I was reading an interesting book the other day and I paused when I ran across this quote:
“When I admit I don’t know something, at that point, it enables me to find out and learn. The know-it-alls of this world are too busy trying not to feel insecure to open their minds to learn.”*
Maybe not the best grammatically written sentences, and perhaps they may be filled with a touch of judgement, but the truth within them stood out to me: we are either “learners” or “insecure.”
If we weren’t insecure we’d probably be willing to learn about anything. Now in today’s age we “google” everything; we can look up anything or anybody. And we do. However, what we don’t tend to look up are subjects in those areas we think we already know something. If we feel like we already know something, there’s no need to search for more. We’re “know-it-alls” as this writer put it.
The learners always look for more to learn, ways to improve or do more efficiently. I believe these are those who want to go from “good to great.” And why wouldn’t you? Well, basically because of insecurity.
I used to be quite insecure about many things — computer skills, public speaking, any sort of ‘performance’ in front of people. Some topics I had a little skill or experience, but there were other areas where I just didn’t want to try because I thought I would fail. I didn’t see failing as an option, I saw it as rejection. But if you can’t fail, you can’t learn. I needed to let go of my insecurities.
How did I let go of my insecurities? Father’s love. The more I learned (and experienced) how much He loves me, accepts me, and doesn’t judge me, the more I’m willing to try. There is freedom to fail. No matter what the world may say about me, I’m still okay. I’m still loved.
Imagine a little crawling baby who pulls himself up on the coffee table for the first time and thinks about taking a step. What does the father do? He cheers him on, encouraging him to take a step. His tiny legs wobble as he attempts the feat. But what if he falls? (He probably will several times.) The father will smile and inspire him to keep trying until he’s eventually walking on his own. I believe Father God is just like this. He’s not afraid of my failings, so why should I be? It’s a part of learning and growing.
So when I use my Duolingo app to study Spanish and I loose all my hearts (life) on some of the lessons and have to quit, I don’t condemn myself. He doesn’t. I’m learning. When I can’t find something at the grocery store, I ask someone. I used to be too insecure to do that; I’d go through the whole place up and down every aisle and then leave if I couldn’t find it myself. I was ashamed I couldn’t figure it out on my own. Father never shames me.
There’s nothing wrong with not knowing something. (Double negative on purpose!) Father God is our security blanket. He is always with us. And I’m learning that not knowing something is a perfect opportunity to learn. Of course, I’m not perfectly secure in everything, and there are times when I need ministry to dig into why I’m struggling with being insecure in certain areas, but I try to keep moving forward.
When I admit I don’t know something, it causes me to trust Father even more. If my security, approval, and love come from Him and no one else, I’m free to learn anything and not fear judgement.
*Quote from Off the Grid by Capt. Mark J. Reinhardt