Why do we try to
limit the limitless,
explain the unexplainable,
contain the uncontainable
by putting God in a box?
Maybe that’s me
* * *
“Our thinking is who we think we are. . . . But we are so much more than our thoughts about things.”
There is a freedom in realizing that God is more than our thoughts about him.
There is a freedom in realizing that we are more than our thoughts about God and that even faith is more than our thoughts about God.
Many of us define ourselves by what we believe or what we think about various things, whether it is about God, the Bible, politics, or what one is supposed to wear.
Some of us grow into thinking that our beliefs–statements we hold to be true–are the most important part of who we are. I’m not saying that beliefs are unimportant or that every belief is right. But there is a danger in defining our deepest self by what we think about things.
Sometimes we discover new evidence. Sometimes we see things we didn’t see before. When defining beliefs start to shift or crack, we lose a sense of our identity. Then it becomes easy and natural to define ourselves by what we no longer believe. We define ourselves by the Questions (which can turn into just a different set of beliefs.) We join groups based on our Beliefs or Questions. We choose friends based on our Beliefs or Questions.
When Beliefs or Questions define who we are, an attack on or challenge to or even a question about those Beliefs or Questions feels like an attack on the essence of who we are. Maybe that is why the arguments get so heated, so loud, so violent. People are defending what they believe to be their essence. I don’t think God needs to be defended like that.
I’ve felt this anxiety on both sides–the belief side and the question side. But I am learning that my set of beliefs don’t define me. My Questions don’t define me. They are not who I am.
They don’t even define my faith anymore. My experience of God is not tied to or limited by my set of beliefs about God or Jesus or the Bible. However, my experience of God and Jesus and the Bible is defining my faith.
The Questions invited me to release my tightly-held grasp on my set of beliefs. Eventually, I needed to also let go of the Questions and the pressing need for Answers. I finally felt permission to say, “I don’t know” about a lot of things. Saying “I don’t know” is okay. It might even be a first step toward humility, and humble is a good way to be when you are walking after God.
© J.L. Sanborn, 2015. All Rights Reserved.
 Richard Rohr, Silent Compassion, p. 5.