Sunday, February 25, 2024

放棄舊思維,迎向新出路

By Jim Mathis

放棄舊思維,迎向新出路

我最近做了一個很不尋常的夢。在夢裡,我走在一條鄉間小路上,走著走著,路開始變得泥濘。我走得越遠,越泥濘。沒多久泥巴開始沾滿我的鞋子、我的膝蓋。不久,泥巴深及腰,我開始在泥巴當中,沉重地往前行。

在夢中,當我環顧四周,有十幾個人和在一起,我們開始為要走哪一條路以及要如何從泥巴中脫身爭執不下。不久一個年輕人慢跑經過,問我們為何陷在泥巴當中?我看著他,注意到他站在離我們不到一公尺遠的人行道上。我快速地從泥巴中上來,走到人行道上加入他,很快地發現了我住的旅館,所以我安全了。

還來不及回去救那些陷在泥巴中的同伴之前,我已經從夢中醒過來了。但是,很快我就知道這個夢所代表的意涵了。我們常常發現自己陷在泥巴當中,花了很多力氣試圖在泥沼中前進,卻沒有發現旁邊就有很明顯和清楚的人行道,我們其實可以很容易就脫身的。

儘管這是一個事實,但是有時整個社群甚至是整個城鎮都陷在泥沼中。例如,堪薩斯州最窮和最有錢的郡都有四線道高速公路。但是窮郡的人卻像是陷在泥沼中,看不見最近的高速公路可以帶他們離開,或許是因為他們害怕的是路的盡頭有許多未知的事物在等著他們。

我聽過一句諺語說:世界上最糟的事情就是只有「一個」好點子。有時候,在生活或是工作上,我們會執著於單一個計畫,而錯失旁邊唾手可得更好的方法。我記得好幾次自己遇上困難,覺得被困住,找不到解決的方法,感謝神,身邊親近的人告訴我有其他的出路。我們要感謝人們願意跟我們分享那些幫助他們走在正道上的知識和看見。以下是來自聖經,幫助我們從無力中脫困的想法:

尋找新的想法。我們經常被自己獨特的思考模式困住。有時,解決之道來自思考模式與我們大不相同的人,因為他們會用不同的角度和觀點看事情。『不先商議,所謀無效;謀士眾多,所謀乃成。 (箴言1522)

對新的法有包容的態度。「瘋狂」的其中一個定義是不斷地用同樣的方法重複做一件事情,卻希望能有不同的結果。一個值得信賴的建議者,能夠把我們想法中的錯誤找出來,給我們更好的解決方法。「你要聽勸教,受訓誨,使你終久有智慧。(箴言 1920).

總有出路。有時候我們生命中的泥沼是有害或具有破壞性的習慣,聖經叫它們「罪」。我們也許相信自己被困住了,無計可施,但是神給我們的應許是「總有出路」。「你們所遇見的試探,無非是人所能受的。 神是信實的,必不叫你們受試探過於所能受的;在受試探的時候,總要給你們開一條出路,叫你們能忍受得住。 (哥林多前書1013)

吉姆.提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。他曾是一家咖啡店的經理,也曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

省思討論題目

你是否曾像作者所說的感覺自己被困住了,找不到出路?分享你的經驗,以及事情最後如何解決?

即使有明顯的替代方案,你覺得為什麼有人總是一直要堅持沒有用的想法?你可以想出一個在職場上的經驗或例子嗎?

當你覺得自己被困住無法解決困難的時候,最典型的反應是甚麼?你會不會去找其他人商量或是告訴你一些新的想法?你經常保持開闊的胸襟去接受和考慮不同的觀點嗎?分享你的經驗。

想一想聖經稱為「罪」的事情,是那些不想要的思想或是行為,我們卻無力用自己的力量掙脫,總是被控制和淹沒的事情。你是否想過神其實給了我們一條出路,如同聖經哥林多前書1013節所說的: 你們所遇見的試探,無非是人所能受的。 神是信實的,必不叫你們受試探過於所能受的;在受試探的時候,總要給你們開一條出路,叫你們能忍受得住。你覺得阻礙我們勝過試探的困難有哪些?

備註:如果你手上有聖經,希望能閱讀更多關於這個主題的經文,請參考下面:箴言11章14節、12章15節、16章9節、19章27節、20章18節、24章5-6節;腓立比書 4章9節;提摩太後書3章16-17節

FINDING GOOD IDEAS WHEN OLD ONES WILL NOT DO

By Jim Mathis

I had an unusual dream recently. In the dream, I was walking down a country road and it was beginning to get muddy. The farther I walked, the muddier it became. Before long the mud was over my shoes, then up to my knees. After a while I was trudging along in mud up to my waist.

In my dream, I looked around and saw there were about a dozen people with me; we began to argue about which way to go and how to get out of the mud. Before long a young man came jogging by and asked us why we were all stuck in the mud. I looked at him and noticed he was about 20 feet away on a paved path. I quickly got out of the mud and joined him on the pavement, soon found a hotel where I had been staying, and was back to safety.

I woke up from the dream before I could learn whether I went back to rescue the other people stuck in the mud or if they followed me to the pavement. However, I immediately recognized the metaphor. We often get stuck in the mud and expend so much energy trying to make some progress that we fail to see that there is a clear path, an easy way of escape, not far off.

Sometimes this is literally true, even for entire communities and whole towns that have become stuck in the mud. The poorest county and the richest county in my state of Kansas, for example, are connected by a four-lane highway. However, the poor people stuck in the mud cannot see the nearby highway that could take them out, or they are simply afraid of the unknown they might encounter down the road.

I have heard it said that one of the worst things in the world is a good idea – if we have just one. We become so committed to a single plan, whether at work or in our personal lives, that we fail to see a better way close at hand. I can remember several times where I felt "stuck" or lacking a solution to a problem, and always appreciated having someone close by who shows me a way out. We need to express thanks to those who have been willing to share their knowledge and insights to keep others moving along on a good path. Here are some thoughts from the Bible about how to free ourselves from unproductive ideas:

It helps to seek fresh viewpoints. Often ideas that keep us stuck are paradigms, described as our unique ways of processing the information available to us. Sometimes the solution is to solicit help from people “outside the paradigm,” that offer a different perspective or suggest different ways of approaching the problem. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

Be open to new ideas. One definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing the same way over and over, while expecting different results. Trusted advisers can expose faults in our thinking and suggest better, more productive alternatives. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise” (Proverbs 19:20).

There is always a way to escape. Sometimes the “mud” in our lives is a harmful or destructive habit. The Bible calls it “sin.” We might believe we are stuck, with no way of extricating ourselves from it, but we are promised that is not true. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

Have you ever had a time when, as in Mr. Mathis”s dream, you felt “stuck in the mud,” unable to find a way out? Explain that situation – and how it was resolved. Why do you think some people are inclined to stick with an idea, even when it obviously is not working, when a better alternative presents itself? Can you think of a current example where you work? What are your typical responses at those times when you feel stuck, unable to solve a problem? Do you seek wise counsel and input from others? Are you usually open to receiving and considering different points of view? Explain your answer. Regarding what the Bible calls “sin,” controlling and overwhelming forms of undesirable thinking and action that we might feel unable to escape in our own strength, have you found that God truly can provide a way out, as 1 Corinthians 10:13 states? What could be some difficulties in being willing to take that way out?

NOTE: If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, 16:9, 19:27, 20:18, 24:5-6; Philippians 4:9; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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