Don’t you just love it when you tell your child to do something and they say “But why?” Sometimes that is a question we just dread hearing. Sometimes, it is a question we eagerly ask. And sometimes, it is a question we avoid asking.
“But why?” can come from a place of manipulation or curiosity
I remember questioning my parents with the “but why” question after being told do something. I had probably been told multiple times! Usually I asked this question in an attempt to prove some point about why I should not have to do what they were asking of me. I am sure they dreaded that question and knew that I was using it to push their buttons! There are other times though that I have asked the question from a truly curious perspective. I like to understand the rationale behind why I am doing something. Asking why helps me fuller understand. Once I understand (not necessarily agree, but understand) the other person’s intent then I can more easily complete the task at hand.
Asking myself “why?” does not come natural
For me, it is much easier to ask “why?” to someone else than it is to ask myself. Sometimes I just do not want to admit and face my rationale or true intent. Ouch! For example, I recently did something that really hurt someone I care about. I became irritated, yelled, accused and placed all the blame on the other person. I did not want to ask myself why I reacted in that way. I did not want to even begin to face the hurt I had caused them. I am very blessed that the other person loved me enough to ask me “why?”. At first my answer was, “because you hurt my feelings.” He was very patient with me and eventually I started asking myself “why?”. I was embarrassed by my behavior and was ready to understand why I had responded the way I did. It was not comfortable to ask myself “why?”. I did not really want to admit that my response stemmed from unmet expectations. I was expecting him to do a certain thing. Now, I had never communicated my expectation but I surely communicated when it was not met!
I do not like to stop and ask myself “why?” I am eating again even though I am not hungry. It is not comfortable to admit, even to myself, that I am procrastinating with food. I do not like to ask myself why I am getting on the scale again today because I know the answer is that I am wanting to punish myself for being “bad” yesterday.
Asking ourselves “why?” is tough but brings freedom
It is no wonder why we would want to avoid asking ourselves the question. But, asking it is freeing. It is a conversation I can have with God and/or others that brings truth into light. Ephesians 5:13 says “ But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible…” (ESV translation). Once I acknowledge what is really going on, the control it had over me dies. I become free from it’s tangled web of destruction.
Sometimes I am unable to quickly put my finger on the why and sometimes I just avoid asking. God lovingly and patiently waits with me. Others lovingly and patiently wait with me. God wants me to experience the freedom He has already given me. God does not intend for our actions to control us. Let’s ask why and experience His love and grace.
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