I asked a friend what he thought about a popular old book. He scoffed and said he wasn’t going to put much weight into something that was written so long ago. It got me thinking. What do we let influence us? Who do we let teach us?
This is a great question! Think about it…
The list of our influences is long. Parents, friends, teachers, media, and culture are some top categories. Some of us, like me, think we’re unique, self-made. We think the books we read, the shows we watch, the music we listen to, is all part of our individual worldview. We’re able to separate the good from the bad and make sound judgments.
While the former clearly has its dangers (e.g., folks have had some tough upbringings), the latter makes me more nervous. It’s easier to break away from things we learned from others versus things we’ve formulated and cemented in our own worldviews.
While this bent toward independent thinking is a powerful cultural influence from a few thinkers who died long ago, that’s not what makes me nervous. Rather, it’s that it sets us up to depend on ourselves. And some of us have some pretty twisted thinking.
We think things like this: I suck. I’m worthless. Nobody likes me. I’m fat. I’m short. I’m stupid. I’ll never be good enough. I can’t do anything right.
What do we do to break this toxic thinking? We look to the experts who teach us to tap into “our” power. To do this, and do that. In other words to fix “ourselves.” But when this fails we feel even worse.
Maybe it’s time to let go a little independence – to give God a chance. Find out who he is for you. There is quite a bit written. Some is fantastic. Some is wrong. The good news is you can simply ask God to help you find the way. He won’t let you down.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson