Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A fool does not delight in understanding...

...but only in airing his own opinions. - Proverbs 18.2

Does that remind you of anyone? If you knew me some time back (please don't say it was two weeks ago!), I acted like that a lot of the time. Do you know what I mean? When someone's talking to me, I can listen to try to understand, or I can be trying to figure out how to answer -- or looking for the time to interrupt him (while not seeming to interrupt).

What's behind that? Why did I do that so much? Why do I still do it sometimes?

Here are a few thoughts on that.
  • I'm not sure of who I am, so I have to say something to find out
  • I think I already know what you're going to say
  • I think you need to know what I'm gonna say more than I need to know what you're saying
  • I'm not sure you see me, so I say something to make myself visible
  • I'm not sure I have any value, but by "contributing" something to the discussion I hope to ease the sense of nothingness
So how can I stay focused?

I think there's a choice I have to make whenever I encounter another person. Am I going to serve you? If yes, then I don't expect or want anything back from you.

Or... am I going to use you to meet my needs? If I get mad when you don't listen to me or when you ignore my advice... that might mean I was trying to use you to make me feel like I had something of value to give. Which in turn might mean that I wasn't really sure.

How do I find out whether I have something of value? Whether I am something (or someone) of value?

I guess I have to delight in understanding instead. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (from somewhere in Proverbs). And somewhere in the Psalms it says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart".

Sounds like a plan.

posted 6/29

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