All of us have been there. Cage Stage. It's where you find out about something and you're so passionate and zealous about it that it becomes everything you talk about. For some it's Calvinism, for others it's gender roles, for a few it's end times views. In a few years, it'll be something else.
Whatever your recently discovered fascination is, let me offer you four ways to get out of your cage.
1) Grow up - I don't mean this condescendingly. I mean it in love. Most of the time, the remedy to cage stage fascination is a few years of experience, getting married, and having kids. If nothing else, you're too tired to be zealous about something that doesn't matter. What we're passionate about in our youth we learn as we get older that it's not as big a deal as we once thought. Age, wisdom, and maturity are vitamins to our soul. To steal a line from the SBC this week, 2019 Scott has a lot to say to 2005 Scott who'd read more about TULIP than his humility could take.
2) Get outside the echo chamber - One of the reasons why our cage stage is so strong is that we find ourselves in an echo chamber of like-mindedness. Twitter only serves to multiply that, when we develop an insulated community of people who are also in their cage stage. Spending time with people who think different than you will help serve to refine and polish you.
3) Refocus on the main thing - Almost always, our cage stage is on a secondary or tertiary issue. In the grand scheme of things, it's not that big a deal. Our main thing is the Gospel: the good news of great joy that hope can be found in Christ. When we recalibrate our lives on the main thing, on keeping (HT to JD Greear) the Gospel above all, we'll see our cage stage fascination pale in comparison to the glories of the Gospel.
4) Spend time with seasoned leaders - If you're in ministry and you're in a cage stage, go spend some time with some seasoned (older) leaders. They've seen the fads and trends come and go. They've seen the fascination with end times charts and 88 Reasons and Left Behind. They've seen that all of these trends ebb and flow. And they've got something that we in our youthful zeal for our secondary issue don't have: wisdom. I give a lot of credit on this in my life to my father in law, who put his hand on my shoulder during one of my cage stage discussions and told me to relax. Over the years, he's proven invaluable to me to help think through issues.
What was your cage stage, and how did you break out?
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.