Choosing Our Reality

At Life in Deep Ellum, we’re in the middle of the season of Advent. This year, the season seems to revolve around the notions of waiting, making space, and patience as we learn to live in the midst of unfulfilled expectations about life and death, health and sickness, grief and joy.

On Sunday, Rachel spoke on “peace.” She proposed the idea that, despite the fact that we often think the opposite, peacefulness, not anxiety, is meant to be the norm. Most of the time, we act as if life is supposed to be chaotic, busy, and full of things that make us anxious. Instead, Scripture seems to indicate that, as Rachel said, “Peace is the norm for a well-ordered life.”

How does one order one’s life towards peace? Scripture also gives us an indication here, though subtly. Rather than giving a direct answer to this, it seems to indicate that there is a spectrum of being on which we all fall when we view and exist the world. On one end, we can view the world as hostile — a place for which its purpose is simply to harm us and keep us from feeling secure. On the other, we can view simply choose to live at peace: peace with ourselves, peace with others, and peace with God.

When we choose to live at peace (and obviously, this takes work through spiritual and concrete practices), that choosing begins to shape our reality. Our choice of living in a state of peace begins to shape not only our interaction with the world and with others, but we begin to experience reality and the world as inherently peaceful, un-hostile.

This coheres with the work I plan to do on my thesis, at least tangentially. If language-use, along with subjective experience within our given communities, directly affects our experience of the world, then we have choices to make about reality (most of the time, without the ability to have any amount of objective certainty that our choices are correct). By choosing a mode of being over the course of time, it is not reality itself that we are changing, but our experience of it. And eventually, perhaps, this does change reality itself.

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