What would I want to tell those I care about?

I just finished Jordan Peterson’s book, 12 Rules for Life.  I found it extremely insightful, provoking, even inspirational.  He ended the book by writing his thoughts on various problems and people in his life.  One of the overarching principles of the book is to tell the truth or at least don’t lie.  I began thinking about what I wanted to say to many people whom I care deeply about (including myself).  A lot of times we don’t tell people what we need to because perhaps we are afraid it will offend them.  So without further ado, I present to you a little truth-telling, things that I think it’s important for those I care about to know.

Truth

Truth is utterly important; you need to investigate truth in every area of life. Truth cannot just be felt but must be investigated.  This is because 90% truth can be mixed with 10% lie which will lead to building your house on sand.  Many people, instead of seeking truth, seek acceptance from peers.  This is a major trap.

Forgive your Parents

Forgive your father and mother for their faults.  That forgiveness will bring healing to your soul just as it will towards their souls.  Your parents are always your parents, no matter how much they fail.  Not forgiving them will scar your own life more than pay them back for whatever they may have done to you.  Forgiveness does not mean letting someone hurt you repeatedly, having no boundaries, or being naive.  It means not paying that person back for their sins, letting go of your need for that.  Don’t let anyone or anything poison your relationship with your family.

Uncomfortable Relationships

Move towards uncomfortable relationships, even with people that you might not normally befriend. So many of us live in relational enclaves, echo chambers, surrounding ourselves with only those people who never challenge us to think or live differently.  Granted, we can’t be very deep friends with people we have nothing in common with, but there are people who hold different viewpoints than us who still have a lot in common with us.

Friendships

Know who your real friends are. Many people who you think are your friends are really not.  The moment your attractiveness fades and trouble rears its head in your life, many of these people will abandon ship. Figure out who the real friends are and spend time with them.

Anxiety of Others

Don’t let other people’s anxiety and controlling tendencies get to you.  You don’t have to take that on or try to fix them.  Don’t let others’ anxiety smother you.  Make sure to make room for some self-care, solitude, and other disciplines that bring you nearer to God and yourself when around them.  

Marriage

Continue to strive to work on yourself and your marriage.  Don’t give into the lie that marriage can be easy as pie.  It’s a sacrificial endeavor where we have to die to ourselves, but that brings new life.  Marriage is for others, not just yourself.  Hold your spouse accountable while still finding your true life and value in God.  Communicate clearly and apologize when you blow it.

Investigate Jesus

Investigate Jesus more.  He’s more than a spiritual teacher.  He’s more than one guide among many.  He is THE guide whom all the other guides, when they were speaking rightly, were ultimately pointing to.  He is the the TRUE life, the way, the truth, the resurrection, the living water.  He doesn’t exclude you or others but always lovingly invites you to come to him.  And don’t you think it’s peculiar that there is so much evidence for his life, death, and even resurrection?  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then it’s time to investigate.

Find your Life

Seek to find your life in God.  Many of us say we believe in God, Christianity and so on, but we don’t have much of an actual relationship with God.  When you begin to truly experience his love, that will begin to transform you into an increasingly loving person, the person you know you were made to be.

Life in God isn’t formulaic

Don’t get too hung up on some kind of formula in your relationship with God.  Prayer, and Scripture reading are key, but there is also meditation on Scripture, listening for his voice, solitude, silence and being out in nature.  Eric Liddell, the Scottish Olympian and missionary, used to feel God’s pleasure when he was running.  I feel it when I do jiu-jitsu, when I get to speak, or when I write.  Maybe you feel it when you are engaging in something you were called to do.

Work on yourself before society

Work on yourself before you work on society.  I haven’t always been the best example of this.  But how are we going to change others if we ourselves are not a good example?  We can’t go out there on a crusade to change everything in society unless we are living out a better version of what it is we critique.

Narrow your focus

Narrow your focus.  If you are interested in lots of stuff, being excellent demands that you hone in and focus on a few of those areas.  Personally, I’ve struggled with this.  It takes self-knowledge to figure out what we should focus on.  Every choice to cultivate one thing means not doing other things.  Be willing to make a choice and go for it, even when that closes you off to other possibilities.  Further, God will be with you and use you in any number of areas, not just “religious” vocations.

Trust, don’t freak out

Remember to trust the Lord, especially if you are an anxious person.  God is probably putting you in places that show you clearly that you have less control than you thought.  That’s ok.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your path” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Now to practice what I preach.  Shalom.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

 

 

How Jordan Peterson helped me see that I should clean things

I’ve always been a messy person.  As a child, my military father would make me clean my room and do my homework.  But it never stuck.  I’ve struggled with organization my entire life.  Part of this is my Platonic nature.  I’m often more concerned with ideas than the physical world. At least that’s what I tell myself.  But recently I watched a video that actually changed my life.

In the short clip, Jordan Peterson explains very simply how our brain interprets things as either tools or obstacles.  He explains that for about five minutes.  When we see things out of place, we see obstacles. That does a number on our productivity.  It often makes me feel out of sorts, for example.  Tools, on the other hand, are things that are useful in our work.  Some degree of order is therefore a tool.  After his explanation, the good Dr. explains that this is the reason we should clean up our workspace.  Peterson had already been speaking my language, the language of ideas, science, and abstraction.  But then he connected it firmly to a very concrete thing: my workspace.

I’m not sure exactly how to explain this, but somehow that little bit of  commonsense has dramatically changed the way I function.  I now make my bed every morning, put away clothes after I wear them, clean up the kitchen and living room, and clean up my desk.  I even organize my days now with a tasklist, and I get most of the things done!  Anyone who knows me a smidge can testify that this is out of the ordinary for me.

I have continued my study of Peterson by reading his book, 12 Rules for Life, and even reading some of the books on his reading list.  He has expanded my understanding of this quest for order as a cosmic fight for the good, true, and beautiful.  And all this lines up perfectly with what the Bible says about our creation in the image of God as his stewards on the earth.  We’re here for order, creativity, and conservation of the good.  All of this ordering helps us begin to launch out into areas where we have never been before.  It can help us get a better handle on our very purpose for living.