Unlearning, Part 1

Sometimes the imperfections in me, in others, in our world come roaring into my reality. This week was one of those times. From scenes in my own living room to scenes on the streets of Chicago and Dallas. 

I see parts of life in 2016 that God and I still need to work on together.

And that’s good. Because now I know more areas where the enemy wants to take control. And I know where the spiritual battle for my soul and our world is the strongest.

To cooperate with God and banish the enemy from his strongholds, I know I have some unlearning to do. I think our world needs to do some unlearning, too.

There are many more colors besides black and white in God's creation. Give yourself permission to celebrate diversity and understand differences. Photo by LarryDavisPhotography.com

There are many more colors besides black and white in God's creation. Give yourself permission to celebrate diversity and understand differences.

Photo by LarryDavisPhotography.com

Unlearning color. As a child growing up in an all-white culture in the 1960s, I learned a lot about differences. 

As a woman who is part of a multi-cultural church family in a racially volatile city, I’m learning a lot about similarities. Working and worshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ from Kenya, France, Mississippi, China, and so many other places. I’m thankful to have glimpses of what the community of heaven will be like. When ALL believers are gathered together around God’s throne to worship and praise him. Together.

Unlearning isolation. Withdrawing into self and creating my own reality and my own rules is much easier than I’d like to admit. 

Our God is a God of community. He calls me to cooperate and work together with others to accomplish his purposes. He calls us to be unified in purpose while combining our variety as the body of Christ. 

Sure, the world can be uncertain and even overwhelming at times. Jesus has already overcome the world. When I focus on him as the way, the truth, and the life, God restores his order.

Sure, people can be difficult to understand and accept at times. But God created us as unique and different creatures. Our job is to love one another with the love of Jesus.

Unlearning fear. It’s easy to be afraid of anything or anyone that’s different from me. Or of situations I don’t understand. 

Growing up in a pretty predictable life in a small coal mining town, I learned very little about how to overcome differences. I learned to reject those who were different and cluster with those who were like me. 

But God opened my eyes and heart to help me embrace all of his children. When I lived in a college dorm with a large group of people who were very different from me. When I traveled to Senegal and experienced a culture very different from the U.S. When I studied the Bible together with women from different countries and family backgrounds. When I helped a Cambodian family settle in the U.S. When I welcomed a woman from Africa into my home. 

I learned that the excitement of meeting new people and learning about their perspectives of life banishes my fear. I know that’s a gift from God. And it’s a gift he wants to give all of us.

Is there anything you need to unlearn in order to counteract the work of the enemy in your life? Ask God to show you, and he will. Be patient in the process. Not to sound trite, but his rewards of peace, harmony, and love are worth your best effort. And those are gifts we can share with our world.