Updated: Feb 9, 2022
The first of the 'codes' we at Discovery live by, as alluded to in yesterday's post - is to 'Discover Our Story'.
Or, if we have grown too familiar with our current interpretation of our stories - to 'RE-discover' them. To "think again" ... take a fresh look. Now, a code like this demands and bleeds curiosity. It starts in our own backyards. Our closets. Our hearts and minds. This is the deep - and often crusty work, of self-discovery.
Now before you get all weirded out and thinking we are a bunch of navel-gazers, hear me out.
Discovery, if driven by humble yet honest curiosity - is not a lazy or even selfish thing if done properly. It will not allow us to sit on what 'we think we know' about ourselves, but will lead to a deeper knowing and greater growth.
Just like with any archeological discovery, this process will require an 'unearthing' ... a getting down in the dirt, on our knees, and digging up something that both was and is ... buried.
The outcome of discovering our stories works kind of like a Swiss Army knife. It has more than one purpose … it carries multiple outcomes.
One of the first outcomes of curiosity in the process of self-discovery, is an increase in UNDERSTANDING.
An increase in understanding comes from asking ourselves good questions. Not just WHAT happened in our past, but how, and why? And what possible redemptive rhythms could be at work?
When we begin to answer these questions, we can learn to see our life in context and concert with all the forces that have been at work in our stories. This can help us gain a healthier perspectives on ourselves and the people, situations, and circumstances around us that have most influenced our life.
Now here's the thing about understanding - the more of it we find in life, the more empathy we tend to have, whether with others or with ourselves. And THAT'S a good thing.
EMPATHY is a second and very natural outcome of the healthy discovering of one's story.
Empathy, (when married to understanding) ... is what we like to call these days, a "power couple". They tend to be the most attractive qualities paired in the room. The ones irresistible to the masses. They become both the keeper and teller of the most beautiful of stories.
Additionally, empathy can make us a safe place for ourselves and for others, creating deeper and more meaningful relationships moving us out of rigid and judgmental community.
An empathetic posture can aid us in serving as a bridge builder in relationships that are experiencing tension or breakdown, whether with friends, family, or even co-workers.
Dr. Henry Cloud describes empathy as "the ability to enter into another person's experience and connect with it in such a way that you actually experience to some degree what the other person is experiencing".
The interesting thing is, that some people today cannot or will not enter into their own experience deeply enough to know themselves, and in turn, remain soulfully isolated because they haven't mastered the art internally with themselves to be able to practice it externally with others.
It is almost impossible to possess true empathy without curiosity, as curiosity is our key to learning about others and the way the world works. Empathy's natural posture is that of "I can see that" or "I see you". And when applied inside, we begin to truly "see ourselves".
A third, and very powerful progression of curiosity in discovering your own story, is that of PEACE.
We can think of it like this: the marriage of Understanding and Empathy that we just referred to as a Power Couple - when given enough seasoned time together, (and weathering a good winter storm), produce the offspring of Peace.
Peace in this context, has a way of reducing the emotional weight or heaviness we often times encounter as curiosity drives us to deeper questions within. Most people tend to encounter this peace in ongoing progression through many layers and passes at self-discovery.
When we come to peace with our own story, it has a way of bringing peace between ourselves and others.
This peace can keep us settled in turbulent times and circumstances. It can center us when those around us are off center, and with that we naturally become a 'go-to' for those who need peace for themselves.
That same curiosity can lead us to asking increasingly healthy questions as we do life with others, helping lead all toward a life of healthy discovery.
As you may see, this characteristic of curiosity can be a HEALING force in our journey of self-discovery. And that is our fourth outcome.
To borrow the words of Stephen Arterburn, author of Every Man's Battle, healing is a choice, just as beginning the journey of self-discovery is a choice. Healthy curiosity, will naturally lead us to a healing of our own souls.
According to Brené Brown, "Healing requires us to live courageously and allow ourselves to fully experience the feelings of loss and grief". She goes on to say that "to have courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. When grief is part of your story, it needs to be held to be healed."
"When grief is part of your story"... when ISN'T grief part of our stories, yeah?
Who doesn't need healing? This is quite possibly one of the most important outcomes of discovering our stories, because, healing is THE GATEWAY to life and love and everything God designed humanity to enjoy.
Only those who have closed themselves off to curiosity would say they don't need healing, because they have stopped the process of looking 'deeply' inside.
To lean into history for a moment, the famed philosopher Socrates most commonly referenced quote states "The unexamined life is not worth living". We could take that one step further to say, the unexamined life IS a life NOT LIVED.
A fifth (and final in this post) outcome of keeping a curious mind, is PLAY.
Really??? Play?? Yeah, PLAY. The great rabbi, teacher, philosopher, (and savior of mankind), Jesus Christ, stated, "unless you (possess) the faith of a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven." What is the one thing children do best? They PLAY. In the movie Hook with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman, Peter Banning (Robin Williams), had so lost the plot of his own story, that he could no longer recognize himself. He had lost his ’inner child’, and the playful spirit of curiosity that kept his true identity 'alive'. It was that childlike 'faith' - that "play", that was the key to his own story.
Most of us have completely lost touch with the child within us, allowing it to get buried under within the noise of our 'social' lives, or under 'the tyranny of the urgent' that simply eking out a living brings down on us. We have had our childlike faith disemboweled by 'the Hook' of our enemy ... the one that came to steal, kill and destroy.
According to Jesus, without our keeping alive within us a "child's faith" or "child's play", we lose our 'fast-pass' to the kingdom, and can find ourselves out on the hot asphalt of hell's parking lot, standing around in the sweltering heat, waiting for someone to grant entrance, or at minimum, relief.
So - are you still wondering how curiosity plays into a life of discovery - a life of faith? If so, watch for our next blog post in this "Stay Curious" series, dropping Monday. Until then...well, "stay curious".