And give me something to believe inPoison, Something to Believe In
If there’s a Lord above
And give me something to believe in
Oh, Lord arise
Like most organizations, ours has a Powerpoint presentation that we use to introduce our company and its products/services to potential partners and clients. A few years ago, I created a slide for this “deck” entitled “We Believe.” Over many years of telling our story, I realized that the most fruitful conversations evolved from a shared perspective on our industry’s problems and opportunities. The “We Believe” slide introduced our worldview and set the stage for a common understanding. From there, we could start to explore compatibility.
Acknowledged or unacknowledged, we are surrounded by “worldviews”: the frames of reference we all use to see the world around us. At the macro level, we have Judeo-Christian views, Eastern-Western modes of thought, political parties, and philosophies. At the micro level, we have frames of reference around diet, exercise, etiquette, and the norms of our working societies. These lenses color our view of everything around us, shaping our opinions, anticipations, and reactions to all we encounter.
We don’t typically post them on a slide, but these worldviews form the “We Believe” slide of our own lives.
Walking into any encounter or simply responding to what happens around us, our beliefs form our center. Not only do these beliefs drive our reactions to the events of the world, how we live them in our own choices dictates much of our own joy and fulfillment. When we live a life integrated with our beliefs, we tend to see and feel purpose. When we stray from our center, we begin to see our life dis-integrate, moving from order to disorder – from cosmos to chaos. In general, life seems to ebb and flow between times of cosmos and chaos as we navigate things that happen, and our own choices in and around them.
In a curiously consistent bit of “spiritual physics,” the further we move from our center, the more likely we are to find ourselves in a time of chaos; the disorder that seems to follow us when we become distracted by the world’s mirages obfuscating priorities that reflect our beliefs. Our center must hold, or we risk losing ourselves amid the raging rivers of life.
What pulls us from our center? Just look at all of the shiny objects of our world. The glittering products or services that promise to satisfy our desires or solve our problems. Looking around, we see the toys, substances, pleasures, and comforts that gratify for the moment, only to disappear as the euphoric wave crashes down as quickly as it appeared – frequently leaving a bigger hole than the first one they momentarily filled.
Moving further from that center, we struggle to recognize the mirages, the imposters masquerading as joy and fulfillment in their promise to satisfy. We see this across the full expanse of human experience, within our working and personal worlds, inside our homes, organizations, and institutions. When we can’t hold the center, disorder follows.
What do you believe in? What is your center? Your family? Your faith? Your career? Your stuff? From where do you derive purpose?
Without a strong, unifying center, all the rest becomes wandering distraction. Without belief in something more, something bigger, something beyond ourselves, we are left with the smallness of our own gratifications. In that emptiness, we place the idols of our lives and bow down to them, hoping they fill the gaping holes.
Meanwhile, we continue to read about the massive mental health problem in the United States. Anxiety. Fear. Doubt. The uncertainties of life, and its myriad hardships, are weighing on us. How do we cope? How do we manage? What’s the answer? Some turn to medications. Some turn to therapy. Some turn to religion. Some turn to self-destruction.
Where do you turn? When the weight is sitting heavy upon your shoulders, what do you put in the center to help hold it up?
We all need something to believe in. We all need hope for a better time or place in our future. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Mother Teresa wrote:
“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”
A poverty of loneliness? A poverty of spirituality? We have all of the wealth, luxury, amenities, programs, and technology imaginable to make life fulfilling and joyful, and yet, a nun serving some of the most poverty stricken communities in the world saw an entirely different form of poverty amid our glittering cities. Where is our center? What do we believe in?
Many of you reading this today may be clear on what you believe in. You may know what is most important. How are you holding your center? Do you see, and feel, purpose from it? Are there shiny objects distracting you from your center? Are you living the beliefs that form your foundation, or is the chaos of our noisy world tripping you up? Dis-integration occurs when our behaviors don’t align with our beliefs. Fear and doubt follow chaos. Anxiety appears when our desire for control meets the reality that we’re not in control.
Just last night, I found myself in a conversation on belief and purpose. Walking into such a discussion, the noise quickly emerges. The failings of men and institutions, the corruption of the greedy, the lying and the cheating, the neglect of the broken and undeserving, and the glint of all that glitters. All standing in the way. All distracting from the center. Remove the noise and see the center. Focus on the one thing, and everything else falls into place.
We all hunger for purpose. We all want direction. We all hope for more, and long to live a meaningful life. We all need something to believe in. Find the center. Find the one thing. Believe.
Photo Credit: Jessica Bishop, Just Jess Photography
Another “Homerun” Phillip. And, we are also blessed with a beautiful Day.