“I just want to know!”
I’ve uttered some variation of that phrase almost daily since learning to talk. Like many of you, I relish the opportunity of learning–I want to grasp and understand as much as I am able to stuff in my head.
It’s a wonderful thing to desire knowledge. Period. What I’m also understanding, though, is that knowledge is far too often conflated with (or, lumped with) control. For that, we can partially thank Sir Francis Bacon–that and the good ole’ scientific method. In 1597, Bacon famously wrote the oft-quoted “knowledge is power.”
What’s Better than Knowledge?
What Bacon wrote is true in many senses. We cannot aspire to make an impact in this world if we don’t have any knowledge–about ourselves, our surroundings, leadership, etc. Education is a vital gift. And yet, it’s what we do with that knowledge that creates the potential for change.
Want to know something ridiculous? As a child, I used to worry that every new song I learned or factoid I heard would push something else out of my brain–something my young mind deemed to be a vital piece of information. That’s not true, thank goodness. But what is true is that there’s no use in any of that info taking up space in our brains if we don’t actually do something with it.
That lived experience is what we call wisdom.
I’ve forfeited a lot of experiences in my life, but what I haven’t lost is wisdom. That’s because wisdom isn’t usually discovered on the smooth roads in life. Wisdom is found on golden platters and gritty pavements–“good” and the “bad.”
Why am I telling you this? Well, I guess I’ve been thinking a lot lately about unknowns… I want to know what the next three weeks will look like, when I’ll get to visit loved ones, and if I’ll really be able to fully recover from an eating disorder (and yes, I 100000% believe I can and will). I want to know how I’ll change this coming year (will I grow more dependent on God?). I want to know what God’s doing and how the weather’s looking and if I’ve made the right choices and when I’ll feel like a real adult. I want to read every book, utilize every minute in the best way, and impact all the people God wants me to reach.
The list goes on and on, and I’m sure yours does too. I stare at my calendar and see one square after another indicating that I’ve wasted time… wasted life… wasted away.
That seems morose, and perhaps it would be if not for the hope of Christ. Even in that hope though, I struggle with not knowing what will come. I struggle to reconcile my deep sin with the knowledge that a holy God seeks my good (that seems like a scam…. ya know?)
Know it All? No Thanks!
Knowing what I didn’t know as a child, I’d absolutely prefer wisdom over knowledge. Information alone can cripple us because our finite brains can’t grasp the past, present, and future in any helpful way.
If I had known a year ago what 2022 would entail, I’m not sure how I would have responded. Thankfully, God knew I wasn’t ready for all those steps at once. I stepped onto a sandy beach on Amelia Island. That was all I knew at the time and was the only step I was willing to take. I stepped from there to chaos–a realization that a one-week mental health intensive wasn’t going to cut it. Since Bring Your Brokenness had not yet opened The Charis House, I stepped into the world of Google. I scoured every message board, review, and photo. I talked to anyone and everyone who would discuss a treatment experience with me. I treaded lightly, but I treaded nonetheless.
The steps I have taken since a year ago are an interesting work of art–yours are too. Sometimes we stomp or run. Sometimes, we tiptoe or drag our feet. Each inch matters though because it’s boldly taken by faith. I didn’t know how God was going to use great pain to orchestrate healing. At the time, it felt like a cacophony of drumbeats were ricocheting in my head with every hard moment. Honestly, it still feels like that.
You probably experience your own sorts of temptations, trials, and frustrations. Welcome to humanity! In all seriousness though, I want you to know that you aren’t alone in the messy middle moments of life. I also want you to know that the only way out is not through. You can very well avoid this growth opportunity by simply stepping backward. But you don’t want to do that, trust me. When we do that, the world increasingly shrinks until anxiety seems to be our only companion.
To embrace the unknown, on the other hand, is to accept a peripheral blur as our companion in the journey. That’s pretty daunting. And yet: the blur isn’t so frightening when we fix our eyes on where each footprint lands.
I’ll never be naturally gifted at welcoming the unknown in life. I am grateful, however, that God has shown me numerous examples of His perfect timing in these last few years. I trust that He will let us know what’s up when He’s ready. Until then, you and I can choose to utterly depend on the only One who has a perfect track record of faithfulness.