Feeling desperate, frustrated, lost, or confused? This flowchart might help you find your way through the mess.
I had an engaging talk with my Pastor on the morning of Monday, July 9, 2018. We put together the flowchart below, which illustrates three phases of growth concerning how people typically find their way to God.
The flowchart is described as follows.
Step 1: Experiencing a desperate need or a passionate desire
For the first step, there’s something that you desperately need in your life. There’s something driving you. There is a deep need that you’re trying to get from others. For some people, this need takes the form of exasperation and desperation. For others, this need is manifested as a passionate desire for a particular thing or state of being. It might even be strong enough to be considered an obsession.
Part of Step 1 is sorting out your spiritual needs, meaning, to fully understand exactly what it is that you are seeking. For most people, this something needed is usually love and attention. People need love, and they try to get this love from other people. But it might also be other things, like a sense of belonging or acceptance, dignity, emotional thrills, honor, hypergamic selection, money, personal freedom, the contentment of popularity, power, respect, sex, social status, etc. This list may not be all inclusive.
It could be generally assumed, that whatever it is that you didn’t get enough of in your life, especially during your formative years, is probably the thing that you’re missing in your heart, the thing that you are desperately trying to find in your life.
Step 2: Facing the fact that this need can never be satisfied through conventional human effort
The second step is for you to realize that no other human being can truly, fully satisfy this need for love (etc.) in you. You must come to understand that trying to fulfill this need for love, etc. is a frustrating exercise in futility. This is a difficult step for most people. They want to try different things to attract love and attention, because they want to be able to get other people’s love (etc.) on their own merit. They have an ego investment in this endeavor, which motivates them to work harder at extracting love (etc.) from other people. So they try desperately to make this work somehow.
For most people, Step 2 is the big stumbling block. They cannot face the fact that their need for love (etc.) can only be satisfied through God. So instead of turning to God they continue to try all kinds of devices and manipulations, all done in an effort to control other people, and to attract people’s love (or whatever else it is that they are seeking). For some, it might take a long time to face the fact that no human being, and no human effort, can fully satisfy this need in their heart.
Step 3: Making the choice to seek having their needs met through God (or not)
The third phase in this process is when the person has faced the fact behind step number 2 and they understand that no one can satisfy this need that they have. Now, there are two possible responses that a person could have upon realizing that they cannot have their needs met in a conventional manner. These two possible responses are,
- The “F*ck it all to h*ll!” (FIATH) response, which is filled with cynicism, anger, coldness, and stoicism. This person denies the provision of God through Christ Jesus, and turns to a godless lifestyle. Their purpose in life then becomes one of seeking to maximize their own happiness and contentment, often at other people’s expense. Meanwhile, their mind continues to wrestle with the problem of why there is pain in the world.
- The “Forsaking all, I trust Him” (FAITH) response, which is accepting God’s provision and understanding that only God can satisfy the needs in your heart. This is when the person says to himself, “I’m going to pursue God, and let Him satisfy my needs, let Him satisfy my heart. So then the person grows in their relationship with God, and learns to have their needs met through God.
So that’s the three step process. Perhaps there are some theological purists who would be dissatisfied with its’ simplicity, or its’ focus on desire as a motivating factor, but we have found that the step-process perspective, and the subjective approach are the strengths of this insightful illustration. It brings the basic processes of salvation to the conscious awareness of those whom we are trying to council. Once they get the idea, the counseling process becomes smoother, because we are then able to discuss the classical religious concepts (e.g. sin, repentance, redemption, salvation…) within a context that they can readily understand.
Feel free to share this with a friend or coworker who is looking for a life map.
- Sigma Frame: The Nature of Evangelism (March 28, 2010)
- Sigma Frame: Exposing the Truth to Others (January 1, 2018)