Deep Change

Frazier, from the television show by the same name, is attributed to having asked, “What is the color of the sky in your reality.”  Intended as sarcasm on his part, the question actually has a great deal of depth while on the spiritual journey.  Frazier’s question actually lays out the premise that people have a tendency to create their own reality, define it as truth, and, find what they think is their own happy little world.   This is a pseudo-reality rather than true reality because it is of one’s own creation without benefit of external challenge.  The challenge can be from the members of one’s family, one’s community, but, most importantly, from the Word of God.

Pseudo-reality is a perceived reality and is really defined by the person living in this pseudo-reality.  In pseudo-reality one can convince one’s self of interpretations that just don’t stand the test of time and thought.  On a shallow level, an example might be one who convince oneself that one has a great gift for singing and begin to plan a career as a professional singer.  This pseudo-reality can also be applied to relationships, conversation patterns, and, is a way to describe the effects of sin.

Eve and Adam experienced a pseudo-reality when they convinced themselves that eating of the fruit of the tree was not really a forbidden activity.   Satan masked reality by convincing them that they had misheard God.  They liked the reality put forth by Satan and the rest is history.  Those who live in pseudo-reality become masters of rationalization and can convince themselves of anything.  By living an un-reflected life they don’t have to deal with their pseudo-reality and live an existence of their own creating.

If Dr. Phil were to ask, “how is that pseudo-reality working for you one would find that the only honest answer is that it JUST DOESN’T WORK!!!  In pseudo-reality one cannot see one’s wounds, one’s sins, one’s fear’s, or, even one’s hopes.  In pseudo-reality there is no real sense of reflection and all stays at superficial levels.  Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden (1854), “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.”  People who live in pseudo-reality are not able to look beyond the superficial because of fear of the unknown.  Those who live in pseudo-reality live lives of desperation and fear and mask their fear through various behaviors and addictions.

When Jesus talks about abundant living in John 10:10 He calls for a new way of life.  The life to which Jesus calls his disciples is a life of freedom and reflection as one becomes fully aware of what it means to live under the forgiveness of Christ.  The tragedy connected to the unreflected life is that there can really be no assurance of peace and salvation until one has confessed ones sins and the sins being confessed are the ones being discerned by and through the Word of God.

In 1 John 1:8 we read:  “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us “  To say that we have no sin is a pseudo-reality; we are not seeing things as they truly are and we are left blinded.  It is in the dying and rising from the impact of sin that we can understand and live in reality. 

Some people can go through their entire lifetime while living in pseudo-reality that keeps them from seeing themselves in full reality.  They are not able to see the masks they wear nor feel the wounds they carry.  Sometimes they have to mask the pain of pseudo-reality with practices that do no help and only cover the pain.  They deceive themselves about reality and they think they are deceiving others.  Those who live in pseudo-reality are either unwilling to reflect or incapable of reflecting.

There are times, for everyone, that a period of restlessness enters into life.  Restlessness, which can lead to honest reflection,  can eventually lead to one of two reactions.  One can explore and probe the times of restlessness to reflect upon God’s call and to seek what it is that God wants to reveal, OR, one can mask the restlessness and refuse to look internally.

The person incapable of reflection (regardless of reason) will blame others (notice Eve blames Adam and Adam blames God) for the difficulty in their lives and are not able to take personal responsibility for actions that impacted life.  For these types of folks, life events are always the fault of the other.

God invites us to change.  Repentance is about change.  Repentance is about seeing life as it truly is, confessing that reality and then embracing the transformative forgiveness that comes with it.  Repentance comes when one is called into the Word and begins to see oneself reflected in that Word.  The Word of God brings full reality that leads to repentance, confession, absolution and restoration.  Martin Luther calls this a daily dying and rising.  St. Benedict calls this a daily conversion.  Both call it life under the Word as the Spirit discerns and leads us.

God’s people are called to a deep change that happens as one faces the full reality of existence.  The deep change leads to the abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”


Pivot Point Ministries offers a retreat entitled, “The Deep Change.”  This retreat, highlights the deep change process and leads participants into a deep relationship with God and an opportunity to reflect upon one’s life.   The retreat includes group presentation and dialog, private reflection time and journaling, worship and prayer.  Group minimum is 10, maximum is 30. To schedule a Deep Change Retreat for your group you may contact Dr. Steve Arnold to schedule a time.    

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