3DM’s Learning Circle is a fabulous tool that helps us recognize what God is up to in our lives by noticing what we call a Kairos moment–an “aha” moment, a time when God’s kingdom is “at hand,” available, within reach. The Learning Circle helps us hear what God is saying to us and respond to it appropriately. Basically, what Jesus called repenting and believing.
Whenever we have one of these “aha” moments, though, the very first step is to simply observe. We need to take a good, close, honest, vulnerable look at what is really going on. But oftentimes it’s tempting to skip over this step, or hurry through it quickly, or “spin” our observation a little to make it not seem so bad.
Why is this? I’ve been thinking about this lately. What keeps us from observing well? What holds us back from taking a good, close, honest look at ourselves? For me, if I’m honest, oftentimes it’s shame and fear that keep me from observing well. It’s so much easier to just skim the surface and move over the Kairos quickly. I try to distract myself because it’s not a pretty sight to see!
My unspoken inner dialogue says something like, “Ooh, that’s an ugly one. Let’s just move onto what I’m going to do about it!”
Sometimes a Kairos reveals a situation in my heart that’s so uncomfortable and seemingly ugly that I feel like Kramer in an episode of Seinfield, where he has taken up pipe smoking and, unbeknownst to him, ends up with wrinkly, leathery skin and brown teeth. Jerry points this out to him, and when Kramer sees his reflection in the mirror, he mutters, “Look away, I’m hideous,” and runs out of the room.
The shame can be so strong that I don’t sit and observe. Instead, like Kramer, I run off. This is exactly what Adam and Eve did after the Fall. They were afraid because they felt shame, so they hid. But repentance always begins in simple observation. And transformation never happens without repentance. So in refusing to observe I am actually resisting transformation.
This question haunts me: How often have I missed out on an incredible breakthrough that the Father had for me because fear and shame kept me from observing?
Someone once said, “God only reveals things to heal things.” So I am learning to rest in the confidence that if it’s being revealed, it’s because God wants to heal something. It means there is blessing just around the corner, if I’ll sit and observe and let it lead me to repentance. Because we live in God’s kingdom, every obstacle is an opportunity. For every struggle, there is a solution. For every battle, there is a breakthrough. That the kingdom reality for us now.
But we will miss the kingdom unless we can observe, sit with, and name “what is.” Because of God’s grace, there is freedom to observe because there is no shame or blame in God’s kingdom. In the midst of our our failures, mistakes and shortcomings, the Father’s love remains unconditional. His attitude toward us never changes. It’s constant, persistent and unending. He is not shocked, surprised or taken aback. He simply looks at it with us and says, “There grace for that!”
Here are three ways to observe well:
- Slow down. Think slow motion movie. Physically sit down and stop moving. Talk it out to yourself, a friend or with the Lord about what is actually going on in you. Journal about what you’re seeing, feeling, thinking.
- Sit with what is. Notice every detail: emotions, reactions, circumstances, thoughts. Yours and any other people involved.
- Remind yourself out loud about God’s grace. You can take an honest look because there is no shame or blame in the Kingdom of God. If it’s coming up, it’s because God wants to set us free and heal us.
Follow up steps:
- Reflect and discuss with a trusted friend. This is often asking WHY and taking a deeper look at your observations.
- Finally, prayerfully ask yourself: What is God saying to me in this Kairos? What will I do to respond?
Check out these resources for more on the Learning Circle: