What I no Longer Believe
Not long ago Ramit Sethi posed an interesting question. The question can be used as an icebreaker. It can be used to learn more about people with whom you interact. And it can be used as a way to look inside yourself and learn more about who you are. The blog post was pretty short, and simply asked, “What do you no longer believe?” I took a few minutes, and came up with three things that once shaped who I was, and now I have a totally different worldview.
Naturally these viewpoints might change again throughout the course of life. But these worldviews shaped who I was, and who I turned into. As you read, think about what you no longer believe and why.
Raised Christian Conservative
I was raised in a conservative Christian household. What I no longer believe has nothing to do with the Christian faith, that’s still a very important part of my life. What has changed, however, is what the Christian life looks like.
Long Hair – Growing up it was considered sinful to have long hair. I’m not sure where the idea came from, nor why some would consider it to be disrespectful or a sin to have long hair. I distinctly remember that shortly after we moved back to Montana, we started to attend Emmanuel Baptist Church. There was a guy that had long hair (right about shoulder length). When I saw him I wondered why he was in church with hair like that.
As I grew older I realized that God doesn’t care about the length of your hair. Nor does he care about your hairstyle. During college, I had longish hair, at one point it was dreadlocked, at another it was shaved almost bald. What didn’t change was my commitment to Christ.
Tattoos – Similar to the idea that it’s sinful to have long hair, I grew up with the notion that having tattoos was sinful. I remember, about the same time as the long haired guy in church, there was an older gentleman that had tattoos on his arms. When I asked my parents about it, they said that perhaps he had them done before he was saved.
Today I still don’t have any tattoos (mostly for financial reasons). But God doesn’t care if you have tattoos on your body (the subject matter of the tattoos is entirely different). How you love Him and others is what He does care about.
Smoking and Drinking – Throughout my childhood it was engrained in me that smoking and drinking were bad and sinful. I remember asking my parents why people would drink beer if it tastes so gross, and they replied that it’s because they just want to get drunk. Smoking cigarettes was another big no-no. You can’t be a good Christian if you smoke.
Now, I love beer. I love the chemistry, the complexity, and the brewing process. I still believe that drinking for the sole purpose of getting drunk isn’t honoring to God though. The same with smoking, a good cigar or pipe were quite fun (although after college that dropped off quickly, especially after getting married). Now I believe that these are acceptable in moderation. Addiction is another thing all together.
Growing up I was taught one thing. But as I studied the Bible on my own, I realized there isn’t anything that says your appearance is sinful (or sanctimonious). What matters is the condition of your heart, how you love God, and how you love other people. If appearance did matter, then modern Americans would be in a lot of trouble since we look nothing like first century Jews.
Education is Boring and No Fun
When I was young, school was fun. I got to learn, I got to play, I got to experience life away from the house. But come middle school and high school, I hated it. I hated school, I hated going, and I hated studying. It was boring, and no fun.
During college it was about half and half. Some of it wasn’t much fun (those general studies classes that I didn’t really care about were tedious). But the subject matter that I had chosen for my major or minor, those were great classes. It didn’t make it easier, but it was no longer boring and no fun.
Today, I don’t believe any education is boring and no fun. Today, education and learning new things is great. And part of the education and part of the fun is the adventure of it all. Part of the excitement is the fact that it’s hard, that it’s outside of our comfort zone, and that fear that we may not do well on the test.
Looking Forward to Tomorrow
Similar to the education belief is the idea of looking forward to things. I spent way too much time looking forward to what was going to happen tomorrow. Looking forward to that vacation, to getting done with work, to the weekend, to what’s coming next. I believe that looking forward and being excited for the next grand adventure was what helped us get through the chopping wood and carrying water of today. This mindset actually persisted until a few years ago when my son was born.
After Holden was born, Jessica went back to teaching after maternity leave, and I dropped to 15 hours per week at the office and freelanced on the side (a year later I branched off on my own completely). The vast majority of my time was spent taking care of our new little boy. I didn’t like the office life, so it was a big relief to be mostly done with it. What I didn’t expect was the change in belief system and mindset that followed.
Time slowed way down. Each day was a new adventure. A new day to invest into the life of a small person. A new time to teach him new things, to show him new things, and to experience things that I take for granted all over again. What ended up happening was I fell in love with the journey, instead of just seeking the goal.
Today, I have slipped a little back into the looking forward to mindset. But I can keep reminding myself that it’s all about the journey. When you’re looking forward to each aspect of the day, not just the end or the big adventures, life is more fun, it’s more exciting, and there are far fewer disappointments along the way.
What do You No Longer Believe; how is your Worldview Different?
The ways we act and interact are shaped around what we believe. Who you were 10 years ago was a totally different you than who you are now because your beliefs have changed.
What did you believe then, that you don’t believe now? How has this reshaped your worldview?