My Dad's got this saying that he pulls out when he wants to call somebody a know-it-all without saying as much. "She's sure gotta lot of answers right now," he'll comment with a shake of the head. I grin on the inside thinking about it. I know for a fact that he's said that about me at some point or another. I don't think any of us actually realize when we're being know-it-alls until after the fact. In recognition that I'm the first person in the guilty-as-charged line, I present:
How to know when you've "gotta lot of answers." (Goofy sarcasm intended)
1. It's really difficult not to interrupt a conversation.
We all know somebody who could use our help right? Somebody who could use some fixin'? How can they not realize the solution is so simple? They need to hear what we have to say NOW! If they could just listen and make a few easy changes, life would be a lot easier (mostly for us, because let's face it, their problem is inconvenient).
2. We speak harshly, but are pretty sure that it was necessary.
The words just flow from the mouth so easily because, in our minds, it's the darn truth! Who cares if it was a little harsh, they'll thank us for it later...after experiencing the epiphany we just set into motion with the brilliance of our wisdom, of course.
3. We're standing at the peak of the mountain and can't remember what the valley feels like.
You know what the worst thing that could ever happen to us is? The very worst thing would be that we never experience hard things. Sure, we'd get to walk around all proud and accomplished, but we'd never learn to recognize pain on the face of another or be able to genuinely join the celebration when a friend overcomes a challenge.
It's easy to give everybody else answers when things are going well in life. It's much harder to experience pain ourselves, to allow the necessary healing, and then to be able to extend grace to somebody else who's going through a tough time.
4. We've done a quick self-assessment, and yep, thank goodness, that's not me!
I love how the author of the Message puts it in Proverbs 16:18, "First pride, then the crash-- the bigger the ego, the harder the fall." Falls are unavoidable because we happen to live in a crazy, messed-up world. They're important! The more quickly we embrace our own imperfection, the more readily we lend a hand to someone else.
Yikes! I've been guilty of all four of these Know-It-All moves at some point in my life - probably just this week. How about you?
This week, I simply pray compassion and humility over all of us. Compassion for ourselves. Compassion for others. Let's not wallow in them, but may we never forget our own mistakes and the mercy God offers to us. We can extend our own dirtied, calloused hands to those stumbling all around us...just making their way back home.
“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” Luke 8:39
A fellow know-it-all and work in progress,
"The story was about his friend who is a Navy SEAL...The folksinger said his friend was performing a covert operation, freeing hostages from a building in some dark part of the world. His friend's team flew in by helicopter, made their way to the compound and stormed into the room where the hostages had been imprisoned for months. The room, the folksinger said, was filthy and dark. The hostages were curled up in a corner, terrified.
When the SEALS entered the room, they heard the gasps of the hostages. They stood at the door and called to the prisoners, telling them they were Americans. The SEALS asked the hostages to follow them, but they wouldn't. They sat there on the floor and hid their eyes in fear. They were not of healthy mind and didn't believe their rescuers were really Americans.
The SEALS stood there, not knowing what to do. They couldn't possibly carry everybody out. One of the SEALS, the folksinger's friend, got an idea. He put down his weapon, took off his helmet, and curled up tightly next to the other hostages, getting so close his body was touching some of theirs. He softened the look of his face and put his arms around them....None of the prison guards would have done this. He stayed there a little while until some of the hostages started to look at him, finally meeting his eyes...Will you follow us? he said. The hero stood to his feet and one of the hostages did the same, then another, until all of them were willing to go."
(Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz)
Believer. Wife. Mom. Writer. Marriage and Family Therapist. Accidental Speaker. Crossfitter and Total Book Nerd.
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