Then Job said to the Lord, I know that You can do all things, and that no thought or purpose of Yours can be restrained or thwarted. [You said to me] Who is this that darkens and obscures counsel [by words] without knowledge? Therefore [I now see] I have [rashly] uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. [I had virtually said to You what You have said to me:] Hear, I beseech You, and I will speak; I will demand of You, and You declare to me. I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You. Therefore I loathe [my words] and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6 Amplified Bible
I think many people have thought that I can be quick to judge other people or quick to come to conclusions about things. After many years of self-reflection and marinating on these Bible verses, I can now admit, just like Job, that I have been quick to judge and comment on things that I did not understand. Luckily for me, my comment was usually something like “What are you talking about?!?! That makes absolutely no sense!!!” As opposed to something way more harsh. I didn’t realize until Steadman pointed it out to me years ago, that I constantly left out 2 important words at the end of the last sentence: “to me”. I never presented things in a least a slightly tempered way. I always presented them in such a way that it sounded like my statement was a fact: “What you just said, makes no sense [to anyone].” In hind sight this is a much more forceful statement than: “I’m don’t think I understand what you’re trying to say” or “Something you’re saying isn’t making sense to me.”
Having realized all these things, I’m now trying to refine my approach to how I express that I don’t understand. I ask questions. I say “I’m missing something…” instead of the harsher options I’ve used I the past. But more importantly, I really try to understand the frame of mind or perspective of the person that I’m speaking to. By doing this more regularly, I hope that I can at least appear to be considerate enough to warrant a more detailed explanation. (Just the thought of this is laughable considering that over the last decade I’ve been told, after-the-fact, that I have verbally annihilated so many people in so many conversations. But a girl can dream!!!!)
The most unfortunate part about having operated this way for so long is that I question what wonderful things I may have missed out on. Like Job said: “…things too wonderful for me…” I hope that as I move forward I remember these lessons so that I am able to learn more from other people’s life experiences. At the end of the day, I’m very glad that I’ve been able to constantly self-reflect over the years and I’m even more glad each time that I make a new revelation about myself and how I fit into the world by studying each Bible passage each month.
What are some of the things that you’ve learned about yourself over the past few years? Are you glad that you asked yourself the hard questions that led to your breakthrough?