Why

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Asking Why

“Don’t let your will roar when your power only whispers.”

—– Thomas Fuller

(accessed on 12/5/13 at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/thomasfull151926.html)

That quote brought an uneasy chuckle to my lips and had me shaking my head more than once. I hate it when some quote hits me between the eyes like this one did. It means I need to listen. I need to pay attention.

This one made me think about all the times I’ve wasted in my life being willful and repeatedly trying to do or fix something  all by myself when I actually had no power to do so. I’d like to think I’ve “grown out” of this character defect, but the truth is I still can get caught up in my own stubborn self-will more often than I like to admit.

In two meetings I’ve participated in this past week, the topic of “asking why” was a topic of discussion. I often enjoy asking why and trying to figure out what makes something do what it is doing. And, yes, I can use asking why as a smoke screen to keep myself from focusing on what I’m going to do about a problem rather than wasting my time analyzing it to death.

Somehow understanding something gives me a sense of control, of being “safe,” if you will. If I understand the answer to why, maybe I can avoid encountering the same problem or situation again in the future. This line of reasoning, comes from my upbringing because I always wanted to know why I was getting in trouble and why what I was doing was wrong. I was scolded for “talking back” when I would ask why, so now, being the emancipated elder adult that I am—–I still love having the freedom to ask why. Actually, when I was a small child, my “why question” may have been the safest way for me to disagree or rebel. So when I ask why in the present sometimes I can get caught up in asking why because of my allergy to authority.

That last sentence brings me back to today’s quote—–when I feel my power is threatened  (especially by an “authority” outside myself) I often  explode in “self will run riot”. My response is very much like whistling in the dark with my “roaring will” to cover up and/or hide from myself the fact that I am feeling powerless threatened. I know in my soul God uses my feeling powerless to make me teachable and right-sized. It can force acceptance and initiate healing.  But knowing this can, for me,  be far removed from actually letting God do His magic. I have to focus on “feeding my willingness” to surrender, let go, and let God. One of the ways I do this is by reminding myself of something I’ve been telling clients for years—-“knowing why is not as important as figuring out what you are going to do about it.” Real wisdom comes with the realization that “what I’m going to do about it” is turn it over to God so he and I can work on it together.

I am slowly learning to trust God rather than getting bogged down in intellectualizing, asking why, and otherwise rebelling. I am learning to trust what God is creating in me when I am willing to release a character defect—-which, in this case, is my willingness to stop rebelling against my lack of control/power, to willingly ask God for help, and to accept that help. I am learning to trust that when I give up something has always been one of my problematic ways of reacting to life God will create something better to take its place. When I can practice surrender and acceptance rather than rebellion, worry, and fear it is amazing how much more easy and peaceful my life is!

I hope all these meandering words will make sense to my readers. I hope some of you will comment about the role “asking why” plays in your life. May God bless and keep you.

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