I have come to realize God meets people where they are.
When I was growing up, the concept of “finding yourself” was a popular idea. I thought I needed to go out into the world to find myself, and that’s what I did. I launched myself on that journey, even before I left high school.
I remember the old adage that the wind can’t carry a ship that is at anchor, or a ship at anchor can’t be steered (or something like that). That became a guiding principal, and I have given that guidance to my children. You have to get up and move, even if you don’t know precisely where you are going.
I think it’s generally good advice. It has held me in good stead. If we wait around for the perfect opportunity to come our way, it may never come. We even find wisdom along those lines in Proverbs (16:9)(NASB):
The mind of a man plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps.
When I set out to search for truth as a young adult who had squandered his teenage years in reckless drinking, drug use and risky behavior, I thought the truth was “out there”. I just had to search for it and find it.
In more recent generations, the conventional wisdom might run along the line of finding the truth within. Oprah Winfrey and other popular prophets of modern wisdom would say we don’t need to go searching for the truth because the truth is within us.
In my latter days now, as a journeyer who moves a bit slower, I have come to see things slightly differently. Neither paradigm rings true. I think we can find the truth “out there”, and we can find truth “within”, but neither paradigm is completely accurate.
I certainly don’t want to make light of the search! We need to orientate our hearts toward “finding it”. We need to value the truth for its own sake and be willing to let go of anything that runs counter to it – even if we don’t like it, even if the truth doesn’t look all that attractive to us… even if the truth is hard.
At the same time, the truth isn’t necessarily “out there”, and it isn’t “within” either. I am (you are) not the arbiter of truth. “My truth” doesn’t mean anything in the face of reality. We don’t talk about “my scientific truth”, and we shouldn’t talk about “my spiritual truth” – if we are really interested in truth at all.