In case you aren’t certain of what a paradigm shift means, let me reassure you that all will become clear. Meanwhile, let’s take a short trip down memory lane.
“So the king said to Joseph, ‘God has shown you all this. There is no one as wise and as understanding as you are, so I will put you in charge of my palace. All the people will obey your orders, and only I will be greater than you.’ ” Genesis 41:39-40 New Century Version
I fit into the tail-end of the generation known as Baby-Boomers, the marked increase of births launched at the end of WWII. We were the first to grow up on the emerging entertainment medium called television! Suddenly there was a whole new world to experience beyond the borders of home, the block where we played, and the city where we lived.
It was a time of harried creativity, seeking to meet the needs of what would be termed the “viewing public.” The all-consuming questions for those sprinting to grasp the magnitude of this newest sensation were many! What did people want to watch? What would hold their interest? How long could their attention be held? What boundaries should, could or would control those producing the television programs? Unless or until those boundaries, what and how much could they slip past the viewing public? And so the battle raged for control of the minds of the afore mentioned viewing public, every man, woman, and child. Those shadowy figures who determined the programing and chose exactly what would be fed through this new medium were quite willing to experiment with our conscious and sub-conscious minds.
Quiz shows had already been a popular choice for radio, and were an automatic staple of television. However, as popular as reality television is today, the game show was an instant success, instilling hopes that the little guy could come out on top! Even if it meant sacrificing a bit, or maybe a major amount, of dignity for the opportunity to be chosen to win, or more often to lose! “Let’s Make a Deal” was a favorite show with host Monte Hall. Contestants dressed as outrageously as possible to draw the host’s attention. They also brought something to “trade” for whatever Monte Hall may offer. Sometimes the trade was for money, or it might be something behind a curtain, a door, or in a box. The catch (you know there is always a catch) was whatever you traded to receive might be amazing, wonderfully expensive, or nothing more than junk! Would it be a room full of brand new furniture, a trip to Hawaii, would the curtain open to show you’d just won a donkey chewing a mouthful of straw? You just didn’t know till all was said and done!
Paradigm: 1. a theory or a group of ideas about how something should be done, made, or thought about. 2. a framework containing the basic assumptions, ways of thinking, and methodology that are commonly accepted (Merriam-Webster)
A paradigm shift is a different frame or lens through which one considers the same things one was considering before the paradigm shift occurred. That is, the frame (or lens) changes the issues and allows us to ‘see’ the world differently. Our perspective literally shifts with the acquisition of new information/new paradigm/new way of looking at things. Nan Waldman via Quora
Each of the photos shows the sea in the background, the waves are so high that if you were unfamiliar with the ocean, you could think those towering waves would crash over to cover everything in the foreground. In fact, standing on the beach in front of the waves could give you the same impression. The paradigm shift is in understanding unless these are photos of a tsunami, those waves will smooth out to roll onto the beach one layer at a time.
At last we are here with Joseph, in game show terms, his Door # 3 or Alternate Universe, his Paradigm Shift. It was clear he would not return to what he’d left behind. He had rocketed from slave to prisoner to second most powerful man in Egypt, with absolute authority over everything and everyone except Pharaoh. I would call that one of the greatest of Paradigm Shifts, ever. Once more Joseph’s world is up-ended; he finds himself smack-dab in the center of a paradigm shift. The life altering circumstances directed by God place Joseph exactly where God’s plan always had him. Everything in Joseph’s life had led to this moment and the ministry to come through Joseph still to be accomplished. His greatest paradigm shift was yet to come. It would be among the most difficult transitions of thought and acceptance anyone might be asked to make.
As amazing as Joseph’s story is concerning his experiences in Egypt, we need to remain focused on what God seeks: the healing of our relationship with Him and with those He brings into our lives as healing agents. Over and Over God brings to our attention the futility of relationships without Him. How convoluted those relationships can become! This is God’s paradigm shift for us, we are exposed to God’s reconnection of those relationships that have been severed. He also shows us what happens when our choice is made for disconnection, essentially to choose death.
“Then the king said to Joseph, ‘Look I have put you in charge of all the land of Egypt.’ Then the king took off from his own finger his ring with the royal seal on it, and he put it on Joseph’s finger. He gave Joseph fine linen clothes to wear, and he put a gold chain around Joseph’s neck.” Genesis 41:41,42 New Century Version
Experiencing one or more paradigm shift is inherent in the Grace experience. As we experience God’s recreation in us, we realize life looks different. That which we thought was an absolute need is discovered to be expendable. How we view those God sends to us changes dramatically as we understand who we are. No one is more than, and no one is less than. We are the apple of our Creator’s eye! Just as God announced Himself to Moses as “I am,” so we may with confidence given by the “I am” declare “we are.” Ultimately, the goal is in realizing we are His, and this is all that really matters. For when that truth is in place everything else fits as it was always meant to do!