Another difference in self-help and spiritual formation

The self help industry is a huge monster of a thing that is a weird mix of accurate and pseudo versions of different disciplines. One of those disciplines that is in the mixture of self help is the discipline of spirituality. 

I would like to point out Christian spiritual formation is different from many expressions of self help. This is not to say that the self help world is wrong or inaccurate in the many claims made. Rather, it is more of a philosophical difference that I would like to bring to the surface. For instance, the difference Christianity and self help has with cracks and imperfections. Still others have written on how each Christianity and self help understand happiness differently.

Another difference that in Christianity and self help is how each of these philosophies understand vision.

The self help world understands vision like much of the academic world I encountered, which says something like this: Everyone sees the world through a set of lenses. You were born with a set of lenses that you see the world through and as we grew our lenses changed some but we still had these lenses on our eyes that colored the world as we experienced it. Thus the goal of education and self help is to teach us to examine these lenses so that we might see how it is our vision is different from others who see the exact same world.

Now this is not an inaccurate metaphor for how we see the world. However, what makes Christian spirituality different is that we do not think that we have lenses, but in fact that we are blind and cannot see. This is why the spiritual life is one that embraces humility, because we cannot see. Paul said that we see through dark glass, but he only said this after he was literally blinded. It is only when we come to the reality that we cannot see that we then can take the steps to admit that all the lenses we wear are dark at best. 

Yes we have lenses we see the world through and it is important to examine those lenses. However, the first step in Christian formation is to have our eyes opened, then we can clean the lenses.