Unpacking Our Narrative
I am a “Crossfitter.” Crossfit is a form of exercise that blends cardio, weightlifting, and gymnastics into the workouts. Following one of our classes, a coach approached me about my form. She informed me that the technique I used to lift the barbell was incorrect. If I made a minor adjustment to my form, I could lift more weight with less effort.
Her instructions made sense, and I agreed to work on my form, but there was one problem. I had lifted the wrong way for over five years, so the incorrect method was embedded in my muscle memory. I would have to go through the challenging process of deconstructing what I had learned to rebuild my technique the right way. I’ve learned that many of us have to go through the exact same process when it comes to our personal narratives.
Christie Neuger says “Deconstructing is the process of investigating and unpacking ideas that have been taken for granted as truths.”(1) In essence, it brings to awareness the gaps in our way of thinking so they can be challenged and eventually replaced with thoughts that are in line with God’s word. Note that I used the word replace. Removing old thoughts without replacing them with Godly ones is a setup for failure. Jesus emphasized the importance of this during a conversation with his disciples:
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24–26 NIV).
When first reading this passage, it struck me as peculiar, maybe even disheartening. But let’s take a closer look at what the passage is trying to tell us. As we begin to interrupt old ways of thinking and tear down strongholds present in our lives, do you think that the devil and his minions will be happy about that? Absolutely Not!
They are coming for you, my friend, because they know that once your mind is renewed and you begin to operate in the power that belongs to you as a believer, there is no stopping you.
That’s why our goal does not end with simply cleaning out the old, but we must replace the old with something that can withstand any test, the Word of God. We can begin this process by asking ourselves the right questions. Christine Neuger, in her book Counseling Women, suggest the following:
What is at stake if I don’t change?
How do I imagine God seeing me?
How do I experience God’s grace in my life?
These, amongst other questions, are designed to explore what is hidden in the crevices of our soul so that we can begin to identify and deconstruct the beliefs, values, and thoughts that are hindrances to our walk with God. Initially, this process will be uncomfortable, and in some cases painful. But, as we begin to tear down our old narrative, we will discover our ability to design a new one that is open to a new world of possibilities.
If you enjoyed this devotional and want to learn more, join us for our teaching series on Wednesday nights and download the free workbook HERE.
(Excerpt from the “Beyond the Mask” book, by Jocelyn J. Jones. Pre Orders will be available for the book in Fall 2021).
(1) Neuger, Christie Cozad. Counseling Women. A Narrative, Pastoral Approach. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001 p. 90.