Like Christ – by Finding and Living the Truth
It’s my process. I want to get rid of everything that may keep me from being more and more like Christ and believing the wrong things can certainly do that. It’s only about my freedom and my increasing and deepening relationship with my God. No criticism of others or of yourself. Just setting yourself free to live abundantly in His wisdom and truth. This little light of mine – I’m gonna let it shine!