I received an email today from a young, dynamic college-aged student who has been hard-wired as a restless analysts who is always wondering if there’s not something more to this life, this faith, this world…. Its a beautiful wiring that he is trying to learn to live with and leverage for good.
Here’s what he wrote:
When we talked back in May, at one point I said that I was increasingly growing tired of being a critic and you told me that you had a similar sort of thought earlier in your life. The exact line you used was, “I’ve thrown enough grenades!” Over the course of the summer and the fall I am becoming more and more exhausted of my own critical nature.
Unfortunately after having invested so much of my identity into being a critic it’s hard to try to change my mindset from destruction to construction.
So I wanted to know how the process of putting aside the grenades and learning how to build something, instead of just attacking everything, has looked for you.
Any insight you might have would be appreciated!
Here’s how I interacted with his thoughts:
A couple of thoughts from a recovering Grenade Launcher:
1. Some things (perhaps most things) need to be questioned/deconstructed. It’s likely that God has given you a critical eye for a just reason. It’s in the way that we question/deconstruct that either results in destruction or construction. In my experience, its in the moments of humble curiosity and a true desire to be helpful rather than unconventional that construction results. It is when the end is my identity being reinforced as “unconventional” that things go awry.
To the “unconventional” thought…how much of your identity have you constructed around being the deconstructor / contrarian / grenader? The more infrastructure you have built into this identity, the more work/pain/challenge will be involved in its deconstruction. Do you see the beautiful irony here? Something actually needs to be “grenaded” in your own understanding of you.
2. Become the part of a solution. The challenge in the transition that you long for is that its actually easier to sit as the critical grenade launcher. This is your path of least resistance (that path worn into the wheat field of your existence — Ephesians 4). It’s fun…for a time…until you find yourself alone or exclusively with other grenade launchers. Then, its not fun…its lonely and we become faced with the cost of our “grenading”: relationships. You need to live a new, different, better story. Contribute in the construction of something beautiful. I can say, with authority, that, being created in the image of God, you were designed as a constructive agent of good…a maker-right of wrong things. Perhaps its time to begin living into your truer identity: the Beloved. Perhaps its time to follow Jesus onto paths yet untrod.
3. Neither #1 or #2 are possible outside of the inhabiting of the very Breath of God. Bring the thoughts of this email (yours and mine) to Him. Bring these thoughts to your core community. Let them speak into the deconstruction that God is doing with you. As they do, listen for His voice. Experience His presence within. Ask Him to awaken your imagination, to listen longer than feels comfortable, and for courage to live what you hear.