"...many of us waste our life's energy on our desire 'to know,' to 'get it right.' We squander our time and creativity looking for the cookie cutter answer instead of just walking the path God has laid for us. We overlook the beauty of life rushing to figure it out."
And then there are others, like myself, who seem too in awe with life to settle on anything definitive. Instead, we want to visit many of life's rooms, touch and feel the different fabric, sit down at a table for long conversations and a meal with a stranger. Uncertain about the big life list. No five year plan. Taking it one season or year at a time.
Believe it or not, for the last few years this "uncertainty" has almost had me pulling out my hair in frustration! Aren't we suppose to know, once we are adults, what we want in life? Doesn't certainty hit you when you hit 40, if not before? And shouldn't "the plan" be a proven, well trotted path?
I'm thankful I've done some of the "you're supposed to…" stuff. I've gotten an advance college degree, I worked a corporate job in an office that had a window, I've lived in a fast and metropolitan city. But none of that has led me to any answers. Just more questions! Ultimately, all of this pointed me into a different direction of fulfillment.
Still, I can't help but to ask, what's next? Is this where I'm supposed to be? That's when, the other day as I was driving, it dawned on me -- maybe I am just supposed to live the questions.
The great poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, in his book, "Letters to a Young Poet" writes:
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the
questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now
written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which
cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And
the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you
will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into
The Habitual Rush to Know
We are in an era of instant information. Go to a dinner with friends and let a conversation involve a question that no one is sure how to answer and what will happen? At least one person will pull out their "smart" phone to google the answer. We can't wait until after dinner to know for sure the population of the city. We must google it while having our sushi and sake.
There is this habitual rush to know. But what if we don't know? What if our research on Google and in scripture doesn't lead us to the answer? What if what we thought was right for us isn't? What do we do when we just don't know? How do we respond? With newfound hope or lack of faith?
I wonder, for the ones of us who are constantly asking questions, what if we decided to live the questions instead of obsessing over finding the answers? What if we eased into the journey of embracing the question -- without holding our breath for the answer?
Could it be that God wants us, at least some of us, to just explore the questions without the rush or even pursuit of the answer? What if the answer is actually in living the question? What if there is no answer other than that?!
OK, too many questions!
What I'm getting to is that many of us waste our life's energy on our desire "to know," to "get it right." We squander our time and creativity looking for the cookie cutter answer instead of just walking (and trusting) the path God has laid for us. We overlook the beauty of life rushing to figure it out.
I'm not suggesting that we walk around aimless without goals or that we not pray for discernment and revelation. There is value in planning and seeking; scripture speaks to that. But, when we become consumed by the desire to know to the point that we overlook the beauty and wonder of the question, then it becomes less about our desire to be with God and more about desire to please our false self, which ultimately leads to nowhere good.
What I have discovered and continue to, thankfully, is that when I think of God as not only in the answer but also the question, I become more opened to what God has for me -- which is often more surprising and pleasing than any answer I could imagine.