New Year, New Giants

New Year, New Giants

In the final few months of 2016 Rachel and I were reflecting a lot on David’s experience of facing giant(s) in 1 Samuel 17, both with leaders in South Africa and as we have updated our partners in the UK and shared our thoughts about establishing an affordable, excellent, integrated and multi-sensory school.

Dealing with doubters and expectations

Before David overcomes Goliath, a physical giant, he had to first choose whether to dwell on, deal with, or simply let go of, the expectations of
his family, leader and enemy. David’s actions demonstrate that he trusts God to take care of his survival; security; his sense of belonging and being loved; power, control and respect (Maslow’s self-esteem); his freedom and / or fun (self-actualization).

Scientists call these five categories of needs and wants ‘choice theory’ (Glassier 1998), since what we think about them will drive us to act or not. What Rachel and I have been asking ourselves, and people we’ve met recently, is whether the things we hold on to that prevent us fulfilling what we think God might be revealing are based on actual facts? Is it possible that some of what we think are worthwhile reasons not to act, are merely assumptions or just possible-facts? Although something is capable of occurring, feasible, hypothetical, probable or even likely, it isn’t true until it proves to be true. When we become more aware of, and consent to, God’s presence in our lives, we also have to choose whether we allow our thoughts to become barriers or channels to the Spirit’s activity.

As our son prepares himself for the possibility of studying Philosophy at University in 2018, I’ve been trying to keep up with future father-son conversations by reading titles from his suggested reading list. In Some Difficulties in Knowing, I think Hampshire (1969:26-47) offers three insightful challenges to knowledge:

1. What if “What you claim to be true is not true” – a simple rebuttal, that needs no explanation, really.

2. “How do you know?” – here Hampshire is concerned with the source and method of obtaining our ‘alleged’ knowledge, i.e. “What you say may be true – but you cannot now possibly know that it is,” unless a reliable source and method has been used.

3. “Are you sure?” – you’ve guessed it, we’re not the most reliable source or method. We’re only human after all! We forget, jump to conclusions, make mistakes, misread situations, overlook things, etc.

If only you knew….

Think of some of the obstacles that tend to stop you overcoming your giant(s) – what if you knew that the opposite of what you feared was actually true, what would you do differently this year than previously?

Whenever we question our thoughts on survival, security, belonging, love, power, self respect, worth, and so on, it might help to think of David. We all need to learn how to let go and know the truth that God has got our backs, to rely on what God has placed in our hands and expect giant(s) to fall in 2017.

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