Getting clothes, especially sari blouses tailored and also visits to the beauty salons in Sri Lanka has been quite an ordeal over the years. Yes, I agree I’m not a seamstress and I’m not a beautician. The ones I go to are the ones I assume have the expertise. However, I have come to realise a few things!
When I approach them with requests based on what I have learned over the years especially from my life in the West, of what suits me and my lifestyle along with what I’m comfortable with, I often get the reply “That can’t be done…”. As I get older (and hopefully wiser too!) I hear even a lot of young ones tell me that “this is the way it is done, it can’t be done that way”. It puzzles me and of course, I do respond, “That’s interesting, because all these years that’s what I have been doing thus I know it can be done”. Beauticians advise me why it can’t be done – it’s not good for the skin / hair… and I tell them, “Well, do you know how old I am? Do I look it?” and their response to that revelation is a gasp of surprise.
Expertise doesn’t mean we know it all. It just means we are trained within the confinement of specific boundaries – of what we have learned, in what context we have learned it and what techniques we have learned. We begin to believe that this is the only way and that this is the most effective.
However, the more we have exposure to the world outside our little box, the more we interact with other people in the field with different physical and geographical parameters, as well as those who have the experience from the view point of being customers (believe me, we pick up a lot over the years just by getting services done as we observe and analyse), our horizons begin to broaden. The service provider teaches a few things to their clients and the reverse takes place too – if the service provider isn’t puffed up with their limited knowledge. The frog in the well begins to hop out of it and realise there is a whole new bigggggg world out there!
As we step out of our comfort zones, out of our tight-knit clusters of biological family and patriotism, and we begin to embrace other people of other ethnic groups, nationalities, cultures etc we begin to ‘grow’ as people.
We begin to realise the wide range of prejudices and the limited thinking that we do possess… We then understand expertise deepens when exposure widens.
Jesus tells us that His mother and brothers are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practise – not those who worship with their lips and their hearts are far away. When Jesus states this his own biological brothers were right there. In doing so, He is highlighting the fact that it isn’t about birth rights but about the family under the headship of Christ, from all tribes and nations..
Jesus calls us to GO, not stay put clinging on to our own kind (blood or ethnicity)….
GO to the nations (in today’s context, people groups locally or globally)…
(I couldn’t help but use this particular picture as the featured image, which I have already done so in a previous blog post too but this photos represents a good mix of nationalities where there was much interaction!)
In doing so, in interacting with the other people around us, we begin to see things can be done differently.. we begin to let go of legalism as we see there are other ways too and often they are not right or wrong… Or we begin to understand our incorrect handling of God’s Word when we truly begin to hear hearts and stories, when we go beyond the surface.. We then realise some of our ‘values’ were judgment calls perhaps unintentionally but which hurts and tears down others rather than build up. Jesus clearly states that mercy triumphs judgment. It is when we look beyond appearances is when we grow and God’s love can fill us and flow through us.
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” – Isaiah 12:13,14
Worship needs to consist of a heart surrendered to God with the desire and willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit. Our human rules based on what we have been taught by leaders or culture or traditions or what not, doesn’t please God..
He will once again astound us.. the wisdom of the wise will perish.. God’s wisdom will replace the earthly wisdom of the believer who worships in Spirit and in truth.
Expertise isn’t truly expertise unless there has been exposure..