Monday, June 19, 2006

Confessions of An Idealist

Revolutionaries, emerging church people...
I think they have a tendency to be idealists, and, yes, I am one.

I came across this list that I thought was descriptive of the realities and pitfalls of being an idealist. (HT to

· Holding on to a set of beliefs of the way life is "supposed to be" or "should be".

· Philosophical foundation of a lifestyle in which you find yourself bucking the system.

· Belief system you have adopted about how things "should be done" which often gets challenged by the way things are in reality.

· Fantasy or dream of how your life should be which often interferes with your accepting the "here and now" realities of life.

· Block which prevents you from playing the political game of going along with the mandates of the authority which temper your beliefs about the ways things should be.

· Can keep you off focus because of your disappointment about others not accepting or living up to your ideals.

· Underlying current which prevents your adjustment to a situation because it is so out of synch with the ideal way you think things should be.

· Become the fall guy or scapegoat for any problems or trouble in the system as a means to quiet your outspokenness and to lay the blame and responsibility for the problems on you.

· Turn into a cynic or become fatalistic, hostile, pessimistic, and negativistic.

· It often is at the base of your need to fix or be a caretaker because you see something less than ideal and impulsively reach out to change or care for it.

· When you find it difficult to detach from others, it is often your idealized image of the way you are supposed to act, be, or behave that keeps you emotionally hanging on to these people.

· Everyone should be as sincere, trustworthy, and honest in their dealings with me as I am with them.

One of the dangers of being an idealist is attempting to control others to conform to your ideal. In my defense, I have not been an aggressive idealist. However, these traits do explain my own inability to sometimes conform.

Life may temper our zeal, maturing us in our ability to "play well with others." Yet I don't think we're supposed to stop envisioning the kingdom, the restoration of shalom, life in Christ as it "should be."

Every time I pray "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" my heart moans for the fulfillment of those words. My spiritual eyes strain attempting to see and envision living the fullness of kingdom life.

I dream, I idealize what "should be."


trace said...

Grace, although I don't think of myself as an idealist, I do relate to the challenges you've presented in your post (so, maybe I am one after all?), especially this one:

"When you find it difficult to detach from others, it is often your idealized image of the way you are supposed to act, be, or behave that keeps you emotionally hanging on to these people."

I have known for over a year that God is calling me out of my current career to pursue my passion and true calling. But it's the emotional attachment to the folks at work that makes it hard for me to take the leap of faith.

Thanks for seriously challenging me today. Trace.

Jim said...

I think about every point mentioned describes me at least to a degree; and, yet, in reading them, the truth that one can be no more than a self-centered rebel in possessing them presents itself. It was good, then, to find your final words so expressed; for Truth is always that line dead-center that we find our ability to walk no more than a stagger. The best we can manage is following the Voice that leads us down it......

grace said...

I pray you'll know when it's time to make that leap. I've had trouble letting go of what our former church "should have been."

Very well written. At times when I doubt that I'm nothing more than a self-centered rebel, I remind myself that there is a place for dreamers and seers in the kingdom.

John Frye said...

Dreamers and seers are needed as well as doers and pray-ers. I'm glad you carry the "idealist" card.