A post from a ministry partner: “I had a dream that may involve you and your world: something is not right.”
Of course! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! I’ve been using lag screws and an impact wrench and still nothing feels secure or stable. Any instructions beyond, ‘ice it?’
When instability is everywhere around us, where shall our mental stability come from?
I don’t know the difference between worldview and mindset. Maybe it is macro and micro or one informs the other. Over several weeks I’ve been wondering what pillars we need upon which mindsets can be built.
Carol S. Dweck whose research on mindsets reignited interest in the power of mindsets, says “…the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you live your life.” Your mindsets and worldviews will determine what you anticipate, expect, seek and reject.
She teaches that there are two kinds of mindsets.
- Fixed Mindset. This mindset assumes we enter the world with all the skills we will ever have.
“Believing that your qualities are carved in stone—the fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you only have a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character—well, then you better prove that you have a healthy dose of them.” Mindset, Carol S. Dweck, (Ballantine Books, 2016), Page 6
- Growth Mindset. Mindsets are similar to worldviews: what we believe determines outcomes. If you believe that God does not work miracles, you will not recognize one even if it arrives at your front door via Fed Ex. If you check “Mindsets” at Amazon, you’ll find most titles include the word Reset. Ms. Dweck’s research shows mindsets can be changed.
“The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others. Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents, aptitudes, interests, or temperaments—everyone can change and grow through application and experience. …it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.” (Mindsets, Page 7)
A mindset is what we habitually look to for our assumed thought pattern or action to take when confronted with instability, lack of clarity, or shortages—or abundance. A mindset determines our life-energy commitments and what we need to learn to prepare us for our goals, callings, visions.
“Take your son, your only son—yes Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:2).
I don’t remember the town or church. I do remember the single mother who told me after the event that she was ready to take her young son and leave when I announced I was going to talk about Patriarch Abraham’s fatherhood vision and practice. She was geared to run if I started talking about God testing Abraham’s faith. She didn’t want her son to hear the story and jump to any conclusions.
And Abraham set out to do just that! Not exactly the model and design for parenting. Except what Abraham said to his son, Isaac sets the tone for healthy thought and “mulling” things over.
I was directed to Watchman Nee’s Changed Into His Likeness. The pages are falling apart, but Nee speaks to me as he talks about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I am sometimes attracted to Ishmael rather than Isaac. While Ishmael was an adventurer, Isaac appears to be placid, acquiescent, passive. And in that life approach he seldom asked questions or questioned anyone or anything.
“The only question Isaac asked was, ‘Where is the lamb?” The answer is full of meaning: ‘God will provide himself the lamb.’ That is the life of Isaac. We ask, and the answer is always the same: ‘God himself will provide.’” (Nee)
God will provide!
Diesel? Peanut Butter? Direction? Stability? Heat? Essential groceries? Pepsi?
“And Abraham picked up the knife…At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven… ‘Don’t lay a hand on the boy!’ Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by his horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means the Lord will provide) (Geneses 22:10-14).
“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2b)
Knowing that mindsets and worldviews either determine or reflect depression, anxiety, burnout, and a list of defeats or errors, I am increasingly thinking that Abraham’s answer is the essential word of faith: God will provide!
Abraham was not passive about anything. Isaac was not neglectful, but he was passive. So, how does this providing work? Is God a partner or patron?
Have you ever wondered what Abraham did first after hearing instruction from the angel? Did he cut Isaac loose first, or did he get the animal? God provided the lamb, but Abraham (with Isaac’s help?) got the ram out of the thicket and prepared it for sacrifice and then wielded the knife.
Are you hearing Holy Spirit suggesting something? What change in your thinking is required to change automatic response to stimuli or what added knowledge will you need? There is the ram (Provision) caught in the thicket which will remain there unless we move it to an altar. That altar will look like study, classroom, talking to people who know. It may have worked for Isaac to not ask questions, but it will not work for us. The more questions you ask (of the right sources) the larger the provision path grows.
Most people do not examine or question their worldviews. Mindsets can be changed. Think how changing a mindset will impact other thinking patterns. A mindset or a load-bearing pillar that is trending in my soul is “God Will Provide.”
We worked in a Nebraska church for a couple of one-niters and a weekend event. The weekend was scheduled during a difficult farm growing season. The scuttlebutt in that small town was about a Pentecostal farmer who had placed a bushel of corn in the corn bin as a faith offering. Church people who did not understand “faith offerings” ran the gamut from making fun to charging the farmer with magic practices and belonging to a cult.
Anytime a Jesus follower chooses to stretch the acceptable norm, we risk being misunderstood, or worse. God will provide, as an approach to life has to be defined. So here is how I define “God will provide”:
- Direct deposit, which would include things like a ram caught in a thicket.
- Insight/eyes opened to a provision that has been available, but just not seen.
- Opportunity: A door opens.
- Meeting or interaction with someone who makes an observation or suggestion or affirmation that leads to resources.
- Instruction to search something out, or read a specific book or article, perhaps listen to a podcast or program which trips the switch. Holy Spirit may nudge us to talk to someone or to ask a specific question.
All these things, and more, can be the action of God in provision. Provision is about outcome. Watchman Nee makes a couple curious comments:
“…That is the life of Isaac. We ask, and the answer is always the same: ‘God himself will provide.’ Everything that is demanded, God Himself gives: that is the experience of Isaac. In Abraham God sets up the standard; in Isaac, He shows us His storehouse.” (Changed into His Likeness, Watchman Nee ©1967 Christian Literature Crusade page 75. Now published in Collections—The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, ©1993, Living Stream Ministries).
A neighbor brought us fresh cookies she had baked. Talk about provision! She texted us to tell us about cookies and that the doorbell didn’t work. She had to be wrong about that—the doorbell is relatively new. I removed it and changed electric outlets. Nothing helped. Then I saw the “mute” button. Other than at Halloween, when would we need to mute a doorbell? Muting a doorbell contradicts the whole purpose. I turned off the mute button and it now rings loud enough for the neighbor to hear. Let the cookies come forth!
Speaking “God will provide” is not a magic formula. Making it a primary mindset turns on “the eyes of my heart,” “the ears of my heart,” and Kingdom energy—creativity. Such a positive mindset is your faith-statement of how you see God, and how you believe He functions as Father. How He does it is not my concern. If there is no thicket near-by, God is not stymied.
Turning the Mute Button off
©2022 D. Dean Benton, Wonderer & Meanderer