Some years ago, I came across the acronym V.U.C.A. It is a business concept adopted by the military and experienced by everyone at some point or another. The words volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity have come to define challenging situations that produce reactions to external factors. I imagine standing still as the world spins rapidly around me. Even the space in which I stand seems to be shifting. I am overwhelmed with choices and nothing seems to make sense. My typical reaction to experiences like this is fear, more specifically anxiety, and it occurs by default. In times like this thoughtful and intentional action is needed. Instead, reactions are all the more common and victimhood flourishes over creativity and virtue.
This leads me to think of Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Events will either move me forward or hold me back. The outcome then depends upon how I respond because I can neither control the event nor the outcome. What is within my power?
Now, I do not know much (or anything for that matter) about physics, but Newton’s Laws make me think of inertia, force, and action/reaction in light of God as the First/Prime Mover. God moved and we rebelled. Perhaps, God moved and we were afraid (Genesis 3:10). I have the ability to respond with faith (rather than fear) and to move with God. Therefore, I must make a decision, “for in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).” As a human being, I “live and move,” because of God. I am a dynamic being (not static) and I am more fully myself whenever I “live and move” with and towards God. I respond and take definitive, informed, and faith-filled action. I co-create with God, not concerned with how far I must go, but rather how far I have come. I become a lesser version of myself whenever I remain stagnant and a better version whenever I move forward in faith.
For instance, inertia is the tendency to do nothing; to remain stagnant and unchanged. I am blessed with the freedom to resist change in so much as it maintains the status quo, but I also have the grace to insist upon change when the status quo is no longer serving its purpose. In sticking with a theme of science, Albert Einstein once wrote that “life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” It is natural to look for balance and stability, especially when riding a bicycle, but perhaps I must prioritize movement for that is when balance and stability are possible.
The movement I desire comes by “force,” and outside force, namely, the Holy Spirit. Inertia, then, is overcome by inspiration for “it is the Spirit that gives life (John 6:63).” The dynamism of the Holy Trinity brings us to life through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit literally fills my lungs and brings me to life! For example, “The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit (John 3:8).” This is the Holy Spirit at work. I do not know much about it, but, but I do know that its characteristics are speed and direction. I know that sometimes the Holy Spirit moves me forward gently and other times powerfully. Occasionally, I am pushed back and other times side to side. Faith is essential because it keeps me from fighting the wind and curtailing the movements I must make. Faith lifts me up, captured by the movement of the Holy Spirit to a state where I might flow more fully into His will for me.
St. John Henry Newman said that “to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” Be not afraid, but rather embrace change as it comes from God. I must take the long view, and for a time, maybe this season, take action. I act and expect it to be messy, and for things to feel incomplete, but have faith that transformation is coming. I must stay the course and have faith that God is the beginning and end of my movements and that I am not complete until I am fully caught up in His loving embrace.