Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Know it All

From a worldly point of view there is no mistake so great as that of being always right. ~Samuel Butler, Note-Books, 1912

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Don't you just love those people who always seem to know it all? You know the type I am talking about -- the ones who, during a conversation, often interject the word actually. "Well, actually, the chicken had to come before the egg because..." "Well, actually, I am a pompous ass." Okay they don't actually say that last one, but they might as well.

We all encounter these people in our lives. It makes me wonder -- what drives someone to be a know it all? Why do they feel the need to be right all the time. I think that the answer is fear. So many roadblocks in our lives can be attributed to that (not so) little word -- fear. I think frequently, folks feel afraid that if others see them as they really are, they will not be liked, so theyexalt themselves to expert in all subjects.

The problem is that one can never relax in this constant state of readiness. She ahs to always be ready with the correct information in which to stump her fellow confabulator. It has to be tiring, always trying to win an argument when the person she is talking to never even realizes that the pleasant chat they were having was actually a debate. She walks away with a victory in her pocket -- the fact that she actually knew the facts to a tee. However, her friend is shaking her head and wondering why she even bothers to have a conversation with her; it always feels like she is trying to one up her. It starts to wear on the friendship.

It is indeed impossible to always be right about everything. Furthermore, we weren't put on the earth to know all of the answers all of the time. As a Christian, I believe that God made us with an inquiring mind that seeks to know the answers to all of life's queries. It's true that we have a tremendous capacity for knowledge, but we will never know it all.

It is my belief that only God knows all the answers. That is why scripture cautions us not to lean on our own understanding, but to acknowledge God in all ways. It is only then that who we are to be can come to fruition. If we hold so tightly to our own intelligence that we are living in fear of being wrong, then we are surely not living our best life.

God longs for us to live victorious lives. He wants the best for us, just as we want the best for our children. We must learn to let go of our own pride and relinquish our hold on our own perception of perfect understanding and concede that God alone knows it all. It is a lot less taxing and infinitely more joyful.