Today a quiet piece of knowledge came to me. For a moment, I had a glimpse into the mind of my child, when she didn’t know I was watching, and I saw a side of her that isn’t normally obvious. She was fiercer than I normally see her, and I saw how differently she has interpreted some of her life’s experiences from what I expected.
My daughter has probably tried to tell me these things many times, but I didn’t hear her. I insisted on seeing her the way I wanted to see her, and on hearing what she said through the filter of my understanding of and expectations for her. It turns out there is so much I don’t know or understand about her.
Why is it so uncomfortable to be aware of what we don’t know? Why do we think that the expectation would be that we should know something? The Psalms tell us that God “satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”1 Those who longed and hungered for truth and His goodness received His words of truth and were empowered to change their part of the world!
This is true spiritually, but also relationally and intellectually. If we think we know something, we might miss what’s actually there. We’ll only see what we’re accustomed to seeing, and hear what we’re accustomed to hearing, unless we learn to slow down, observe, and let go of the preconceived.
We read in the book of Proverbs, “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.”2 I can get stuff done. I can go places. I can get possessions, but much more important in life is gaining wisdom and understanding.
Worse, I can miss things, like really understanding my child, if I think I already see it all and know it all. For a long time, that feeling of not knowing scared me. I preferred to stay in the shallow familiar waters, rather than launching out into anything unknown. But I have come to recognize this place of not knowing as a place of learning, and to say, “Here I am. Teach me!”
- Psalm 107:9 NLT
- Proverbs 4:7 NLT