The following post was written by Desiree M. Mondesir. Desiree is the author of Godly Government, Faith and the Imagination, and How to Write Fiction that Doesn’t Suck. Please follow her on twitter and visit her website.
I was once hanging out with two friends on a late-night IHOP binge. One was a guy friend, the other was my ex. I was originally seated by my guy friend, that was until my ex decided it’d be better if I sat by him. So I did. And by some stroke of idiocy, he started asking me about my “kissing rules.” (What rules I had for kissing guys.) And I told him, “I only kiss guys I date; only guys I’m in an actual relationship with.” And he slyly said, “That’s a very nice theory…but let’s test that theory…”
I think I turned red. Why? Because inside I was screaming, “NO!!!! DON’T TEST MY THEORY!!!!” You see, I was still in love with him–which he knew–and although my theory had proven true for the past few years, I think we both knew it’d shatter in a few seconds if he were to actually test that theory. Thankfully, a mutual friend showed up and became the welcomed distraction that allowed me to wiggle out of what would have been an EXTREMELY awkward situation. And although ridiculous, the situations provokes an honest question: can you test your theories?
The Free Dictionary defines theory as “[explaining] scientific observations.” It also states, “scientific theories must be falsifiable.” To be falsifiable is to be “capable of being falsified, counterfeited, or corrupted; able to be proven false, and therefore testable” (Free Dictionary). In short, a theory is a school of thought that must be tested in order to be proven true or false. My “kissing theory,” had it been tested, would have absolutely failed, and even the mere knowledge of this falsified it. But what about the theories you’ve developed about life, love, and marriage?
My parents had three kids: my elder sister, me, and my younger brother. My sister and I always had the good, concerned teachers in elementary school. However, my brother was stuck with the dragons and beauty queens. In this environment, especially with his draconian third grade teacher, he came to believe he was unintelligent. And all too often, when we are told this enough, we begin to believe it. And then we perform at that level. But his theory hadn’t been tested. The little black boy is not likely to get the attention that sees deeper than his past educators’ reports to pull out his potential. He continued to operate at this expected level academically until he found himself in a good and healthy high school environment.
Others of you may have been trained by unloving or unthinking parents who’ve told you you were stupid or ugly. You, like my brother, may have started to believe it or at least act accordingly. But have you tested those theories?
Growing up, we believe that we will go to college, finish, get a BOMB job, get married, then start a family. Professors will train you to believe that if you just pass their class, if you can just walk across that graduation stage, that you will land your dream job before your Summer is even started well. But I think a lot of you college grads have tested that theory and realised it doesn’t always go down like that.
And certainly in relationships, through what our parents have taught us (and what they didn’t), through what they modelled to us (and what they didn’t), through what our friends experience, and through the media we expose ourselves to, we have all formulated our own theories. But are they true? Have you tested that theory? Have you dated outside of your hypothetical box or check list?
What about your relationship with God? Do you have one? Are you on the fence? Is He a complete and total stranger to you? Are you riding off of the beliefs of your parents and grandparents? your pastor(s)? your friends? Do you just believe what someone told you to believe? Can the people in your life test your spiritual theories? What is the outcome? What fruit are you bearing?
Don’t Be Afraid of Testing Your Theories
We can’t be afraid of testing our theories in every area of our life. Even God says, “Try Me now in this…” So who are we to be above testing? Allowing your life theories to be tested may literally save your life.
I once heard of a little girl who performed an experiment involving growing plants in two separate types of water. Seed was planted and watered with water that had been microwaved to boiling, then allowed to cool, and poured onto the soil. The second plant seed (same as the first) underwent the same process as the first except the water for this plant had been boiled on the stovetop. The result was that the seed with the microwaved water grew extremely poorly because the nutrients had been literally zapped out of the water. And you thought microwaving was healthy.
Like the water in the plant experiment, your theories may be well-intended, but lacking what you truly need to get you where you need to go. It’s time to open up. Be honest with your inner circle. Take a long, hard, introspective look. Don’t be afraid to let God and life falsify your theories. Without this testing, you will never mature into the person you should be.