Reverse is a Legitimate Gear in Spiritual Growth

"The Gears of Growth" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“The Gears of Growth” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward


Reverse is a legitimate gear in spiritual growth.

In fact, all the gears are at some point or another for some period of time.

We must know by now that our personal and spiritual growth is never linear, but often cyclical and sometimes could even look like the scribbles of a child.

Let’s talk about reverse. Or relapse.

I’ve not only observed it in others. I’ve experienced it for myself!

That is, I will go through a kind of deconstruction of a belief. Sometimes I react to a belief I no longer feel can hold up. I’ll go long in the other direction.

Then, after my anger or frustration or sadness or disappointment or rebellion is over, I often come back to a more reasonable, rational, and less reactionary posture.

I think this is normal.

I’ve seen it in some, however, where they relapse to an even more conservative position than they were before… probably to protect themselves from ever approaching that dreadful line in the sand again. They don’t like how deconstruction feels, so they avoid it at all costs.

But, this is a reaction too.

What I help people do is to experience and exercise their own freedom. They can end up wherever they want… without shame, fear, or guilt. That’s the goal! Your own personal freedom and your enjoyment of it. Whether you end up a believer or an agnostic or an atheist… this is secondary to me. What is primary is your personal spiritual independence. That’s it.

So don’t worry if you’re constantly ebbing and flowing in what you believe or don’t believe. This is as natural as the tide!

Just observe. Just enjoy. Just relax.

Because you are not the tide. You are the ocean!

(Talk with me!)

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5 Replies to “Reverse is a Legitimate Gear in Spiritual Growth”

  1. That’s helpful sharing – thanks.

    I’ve heard what you describe as your anger, frustration or sadness in another context as what could be a “holy discontent”. Of course it could alternatively be for any of us a sign of something that we are doing that is unhelpful or could be doing to help and a bruised ego. Feelings aren’t facts :).

    Either way, yes I can agree with the reverse being a legitimate gear or what I could say what might feel like being in reverse but may be a growing pain.

    What one of us hasn’t experienced that – we all went through teething as an infant, separation from parents if we are adults and have left home, experienced loss and failure etc. right?

    So could we say that whether we progress, remain in the same place or regress may be more dependant on the choices we make as events happen rather than the events themselves?

  2. Love that reverse gear! Yes! I love to explore so many different implementations of Christianity… and needed that reverse gear more than once. LOL!

  3. There’s a Turkish folk saying that states, ” No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, turn around.”

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