problem solving

Treating Conditions as Problems

In the winter we all know that the days run a bit shorter on sunshine. It is the way the whole rotation and tilt of the Earth works. It is something we all know is the condition of the planet, something we all learn to live with. We don't try to fix it because we know it is not a problem as it is a condition. 

This is not to say that shorter days in the winter is not something we all enjoy. I like sunshine and I prefer summer to winter largely because of the amount of sun that is available. But I know that winter is not a problem but a condition that we all live with, so I don't try to "fix" it.

There are so many things in our lives that are conditions that we refuse to see as conditions but problems. For instance, I struggle with anger and frustration. It does not take much to get me to "pissed off". I have addressed this in so many ways from counseling to meditation to journaling to breathing while counting to ten. I have tried self medicating with substances like wine and beer, I have tired to punch a pillow. Nothing has worked, I still get angry and I feel guilty that I get so mad.

It was not until I worked with a spiritual mentor that I came to understand that my anger and frustration are not problems that need to be solved, but conditions that I ought to learn to live with. And I can tell you, the more I embrace my anger as a condition rather than a problem the less frequent I experience anger. 

I understand there are real problems in our lives, however we may be too quick to diagnose a condition as a problem. 

What would it look like if you re-diagnosed the problem in your life as a condition that you need to learn to live with? Can you discover the freedom that comes from embracing this condition rather than trying to "solve" it? Can you come to see that the problem may not only be a condition but may also be the very thing you need in order to live a whole life? 

Is religion too focused on solving problems?

In many of the discussions of the nature of the church that I find myself in, there is a stream that views church like a non-profit that has a specific problem to solve. This is noble and a worthy understanding of the nature of the church. The Universal Church may have as much resources and people as any other global organization and we can use these resources to solve some very real problems. 

However, when we look at the world and see only problems then respond to these problems by finding solutions we overlook something about the world:

Not everything is a problem to be solved. Many things are paradoxes to be managed. 

Christianity is a religion built on paradox - last will be first, first will be last; faith as a mustard seed can move mountains, die in order to live, leaders serve, obedience leads to freedom, etc.

Paradox is the mother tongue of the faith, problem solving is our second language.