Acceptance vs. Conformism

Correspondence regarding acceptance. Our teaching can be found here.

Acceptance vs. Conformism

Postby Edwin Romero » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:06 pm



In yesterday’s meeting, this subject was pretty much covered, I think, but I had written some ideas before. I would like to hear if others have anything to say about their own experience with this area at this point in life.

One of the first papers I translated for TPOT was “Acceptance.” It was, as the paper says, liberating to know and believe what was written there. Some of my greatest frustrations were still fresh at that time, as I had recently left the church systems, being utterly disillusioned by the Truth. Not that I regretted such disillusion, but I had a rather rude awakening.

So I began (or continued) my journey, now with fresh knowledge from the Lord, Who was making many things clear to me, by His grace. I began to accept things as they were and had been up to then, although I cannot say my acceptance was perfect, yet I stopped wishing things were different, for the most part, and I stopped trying to find ways to fix my circumstances, even by prayer.

As time has gone by, I have begun to examine myself whether I have become a man who accepts his lot, thankfully so, or one who conforms to his status quo. Surely, the Lord expects us to give thanks in all things as they are, with faith and conviction that He is in control of all things. Certainly, we are not called to change our circumstances, but does that mean we can no longer have dreams, aspirations, and a vision for our future? What about goals? If we are called to die, our dreams and desires must go with us, for sure. Does that close the case? Very likely.

I think we all have had dreams and desires, as well as the corollary frustrations of failing at obtaining what we have wanted. It is just natural to want things and accomplishments in life, and no doubt man’s greatest desire is to obtain those his own way, without the Lord.

However, I have found that in His mercy, the Lord is more than willing to thwart our desires, lest we be utterly destroyed by some of our pursuits, although that’s precisely what happens to many people who have had what they wanted. They get the job, business, or career they want, the cars they want, the fame and prestige they’ve coveted, the possessions they’ve wanted, etc. and then, futility and disaster strikes them, like Solomon although in a lesser scale.

But then again, if a believer has an old car, which is giving him many problems, does he just give up and wait until the car breaks down completely? If your job is a meaningless drag, what do you do with it? Should a sick person not look for medicine? An obese person must not settle for things as they are either, right? If one lives in a neighborhood full of noise and trash, and even crime, does he just relax there, not looking for other options? Is there a limit to our “acceptance”?

Paul says we will be content with food and clothing. “But having food and clothing, we will be content” (1 Timothy 6:8 MKJV). Does that mean we should not try to have anything else? Is that what we do? I can be thankful I’m not experiencing anxiety about anything I’d like to have or achieve at this point, like a business, a different place to live in, not so much a very different house, but a different location, for example. It was a good reminder yesterday how our thankfulness, in faith, for our present lot is the way to go; nothing else will do.

As some of you know, I am a teacher. I’m 46, and I would like to retire at 50, not from work, but from the teaching career. However, my retirement program says I can only retire at age 58 with about 75% of my salary. It doesn’t sound too bad, but I don’t see myself waiting till then. Before that time, the benefits would be much lower. What does the Lord want for me? I don’t know, but I think it might not be problem if I set the goal of retiring at 50; anyway, the Lord may have a very different thing in mind for sooner, or for later, and I know it will be good if it comes from Him. The surest thing is we have been called to belong to the Lord and not ourselves, which is a very good thing, isn't it?

As I was writing, a Scripture kept coming to my mind, and it brought tears to my eyes, not because I am there, but because I’m really not there yet:

“You shall lead me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in Heaven? And besides You I desire none on earth.” (Psalm 73:24-25 MKJV)

I have had to encourage one of our people here, Dunia, who has struggled with her desire - sometimes desperation - to have a different place to live in, incurring a big mortgage, and to continue with her professional development. Now she wants to pursue a Master’s degree in personnel management, as it is related to what she does in her job as a personnel manager assistant. While I have explained to her that all things are possible if it’s the Lord’s will, I have also told her His will may be to deliver us to our own ways and aspirations, which could eventually work against ourselves, hence the importance of our motivations. “…and all that is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23) I have not felt free to encourage her to work for what she wants.

So after considering several aspects of acceptance and conformism, I have come to the conclusion that acceptance leads to peace, while conformism leads to depression, and I’ve been moving from one to the other, and back and forth. Still, the Lord always makes His ways clear to us if we are willing to learn from Him; otherwise, confusion is all we can have.

Does anybody have anything to add or comment concerning this topic? Are you working towards a given goal right now, or are you just taking each day as it comes, with no ultimate end to your efforts? Have you learned the difference between the two extremes of acceptance and conformism?
Edwin Romero
 

Re: Acceptance vs. Conformism

Postby Beryl Knipe » Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:57 pm



Hi and thank you, Edwin for sharing with us.

I have sent out and printed out copies of "Acceptance" so many times - sending it out and handing it out to many. It has helped me and others understands much of what's happening in our lives, knowing and believing that God is in control.

I have never been one to plan anything of major importance (I'm not sure if I'm copping-out here) actually and have definitely not conformed to worldly "stuff" - churches - for example. I've been a working person since the age of 19 - that's 42 years and through all that time I have thanked God for what He has provided for me and my family and although I most certainly would love to stop working (I'm really tired now) I still do, give thanks for every day that I have a job to go to. Whether these are God's plans for my life - I can't say that I'm 100% certain - but I see no other way, right now, accept to accept what's happening in my life, right now.

This is a quote by Ann Landers: “Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”

Whatever, and however anything changes in my life, is not in my hands, but in His and I shall wait on Him, for He surely knows more than I could even begin to understand.

Beryl.
Beryl Knipe
 

Re: Acceptance vs. Conformism

Postby Victor Hafichuk » Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:00 pm



Thanks, Edwin!

“Certainly, we are not called to change our circumstances, but does that mean we can no longer have dreams, aspirations, and a vision for our future? What about goals?”

Depending on motives, it may not be a problem to have plans, dreams, aspirations, vision, goals, all Lord willing. That’s the key - Lord willing, and if it turns out He isn’t willing, are you prepared to accept things as they are or as they are changing, whether to your liking or not?

“But then again, if a believer has an old car, which is giving him many problems, does he just give up and wait until the car breaks down completely? If your job is a meaningless drag, what do you do with it? Should a sick person not look for medicine? An obese person must not settle for things as they are either, right? If one lives in a neighborhood full of noise and trash, and even crime, does he just relax there, not looking for other options? Is there a limit to our “acceptance”?”

You do what you have to do and “accept” the fact there are decisions to be made according to the knowledge and understanding granted. Accept the new car, the old, its wear, its needs as they arise, and parting with it when you realize it can no longer fulfill your needs. Serve as well as you know at your occupation, accepting its conditions where you have no choice and accepting your responsibility to change things where you can.

The Serenity Prayer by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr[1][2] (1892–1971), from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_Prayer:

The most well-known form of the prayer attributed to Niebuhr is a late version, as it includes a reference to grace not found before 1951:[1]

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

“It was a good reminder yesterday how our thankfulness, in faith, for our present lot is the way to go; nothing else will do.”

Amen! In everything give thanks for THIS is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

“I have had to encourage one of our people here, Dunia, who has struggled with her desire - sometimes desperation - to have a different place to live in, incurring a big mortgage, and to continue with her professional development. Now she wants to pursue a Master’s degree in personnel management, as it is related to what she does in her job as a personnel manager assistant.”

Nothing wrong with plans and aspirations; however, if you profess faith in Jesus Christ, you WILL be adding an earnest clause to your agenda: Lord willing, and you need to believe and mean it or you’re headed for trouble.

James 4:13-17 MKJV
(13) Come now, those saying, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and spend a year there, and we will trade and will make a profit,
(14) who do not know of the morrow. For what is your life? For it is a vapor, which appears for a little time, and then disappears.
(15) Instead of you saying, If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.
(16) But now you boast in your presumptions. All such boasting is evil.
(17) Therefore to him who knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Do you not see the things swiftly coming on the world, Dunia and all?

“Are you working towards a given goal right now, or are you just taking each day as it comes, with no ultimate end to your efforts? Have you learned the difference between the two extremes of acceptance and conformism?”

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall be anxious for its own things. Sufficient to the day is the evil of it” (Matthew 6:33-34 MKJV).

It may be a matter of semantics or meaning not readily obvious, but is acceptance an extreme? Perhaps it is; certainly not common.
Victor Hafichuk
 
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Re: Acceptance vs. Conformism

Postby Lynn Farris » Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:03 pm



Hi Edwin,

As I have grown older, I have come to like being able to plan things. I didn’t really plan much in my younger years and I think there is a time and place for planning, having goals, etc.

The verses Victor gave from James have stuck with me from long ago, even though I know there are plenty of times that I may not have acknowledged it. Very often though, I’ve thought or said “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” in reply to something I might do in the future, even as simple as someone saying “See you tomorrow”. Because I know the future is not in my control, but His.

I agree with Victor that it’s all subject to the Lord’s will. I currently have a goal of being debt free. I started getting serious about it a couple of years ago (yes years, I had a lot of debt). And Lord willing, it’s possible that I could be debt free by the summer of 2016. It definitely depends on things that are beyond my control, but I believe it’s a good goal to have. And the Lord has already provided more than I had even dared to dream, and I’m very thankful for it.

After that, I’m not sure. I think I would like to live in a house rather than an apartment, so it’s something I’ve been giving some thought to. I know the Lord already has a plan, so I’m seeking to understand what I should do or not do, as He wills. I know it’s not the important thing, where I live - to seek Him daily is the important thing.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Lynn Farris
 
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Re: Acceptance vs. Conformism

Postby Edwin Romero » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:33 pm



Thank you, Beryl!
I think work is a true blessing. Perhaps it’s because I’m growing old, but I don’t like to be doing nothing; I like to be busy, and it is much better if I have a choice of what to do. I just don’t like compulsory routine. I can see what you mean when you say you would certainly like to stop working; I take it you mean a job by obligation. Most women always have things to do at home, no doubt.

I grew up in a culture where improvisation is the norm; there’s little planning here, which is surely typical of third world countries. The Lord’s calling to “come out from among them” sure includes those negative cultural patters and more.

Of course, there are many who do plan everything and therefore thrive in their endeavors. I have learned to plan (not so well though) from my American employers who put all things together one year before. They tell us today what we will be doing in August of next year, with dates and times, and what they expect from us. If something changes for any reason, they simply make the adjustments. I’m thankful for that.

As for acceptance, I understand how you are using that quote by Ann Landers. Good words! And yes, the Lord knows what He has in store for you.

Thank you for words, Victor!
We have talked about these things before, but it never hurts to have them repeated. Motive is so important, and only the Lord can give light as to what moves a person to think or do anything. Our greatest aspiration should be to be in His will, and then do all that is given us to do, the best way we can.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no work, nor plan, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave where you go.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 MKJV)

I think this Scripture encourages to do things the best way we can if given by the Lord, as there are so many things we can do or plan to do in this world, but if it’s not His will, trouble is sure to come. Not that His will for any course is trouble-free, but we know it’s different.

I appreciate that Serenity Prayer, even better now with the addition. I first red it when I was very young, but it has only been in the recent years that I have seen the true meaning and value of those words. Many people quote it and post it, but very few live by it as unto the Lord.

Amen to James 4:13-17 and Mathew 6:33-34! Lord help us to make it real, to make it our very life.
I meant “extremes” of acceptance and conformism as opposite attitudes; the latter is fleshly, born of laziness and pessimism; the first one is godly, born of faith and total trust in the Lord. Maybe I needed a different term there.

Thanks for sharing, Lynn!
I think you have a very good goal there, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be in the Lord’s will, except for the timing, which only He knows, but you do well in setting a time limit. I have known of some debts the Lord has decided not to remove for a time, and He still works things out perfectly with those, for His purposes.

May He grant you to believe and do as you should so you can honor Him, and He will surely make you debt-free in the right time.
Edwin Romero
 

Re: Acceptance vs. Conformism

Postby Jon H Kail » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:58 pm



I really appreciate the comments here, the topic itself and your counsel, V!

I've had so many dreams, aspirations and goals of many types. The one constant thing with them is that most of them change. It's a classic illustration of Gods will and mans.. and though I've been terribly disappointed so many times over many things, I've been pleasantly surprised just as much or more :) It's so very interesting to see where He brings us all. I can also see the terrible disappointment and much more that He's saved me and OTHERS from if I had accomplished what I had set out to do in so many ways. Things that can seem so good and innocent can really bring destruction and devastation.

Prov 16:9- A man's heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.

If, years back, someone would've have told me of my present situation in life all the way around, I would have never, ever believed it! At one point in life for a while, I really felt invincible.
Now I find victory in accomplishing even the smallest things that I never even paid attention to :)

I never even knew, cared or gave thought to what Sustainable and Environmental technologies were or even things like recycling and now here I am working in that field. I just "kinda" fell into it. It hasn't been easy but I have learned a lot and some good things have come about. There are so many little, nagging things that I've learned to do that in the past I would've found or hired someone else to do it.. (like paper work etc..)

Sure, it's good to want to do well and accomplish things- working hard and being diligent.

It reminds me of the Theo Auto where Kerri's attitude at the Farm was that everyone could chill and relax and the Lord would provide but V knew it was going to take much hard work. Work that many didn't want to do and of course the Lord would provide. But this was also a good endeavor coming from the right place, even though V struggled with that concept about the Farm as well at times, too.

I have been both very busy and have had much free time and I know there is a time for both for some, many or most. I can say it's good to be busy and work and have things to do if able and to obey as you go. Also when I've been busy, I've coveted free time and when free, coveted being busy. That's why it's good to be in the moment and focused on the Lord, day by day. Nothing ever goes according to plan, only His plan.

But I've definitely found out that it's much to do about Why, How and Where were coming from?
I've never realized the great importance of motive, desries and intentions.

I try to plan and stay organized and try to have some back up things to do because a lot of times plans don't go accordingly.. and at the same time I can twist myself into a big pretzel analyzing, figuring, forecasting and prognosticating my way through circumstances (especially currently) instead of just accepting and concentrating on Him. Faith in Him says- He will do it and give you to know and do what you need to all the way through. He will get us on path and set us towards the good he has determined for us.

So it just brings me back to focusing on seeking His Kingdom and taking it one day at a time.

Good to catch up on some posts here. The Forum is really a wonderful tool!
Much thanks to all those putting forth their efforts, diligence and hard work putting it together and constantly refining it. Even though the Lord has created it and is sustaining, it hasn't created itself :) Thank You Lord!
Jon H Kail
 

Re: Acceptance vs. Conformism

Postby Terri Cabreros » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:41 pm



I too appreciate everything said here!

A couple of years, I went through a period of job interviews (around 11) within a couple of months only to find out (through Marilyn and Victor) the Lord's will was for me to stay home and take care of things here.

This has been somewhat difficult for Peter to accept because having a second income would help tremendously but I believe he has come to accept this is what it is.
I work hard in my yard and garden as well as keeping up with my household chores, and because of our weather conditions lately (HOT and HUMID), it has been very challenging.

Knowing...really knowing that God is in FULL CONTROL is true FREEDOM. If I am looking to do something, I know now to ask the Lord and leave it in His hands. If I try to do something and run into a roadblock or two, I know to back off and wait on Him.

One simple example:
Our road is called "Pohaku Circle." Pohaku means rock and believe me, that is what we have a lot of here...not much soil. Before we started our gardening, we were thinking of ordering dirt which would have cost us $300+ for a load. I asked the Lord about and we waited on Him.
I remember mentioning it to Peter's nephew, Wes.

Almost a month later, Peter's brother (Wes' dad) called us and asked us if we wanted a load of dirt (he is a supervisor for a construction company and they were digging a big area and needed to get rid of a lot of dirt to start construction). They were charging $100 per load for truck expense. We were willing to pay the $100 cause it was a really good deal. We got not one, but two big loads of dirt...free! Peter's brother took care of it...or rather the LORD did!

God is so good...sometimes what we ask, He answers immediately (whether good or bad but ultimately good of course) and sometimes He has us wait. Or the answer is no (and sometimes we "push the issue" only to get frustrated when He puts up those roadblocks..and although the "no" can be hard to accept, it really is acceptable.
Terri Cabreros
 
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Re: Acceptance vs. Conformism

Postby Edwin Romero » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:00 pm



Good things there for you, Terri. The fires sure lead us to godly acceptance for our own sakes and for His glory!
Edwin Romero
 

Re: Acceptance vs. Conformism

Postby Paul Cohen » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:35 am



I like the way you framed things here, Edwin, posing the question of whether we are accepting our circumstances or conforming to the status quo. As with all matters, this too pertains to the heart and motive, which the Lord sees and reveals to us in order that we might walk with Him by faith and become as He is in the world.

I recall an instance in my life that may help illustrate. When I became a believer I dropped out of college. I had no marketable skill or profession. I also realized I wasn't put on earth to pursue a career or the "American dream." So I went along for some time doing menial jobs, thinking nothing of it and aspiring to nothing higher.

After several years of this, the Lord made known to me that I needed to step up and find work that required more engagement and learning on my part. I didn't wait - I quit my job and began to look for this kind of work. The search became my new occupation. After much looking and some interesting events leading to my first more challenging position, the Lord finally brought me to a job that lasted for as long as was necessary to supply those things He had in mind. It's true I'm not here for a career, but I am here to follow wherever the Lord takes me by faith. That's our duty, honor, and fate as believers.
Paul Cohen
 

Re: Acceptance vs. Conformism

Postby Edwin Romero » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:37 am



Truly, there's nothing to fear if we trust the Lord's guidance. All initiaves that come from Him will prosper if we believe and act upon them. Any of our aspirations, without Him, are doomed to fail miserably, or to succeed more miserably, as someone put it once (can't remember who).

Thank you, Paul.
Edwin Romero
 


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