The other day, I was confronted. I might have been accosted. I definitely know that I was part of an intervention. Basically, someone that I am acquaintances with got all serious and said this: "Alright, I’m going to pick on you for a second. Is everything alright? Are you having some serious problems? I just sense that you are feeling pensive lately." I’ve got a ton of issues with this, so come on an adventure with me as we discover the issues together!
A :: I don’t know why this question was asked. The questioner said that I just seem upset. I countered with the fact that I have introverted tendencies and so sometimes I’m quiet. Why does quiet imply upset? Just for the record, I’m not upset. Well, I’m kind of upset about the incident, but before that I wasn’t upset. And I’m not really upset right now.
B :: Pensive is a poor word choice. If you are going to throw down a rarely used word, pick a good one. Pensive means "thoughtful reflection, meditative, contemplating." The only poor connotation of the word is that it can "include some sadness." But other than that, I am delighted to be called pensive. There are far too many times I’m not thoughtful or reflective, and I speak too quickly. Again, I think there is a misunderstanding that being quiet equals being upset. But here’s my real beef…
C :: You gotta earn the right to ask this question. Even if I was having "big problems," I wasn’t going to tell this guy. Don’t get me wrong, I like him, but the "big problem" conversation is reserved for people that I know and trust and have shared some life experience together. It’s not for the guy you share a cubicle with or the person who bags your groceries.
Earning the right to ask questions is an important concept to grasp. As a minister, I would be a fool to think that I just have automatic credibility in people’s lives. Those days are over. If I want to be an influence, I’m going to need to be present and available. I don’t need to march in with all of my knowledge and make people let me care for them. Hasn’t someone said "People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care"
Before I got all Hallmark Card, I did have a point. Not only do we need to earn the right to ask big questions with other people around us, I think we need to earn the right to ask our Creator big questions. If you look at the story of Job, you see Job suffer and question and plead and suffer some more. Only after he has suffered and endured and remained faithful does God respond to Job.
Our church has begun the WHY> study, a 40-day campaign about asking life’s biggest questions. It’s good to ask these questions, but sometimes we are like kids at Christmas. Forget about waiting, we want the present now. The answers to questions like "Why is the world messed up" and "What does God want me to do with my life" take time. You don’t get those in a day. In fact, those answers may take a lifetime.