Thinking for herself

Think for YourselfA simple quote posted on a Facebook wall …

“Think for Yourself, Question Everything” stirred up some interesting conversations from people who had a few things to say regarding how they were taught in school. I myself had a few things to say in regards to my frustration at having a strong desire to learn and being curious about everything – only to be told to “shut-up, sit-down, DON’T-question, do-as-you-are-told”.  When I’d ask “Why?” The answer was always, “So you’ll know how to follow instructions.”

Thinking that I was wrong as I grew older, because of my insatiable appetite to know why and how things work, I learned to suppress my questions and turn inward to seek answers. Frankly, my favorite memories are the conversations I’d have with God about such things because He never scolded me for asking, but instead, in an uncanny timing of events, something in nature would happen that would give me an answer to my question. 

A simple walk in a park along a nature path can reveal amazing things. As I walked and talked about pressures and complaints, my eyes would fall upon an Evergreen branch with twists of tiny pine cones clumped together at the end as if in captured in a snap-shot of a celebratory dance. The message … “Live life on the edge, dance and celebrate. Give thanks and rejoice.”

The burden would lift and I’d laugh – and give thanks.

It was much more complicated, however when I’d participate in a church service and be confused by some of the events unfolding in the service. People would clap when it seemed as thought they should sit and be quiet. Or a speaker would quote something and I’d think, “I don’t think that’s what that means.”

To one leader, when I asked about why people were shouting and clapping instead of praying, his response was, “When you are leading, you’ll do it your way – they are in charge now and this is what they feel is best.” This wasn’t a snippy comment or sarcastic in the least. It was given in a spirit of understanding and love and I received it as such and was satisfied – for the time being. 

I’ll never forget that moment, but it has caused me to question many times, why we do things the way we do it. Years later while in a leadership conference a missionary was speaking and said some extremely insightful and profound things. A spirit of worship fell on every listener and in response a resounding applause rippled through the crowd and nearly drowned out the speaker. 

I wanted to run up and give her a hug when she spoke up strongly and said, “Stop doing what you are programmed to do! LISTEN to what the Spirit says. Your clapping is drowning out His voice!” She proceeded to say that our programmed responses were getting in the way of our growth. I loved it. She put into words what I could not say but felt.

She we never clap? Never dance? Never shout? Not at all. 

What is needed, is to give yourself permission to ask questions. Questions that will peel the layers off of our programmed responses and the traditional beliefs that are preventing you from experiencing freedom and growth.

The traditional method of teaching people to be quiet, not to question and to memorize what they are told is a rock solid method of teaching us as a people and is reinforced over and over through laws, regulations, and teachings of etiquette.  If you do not do it as you are taught – the message is that you are wrong.

How can we grow if we do not ask “Why?” How will we learn if we do not seek “How?” And how will be ever make a decision if we never ask, “When?”

If something in your life right now doesn’t feel “right”, QUESTION why? Is it an emotional reaction that is triggering a shadowed memory from the past? If the answer is yes, keep asking questions to get to the root of it – so that you can make a better decision. 

Just because something is deemed “right” for one person, doesn’t mean that it is right for you. Notice your experience and adjust your outcome by asking questions. History is filled with events of people who were led like sheep to the slaughter.  

For today, re-frame what you consider to be “right” into asking “Is this beneficial?”  The opposite of that is “harmful” or “not-of-benefit.” Then make the better choice … for YOU.

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