The Things We Think We Know
I have a thing for long drives down the coast. It clears my head, helps me put things into the right perspective and honestly just makes me happy. There’s something about a solo getaway that steadies me in the midst of chaos. I’ll drive a couple hours from LA to San Diego, music blaring, singing at the top of lungs, and laughing at myself the entire way. Zero inhibitions and free from any care in the world.
So I got up the other day and drove a couple hours south until I felt like I hit a good stopping point. I parked and hopped out at a SoCal pacific ocean overlook called Inspiration Point. “Sounds about right..” I thought. After hours of traffic and repeats of Never Knew by The Rocket Summer (you'll want to listen if you haven't before), I stood in silence and awe at how big the world is & how little the Kaycee is.
I took a few breaths there and then noticed a jetty out in the distance. You know, the big formations of huge rocks that literally “jet” out into the ocean and stretch like a bridge to the middle of the waters. Well, I LOVE those suckers. So I made my way down to the shore and walked onto the jetty. I found a good spot with minimal bird poops and as I sat there for quite a while, I realized this is probably my favorite place to be. Ever. There’s something about sitting on a rock in the middle of some gnarly waves that makes me feel at home.
I didn’t always feel that way though, so let’s rewind for a moment back to childhood. I hated the ocean. Influenced by fear, I'd tell myself what I believed was true about it,"it's big and scary. DO NOT GO IN. Sharks." I believed if I hopped in there, those massive waves would send me tumbling into the undertow and who knows if I would’ve made it out. I believed in the strength of the ocean, and gave little credit to the strength of the Kaycee. So no thank you. You waters can stay over there, and I Kaycee, will stay over here. Deal.
As a kid, I took what I “knew to be true” about the ocean as “all that was true” about the ocean. Then I let those “truths” affect every interaction I had with it. I presumed that the ocean was dangerous so I made sure it stayed over there and I stayed over here - that was comfortable for me and that’s how it was going to be. I also took what I knew to be true about myself (primarily my weaknesses) as all that was true about me. I was little and weak, so I stood no chance against some powerful waves. That was my truth and I held to it. Now as I got older, friends would lead me into the ocean and help me build up some courage and realize I was strong enough to handle going a little deeper into the water. I totally survived, but it was definitely at the expense of my comfort. As I got uncomfortable and relatively vulnerable, I learned new things about me and relearned some things about the oceans: “it's definitely big and scary, but can be fun and manageable up to your waist. DO NOT GO DEEPER. Sharks.” With the help of people I trust, what I knew to be true was changing, and it changed me too.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
These days I get increasingly more comfortable with the ocean. I’ve gone in up to my shoulders, been on some boats, and even shredded some gnarlies on a surfboard. The more I open myself up to learn and experience, the more comfortable I get and the more joy I have. Of course, however, with the wisdom of growing up, I am no longer so presumptuous as to assume that everything I know to be true about the ocean is all that is true about the ocean. I also know that 70% of the Earth is covered in water and 95% of that is completely unexplored. Similarly, I no longer assume that what I know to be true about myself is all that is true about myself. I am surprised at how much I have yet to learn about my own heart. I could tell you all my weaknesses, but I easily forget many of my strengths. And sometimes it causes me to have to relearn what those are every single day. So as I sat on the rocks the other day, I stared at the waters and couldn’t help but think - how big the world is, and how complex the little Kaycee is.
The other day I relearned another thing about the ocean. I’ve always seen the waves rise up and crash over pretty strong, but today they were slow, small, and still. These waters were so still it kind of felt weird and unusual. It wasn’t what I was used to, but it taught me something new and changed my definition yet again: “Definitely big and can be scary, but also can be fun and some days, really quiet, peaceful, and barely moves much. BE CAREFUL. Still sharks.” Seeing the ocean unusually peaceful the other day somehow made me want to jump off the rocks and plunge head first into the water. The impulsive inclination made me remember, whatever truth I choose to believe will directly impact the way I interact with the subject.
It’s kind of a silly example, but my point for sharing this whole story is that I’ve realized that sometimes with somethings and especially some people - we need to relearn. We need to set aside the things we think we already know to be true in order to uncover what is actually true. Nearly every move we make is based on things we think we know - how tragic would it be if we found out we were so far from the real truth. Heaven forbid us from clinging so tightly to our own judgements and preconceived notions that we fail to ever fully see the truth in a situation, a place, and most importantly… a person.
Without a willingness to relearn - we will find ourselves taking a truth we learned once and applying it to everything that even slightly resembles the instance in which we learned it.
Take another example: God. The scriptures tell us that God is our father. That sounds good, but what if your father left? What if your father was abusive, detached, nonexistent, harsh and critical, or loved your achievements more than you. What happens is we unknowingly and incorrectly attribute fatherly characteristics we have learned in this world to our father in heaven. Which then results in us interacting with our heavenly father the ways we do our earthly fathers. If my earthly father claims to love me, but refuses to care for my needs then won’t God’s love also require me to figure everything out on my own? Nope. If my earthly father only validated me for my achievements, then won’t I have to do something to receive God’s love? Not really. See what I’m getting at? Scripture also tells us that Jesus loves the church like his bride. Sounds sweet, but when we see 50% of all marriages ending in divorce that love doesn’t seem so great anymore. Because of what we learned from the world - we start to think Jesus would leave us like our spouse did or divorce us like we saw our parents do. Definitely not. These are examples of areas where reflecting and relearning needs to happen in order to see clearer.
So how do we know whats true? There is only one thing that can be your compass and roadmap of truth in this life: God’s word. Why? Well, he created the world, he knows everything in it, and he is in control of everything in it. So then what is God’s word? - simply put, its the Bible. There are other ways God speaks, but it may take a little more effort and conversation with him to identify when he speaks that way. Knowing and trusting the words of the creator is the greatest (and honestly only) way to know the actual truth of creation. Including the truth of you.
Remember, whatever we “know to be true” determines how we interact with the subject. Think about how you interact with yourself and that’ll give you hints to what you really believe about yourself. Then think about how you interact with God and that might give you a little insight on you what you really believe about him. You don't like to pray much? Maybe you're believing there isn't much power in talking with God or that he even hears you. Don't feel much joy? Maybe you're believing there isn't fullness of joy in his presence. Maybe what you're believing as"your truth" isn’t actually true. Maybe by living "your truth” you’re actually doing yourself a disservice and limiting yourself from the truth that sets you free.
So - What do you need to relearn about yourself? And what do you need to relearn about God? Where have your experiences stopped you, limited you or scared you away from exploring more. What is the “truth” you’ve believed about yourself and the truth you’ve believed about God? Is it actually even true? Are you taking what you “know to be true” about yourself or God as “all that is true”.
If you need a little help reflecting -
I’ve written down some things that are true. I can confidently and assuredly say they are true because they come from God’s word. No one knows you and all of creation like the creator. You trust the Apple manufacturer to answer your questions about your iPhone - so why wouldn’t you trust the creator of the world to answer your questions about things in the world. Read these truths - and if you don’t agree with them ask yourself why not. What has happened in your life that gave you a different “truth” than these. Go slow, take your time reflecting, and ask yourself if you’d rather hang onto the truth your clinging to or grab a hold of these truths that your creator declares over you.
Relearning something or someone will make you vulnerable. It will require you to abandon the
comfort of your own pride and understanding in order to gain truth. But this - this is the truth that will set you free. It’s just a matter of how uncomfortable are you willing to get to be free.
Relearn & Reflect - rest assured these truths are true & you can count on it
You are his child and he is your father - unlike anything known by this world. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him” 1 John 3:1
Because you are his child, you have received and take part in all that belongs to God. “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:17
You are the friend of God. “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)
You are fully known. “I know the number of hairs on your head" and "before a word is on your tongue I know it” (Matthew 10:30; Psalm 139:4).
You are worthy of the highest sacrifice. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).
You are free from sin, death, and condemnation. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
You are protected and secured. “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:29)
You have a family. “But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21).
You are being guided by the voice of God. "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13)
You will see an end to all pain. “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwelll with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed.” (Revelation 21:3-4).
You bring light to the world. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14).
You are victorious. "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
You are uniquely gifted, unlike any other. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10)