What’s Your Grid?

From my 2012 Journal. Once I learn a perceived truth, I tend to filter all of life through that grid. For example, when I first learned about the benefits of homeopathic care, I shunned all allopathic doctors—until experience taught me that each has its merits for curing diseases.

One day I had a conversation with a gentleman who declared that the key to a child’s emotional health lies in his relationship with his father. This may be true in some or even in many instances, but not in all. It struck an emotional chord with him, however, and he began to take on some “shoulds.”

I’m currently reading When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert—a book on the subject of poverty and how not to hurt the poor in the midst of generous attempts to help. What strikes me is the matrix through which the authors view the subject—not that it’s wrong—but that all the verses and arguments are from one premise or topic. For example, the authors pose the question: Why were the Israelites sent into exile? “Idolatry” would be my immediate answer. But the authors concluded: because they didn’t properly care for the poor. Well . . . maybe . . . and that certainly could be part of the answer, but it’s not the only one (See Leviticus 26).

If I were writing a book about idolatry, I’d focus on that topic only and ignore the issue of caring for the poor. Or if I wrote a book on children or women or finances in the Bible, I’d examine all the Scriptures that pertain to just that topic. It’s normal to focus on one topic at a time—it’s all my brain can hold anyway—but I think I may develop tunnel vision in the process.

Grandma grid: My grandsons are the best!

Early in my ministry, TPM (Transformation Prayer Ministry) became my grid for all inner healing needs. While I was reading Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, I started to view life through that filter. The founders of Temperament Analysis, Arno Profile System see every emotional solution through the grid of temperament needs.

Here are some grids for the topic of addiction.

  • The theologian calls it sin: stop doing it!
  • Solomon says it’s unwise: look at the consequences (Proverbs 23:29-35).
  • The counselor wants to know motive: why are you doing it?
  • The doctor suggests it’s a chemical imbalance: let’s help you detox.
  • The family says: you’re hurting me; you need help.
  • The addict says:  I’m not hurting anyone but myself and I’m fine.

Whose grid is correct? The study of psychology, boundaries, codependency, temperament, TPM, or any other system or method (including a set of doctrines)—these are not the authentic answers to human needs.

So here’s where I struggle. Because of my profession and training, my grid tends to be too narrow. The worst part of it is, I’m always thinking, “You could be fixed . . . if only you had the set of keys that I have in my possession. These keys could help unlock the doors on your pain—but either you don’t want to use them, or you don’t know that they exist.” Truthfully, however, my tools are plastic. Jesus is the Master Key; only He can unlock every door. Only God sees the whole picture all at once. He knows every answer, nuance, and issue.

A 2021 Update: I’ve since added HeartSync Ministries to my toolbox. But even this grid is imperfect. Only Jesus has the perfect toolbox.

What’s your grid?

4 thoughts on “What’s Your Grid?

  1. Interesting last question, and my answer is: I don’t know, because you taught me the True Lord Jesus has the answers for abuse issues that have no answers. I can never thank you enough for holding my hand as I took the first tiny tottering steps into a trust relationship with the Lord. Now, I tend to take my pain, go to the Lord and say, “This is bigger than I am and I don’t understand, but You do,” and toss it in His lap. I don’t know that freedom has a grid, it just is, and how we get there is often a mystery. I like mysteries, but if I tried to solve this one, I’d get tangled up and start trying to do the Lord’s job or refuse to listen, so I’ll let Him have it.

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    • It does take a lot of healing. I’m going on 19 years now, and while I’ve come so far from where I started, I know I’ve got more to go. But you have to start small, a memory, an emotion, a word, whatever, and it’s like shifting a blocked up river; move the first rock and more is there. Eventually, the river rushes through, watering what’s healed, making what feels dry, cracked, and barren into something verdant. I don’t always know until I stop and look around, because I’m always looking for the next crack or broken piece to show the Lord. “See? That needs healed, and that, and that over there.” So glad the Lord has infinite patience with me.

      Up above, you talked about needing keys to heal. I’ve always looked at the Lord as the ones with the Keys and the Answers, and you are the Handholders, giving me courage to go to the dark places in my life. We’ve tried several methods and I’m glad you have them all, because i get stuck, or stubborn, or afraid or whatever. And when the methods don’t work, i don’t care because the Lord is bigger than our methods and He has the answer. It all comes back to Him, doesn’t it?

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  2. It’s good to read books on various topics, but we are influenced by the authors of those books in ways we don’t realize. It does take a filter to “discern” what should be adopted into our core beliefs, and that filter needs to be the Word and what the Lord has to say about it. This I think you have already stated.

    Only in the last few years…maybe when I hit that 70 mark of life, have I begun to dig deeper into the scriptures to shore up areas where I felt I had glossed over during my 50 plus years of knowing Jesus. I am not proud of that, but it is what it is. I make no excuses. My heart has always wanted to have a closer relationship with my Creator and to understand my purpose here for as long as He gives me breath, so my heart is pure in it’s journey. I haven’t always be diligent, but I have been determined.

    You always provoke thought on so many topics and I love your transparency. You are one of my dearest friends.

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