**many moons ago**
Mom: “You don’t talk to me like that!”
Me: “But you told me to say what I think!”
Mom: “Well you better fix it before it comes out of your mouth.”
Me: “Oh, so you don’t care what I think. I’ll never be able to say what I think because I always have to change it before I say it.”
**dad hears and drags mom out of the room before she commits parental homicide**
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. That was me! My pubescent golden years. Maybe even pre-pubescent. I think I was somewhere between 11 and 13 when that conversation took place. That time was the seeding place of me being obnoxiously inquisitive. I’m not sure how I lived to tell the tale honestly. Lol Must be cuz I’m so lovable.
I KNOW God had/has a plan for my life, because I surely should have died that day.
But I digress.
As I continued to flow around the riverbends of life, I became more and more inquisitive. I was always studying, observing, calculating, testing, and inquiring. I wanted to understand life in as fundamental a way as possible. Which, in itself, was a good thing. But the reasons why I wanted that understanding were 90% rooted in various fears and insecurities… some justified, some not… but weakness in the roots will always compromise your strength no matter how valid your reason is.
My fixation hinged on “but that doesn’t make sense.” Questions and logic are dispatched to apprehend the confounding culprit, and I’d rest easy delighted in having proven myself right (or more right than the other person) once again.
I know I fancy likening myself to super heroes and Jedi, but a good chunk of me became like…
Obsessed, not with just asking questions, but with asking unanswerable questions.The height of human intellect for the weak rooted mind.
I’ve had many, many experiences that led me to where I am now. The process of a sort of evolutionary excavation. Digging up the weak roots to my good plants, scraping off the weakness, and then replanting them so I can grow in whole strength. Here are a few key principles I’ve learned…
Do you have any clue how many people care about how much smarter than them that I may be? How much more logical or skilled at asking well structured questions? NONE. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nein. The foundation of humanity is relationship and the foundation of relationship isn’t questions… it’s relating (go figure).
My quest to bond with people was frequently fouled up by my desire to prove. Prove I was as smart or smarter, prove what they were saying didn’t make sense, prove that certain beliefs were inaccurate from the core… Just all bad, whether true or not.
Allow me to clarify here. I am not saying that every soured/unevolved/deteriorated relationship with people has been solely my fault. Some have. But not all. Everyone has a part to play. Everyone has weakness in their roots. Some weaknesses are just more compatible. Hence, why we can all click with certain people we clash with and must be a healthy distance from others.
Less Than 10% of Everything Actually Makes Sense
A completely made up figure, but there’s no real way to measure it, so…. Lol
The point is- it would take a lifetime to go around proving everything that needs to be proven. Probably a million lifetimes. Why? Because things that don’t make sense are everywhere! Why did that person drive ten minutes looking for cheaper gas, when all that time levels it out to the same thing? Why didn’t this other person think their betrayer friend wouldn’t betray them? Why does gravity pull down and not up?
There are explanations for all of these things, but none of them inherently make sense. It was a burnt mission from the start. I wanted to help people, but only at the expense of their humanity. That wasn’t my conscious heart intent, but it was the reality of my actions.
Identity is Clairvoyant
Being aware of who you are will save you a lot of trouble. A LOT. Not the same as being perfectly knowledgeable of yourself (nobody is). It’s an awareness. Ex: You know that you have a perpetual poker face even when happy and it irritates you when people accuse you of not being happy when they’ve done something that has made you happy. Instead of walking into that landmine, you prepare ahead of time. Learn to use phrases and change up your face a bit.
And if that doesn’t work, you make sure that you insert reassurance (rather than annoyance) if someone accuses you of being unhappy based on your poker face. Because you know yourself.
Knowing yourself also empowers you to spot a false diagnosis. When your core has changed, but your actions/words haven’t caught up yet, people will nail you to wall in the name of that old thing they knew you by. And if you’re not aware of who you are, you will be swept along believing something about yourself that is no longer true. It is 100% possible to have an internalized change that hasn’t reprogrammed all of your bad/negligent habits yet.
Even with me cleaning the weakness out of my roots, I’m aware of myself. Deep down I’m still an ask-a-holic. I want to understand life fundamentally. I want to help people in a real and unique way. And because I’m like this- I know I need to be intentional about acting relationally instead of purely inquisitively. I need to view silence as a friend, not an enemy. And I need to view people as people- not enemies.
Being aware of you who are can save SO much trouble.
Every Question Doesn’t Need to Be Asked
Have you ever asked something… and then realized you didn’t really need to? Or worse- realized that you shouldn’t have?
Here’s the thing about questions… they’re not mere conversational fruit to be plucked out of the atmosphere and munched through verbal exchange. No. Questions are doors. Doors that lead to rooms filled with more information than the question you asked. Doors that lead to rooms that have more doors.
But seduction isn’t only sexual… Someone can be seduced into co-dependency. Seduced into confusion. Seduced into clarity even. Seduction can be positive and used for learning and enlightenment, just like sexual seduction [between the wife and husband] can strengthen their marriage.
This is because seduction is rooted in context. When the context is right, the seduction is uplifting. When the context is wrong, the seduction corrupts. Seduction works mind you… it will always seduce, always have that lure to it… but if the context is wrong, it will ultimately corrupt.
Where am I going with this?
I had to severely reduce my question asking, because (in a weird Stockholm-like twist), I was seducing myself. Due to the fear and insecurity in my roots poisoning my strength, yanking at my identity, and ruining my context… My questions were doing me more harm than good. My desire to understand wasn’t coming from a whole place. I was asking the right things and entering into the wrong rooms and having to encounter beasts specifically designed to grow stronger where I am weak.
Questions are doors.
And, because I’m an ask-a-holic, I discovered that I had to learn how to choose wisely.
It’s Not That Deep
My least favorite (lol), but most transformational.
IT’S NOT THAT DEEP!!
The question, the answer, the room, the seduction, none of it. It’s not that deep. Not “unimportant,” just “not that deep.”
And here’s why.
As an ask-a-holic… about 75% of everything I discussed (and several things I haven’t) take place in my head. Many ponderings. Emotional fluctuations. Working towards self gain. All of it. Makes it about ME. Makes the WORLD about ME.
I mean, I’m pretty awesome and all, but I ain’t nothin to trip on. Not like that. The “it’s not that deep,” phenomenon – while arguably my most difficult to keep hold of – is instrumental in keeping me focused properly. It’s no secret that a plane can only elevate as high as the tilt of the nose tip. So if I’m only ever looking around and occasionally down… well it’s no wonder when ruts and negative repetition seem to overtake me. How could anything else happen?
My focus needs to be on God… not just on having faith in Him.
Faith in God and focus on God are not the same thing. I can have faith and keep my nose to the grindstone. Or I can add focus to my faith and stand on that grindstone with face and arms outstretched towards heaven.
Yes, I know God is omnipresent, but the symbolism is required. It’s an echo of a deeper truth. Not necessarily looking “up” towards a faraway God… but perceiving Someone altogether greater and more glorious than anybody- myself included.
Not about looking up, but perceiving greater.
Maybe you’re not an ask-a-holic. Maybe you’re a “something-else-a-holic.” That’s fine. Some of my confessions may apply or maybe none of them will. However I encourage you to do some digging. Reflecting. Get brutally honest with yourself. As my pastor likes to ask about isms and idiosyncracies… “How’s that been working for ya?” You are not bound.
You are always free to choose a better path.
Thank you for reading.
And in the immortal words of dear Brother Raymond…
“These are my confessions…”