Wednesday, August 27, 2014
A Need to Be Understood?
By Micky Wolf
In recent days, found myself part of a small group of Christian women talking about the joy (and suffering) we experience as we allow God to work through each of us. All well and good—until the Divine decided it was the perfect opportunity for Him to get my attention.
The issue at hand? In sharing about my personal journey it became crystal clear, in an instant, that I can get too distracted with “the need to be understood”. (This ‘need’ has nothing to do with wanting to be right or needing everyone in the room to be in lock-step agreement, entirely different topics.)
A time and place…
As a writer, I’m only too aware of the importance of stringing words and sentences together in a way that doesn’t leave the reader confused or struggling to understand the point.
However, communicating with that kind of clarity is not the same as the person needing to be affirmed, in some way, that the reader or hearer fully comprehends the idea or concept being set forth.
For example: when I communicated to my toddlers, “do not run out into the street after the ball”, they had yet to fully comprehend moving vehicles and little children are not a healthy combination. The exhortation was clear, yet it would be sometime before they actually understood why this was a nonnegotiable rule.
The same is true when it comes to our Christian walk. You and I understand and comprehend God’s Truth and Love differently today than we did yesterday. That is very good thing—we are truly works in progress. So then, why do we put undue pressure on ourselves (or others)—or worse yet, develop expectations of any description—about how quickly or how thoroughly each of us is becoming more Christ-like? God’s time, place, and the way in which He chooses to knock on the door of our hearts is something known only by Him. Period.
To comprehend is…
…to grasp the nature, the significance or meaning of (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Communicating clearly and authentically means making a commitment to being honest and vulnerable with thoughts, emotions, and actions. As Christians, when we choose to live and behave in this manner, we are to trust the process of comprehending to something that occurs within each of us, through the presence of God and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to ‘grasping the nature, the significance or meaning of’ an event, a circumstance or an idea. Or, for that matter, another person’s perspective in any given situation. In fact, it is the unique perspective each of us bring to community which may be used of God to reveal a deeper Truth or insight. Ergo, the previously described encounter with the other women.
Being so focused on the need to be understood—which on some level involves having evidence to indicate that has occurred—takes our eyes off Jesus and places them on the flesh, the human need to know, to have assurance, to be certain.
If we insist on being understood as a prerequisite or requirement by which to measure the quality or fullness of our relationship with others, we risk stepping into a form of God-playing. Why? We need look no further than the earliest moments of inspired Scripture.
The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. The LORD God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die. (Genesis 2:15-17)
In other words, “do not run out into the street after the apple”.