God is Process-Oriented
There are a few ways in which majority American cultural values are incompatible with God. One of the most predominant values in our society is focusing on outcomes. We do it in most arenas of our lives. In work, we focus on goals or customer satisfaction. Both of these are outcomes. In healthcare, we focus on how we will be after we are sick or hurt. Again outcomes. In education, we even teach our children to think more about outcomes by put emphasis on tests. Industries throughout the US have developed standards by which to measure outcomes. That seems to be all we want to know—what is the outcome.
When it comes to our personal development, however, God doesn't seem to be outcome-oriented. He seems process-oriented. Think about it. If he was outcome-oriented and he wanted us to change, we would just change. We wouldn’t have to go through any challenges to get to the end point. We would just be there. Want more proof that God focuses on our process. Ok, we don’t ever stop growing, changing, or learning. There is no outcome in psychological development.
This conflict between outcomes and process causes us frustration. We try to change but we never can quite reach a goal. Or, even if we reach a goal, there is always another goal to shoot for. We have developed a culture that almost requires us to constantly better ourselves toward an unobtainable goal—an outcome. This often causes anxiety and depression because we are nervous that we can’t reach our goals and we get down on ourselves when we don’t.
3 Ways to Become More Process-Oriented
So that means our goal is to figure out how to be process-oriented in an outcome-oriented world. If we can learn to shift our perspective from outcomes to process, then invariably we will be less anxious and less depressed. Here are 3 ways you can focus more on the process while still heading toward any goals you have.
1. Practice mindfulness - Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
As you go about your day, focus less on what you have to do and more on what you are doing in the moment. Better yet, focus on how you are doing something in the moment. As we become more mindful of our present moments, we experience more satisfaction, peace, and even awe. God is all around us and we can experience him more if we pay attention to ourselves and our environments more closely.
2. Think about God – So if we can be more mindful, then we can also think about God more during the day. When we let God enter into our mind we have the potential to automatically slow down our thinking. It may take practice but just think about God more and guess what? You will see him more in the nuances of your life. You will see the beauty and wonder that fills life and you will be less stressed._
3. Let Your Mind Wander – Any change in lifestyle takes practice. This is the case with mindfulness too. Just allow yourself a few minutes a day to allow your mind to wander. Try not to think of your lists and just sit and think. Be open to wherever your mind wants to go as long as it’s peaceful.
I have been a counselor for over 18 years. I am an Associate Professor and the Department Head for Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of North Georgia. I specialize is helping people ease their stress and anxiety. Schedule an appointment with me.