Keeping It Simple: Alignment
Let’s get to it, team!!!
So, you may have been noticing a theme with each day. I don’t mean the idea of “keeping it simple,” but the theme of bringing everything in life into proper focus and placement. Alignment! Turns out getting an alignment isn’t just something we need to do for our car every few thousand miles. It is also something we need to do for ourselves pretty often. And for the same reasons…well, kinda.
The reason cars even need alignments is to make sure the tires are centered and heading in a straight path; not pulling to the left or the right. Now, I know there is much more to this process, but I’m a writer and that was enough for my illustration (but feel free to read more about the car alignment world here).
Occasionally, we find ourselves pulling a little bit more to the left or the right than we originally intended. We notice our words change, our behavior gets weird, and our general mood is a bit funky. And just so we know, by the time we notice these shifts in ourselves, those closest to us have noticed awhile ago. Much like driving our same car each day, it’s hard to notice the little things because they’re so gradual and close to us; but they have a large impact.
And when we finally notice these changes, it’s probably because things have become bumpy and uncomfortable. We start to feel discomfort internally since some things aren’t matching up. Those words aren’t fitting what we believe we should be saying, these behaviors aren’t following the life we said we wanted to live, and this mood is entirely not our character. At this point, we have become officially unaligned and are experiencing today’s new term, “cognitive dissonance.”
We know it’s my goal to bring faith and mental well-being a bit closer together (because the two are not that dissimilar) and today is no different. Briefly, cognitive dissonance occurs when our closely held values and beliefs do not reflect in the life we’re living each day (go more in depth here). Plainly stated, we believe one thing, act another way, and our minds (and bodies) have a bit of a freak out because the two do not match.
Being out of alignment, or living in cognitive dissonance, doesn’t happen overnight. The changes happen slowly, inching us further away from our center…until we are so far away we don’t recognize where we’ve gone. And sometimes, the space between our old center and new location is filled with fear, bad decisions, regret and anxiety. How-and-thee-ever, we don’t have to stay in that place with those feelings.
Remember the people I mentioned earlier, who are around us and notice the drifting away before we do? Use them, reach out to them! Life is meant to be lived in community as relational beings. I know we’re a culture of “moving in silence” or “taking losses in private” right now, but that ish is for the birds (colloquial terminology meaning that it is not a wise stance).
Create community. Live in community. Thrive in community.
Let’s do the work!
1. What are your core beliefs/values?
2. Do your thoughts, words, and actions match those beliefs/values? If not, how can this change today?
3. How can community help you live out your beliefs/values more strongly?
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
James 1:8 KJV
My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back
James 5:19 NIV
And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 HCSB
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:17 NLT