While growing up I was a very average student, which was a little frustrating for me-- because my sister wasn't. She was the valedictorian of her graduating class and the one B she got on a report card still haunts her. Yeah, you heard that right...the one B. I, on the other hand was perfectly content to get a B. Actually I was pretty happy.
I really wasn't that much of a slacker and I did get my share of A's, but not because I wasn't capable of getting them. I, for some reason just didn't care as much. And there were so many fun things to do! Studying just wasn't one of them.
I'm not sure where things changed for me but now I am a bit of a study junkie. I would love to go back to college and apply myself a little more than I did there too-maybe even get my Master's degree, but I'm not sure that will ever happen. We have to get the kids through first. But in the meantime, I have developed a love to learn.
Of course learning in my situation is fun and doesn't include tests and deadlines so I guess it's not really the same. But I am a bit obsessed with books, articles, and blogs, and I love to listen to online sermons and presentations on Youtube. I end up writing about them so I guess it's like an assignment but without the pressure of being graded.
One of my favorite places to learn about things though is by watching TED Talks. If you haven't checked them out you are really missing something great. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks cover a huge amount of topics that include much more than the acronym represents. The ones I like the most are the stories of struggle that so many share and what they have learned about their experience.
One presenter once said that she felt TED should really be called FAIL because so many stories are about the expanse of failures many have experienced. But each is chosen to share their expertise or success with us often because of this failure and how they have learned to overcome it.
The latest one that has had a huge impact on me is by Simon Senik on the concept of "Why." His presentation on understanding why we do what we do is designed to help companies and organizations in following through with their plan to serve clients and customers, but I have been challenged to use his concept on a personal level.
His premise is based on the idea that we all know what we do, and even some know how we do things to accomplish better results, but we often don't really understand why we do them.
In trying to live a simpler, more focused life, I have been routinely asking the question of "Why?". "Why do I spend my time doing...?" "Why do I want to hang out with...?" "Why do I really want to eat or not eat...?" "Why do I really want to buy...?" "Why am I led to...?" "Why do I want to change...?" You get the picture.
Sometimes I realize my answers aren't good right off the bat and they reveal that I'm trying to meet a desire for something in a way that really doesn't work. Sometimes the answer reveals that the time and energy I am spending on something isn't really going to produce a payoff that really matters. And sometimes the answers reveal that what I'm doing is ok and that the purpose for having or doing something isn't a problem.
My hope in all that I do is that it aligns with how God wants me to live and that it brings glory to Him, so that means that my answers to the "Why?" questions need to work within that objective.
Some will obviously not line up at all and then I'm forced to make some choices. Some will be neutral, and some serve as confirmation to me that I'm moving in the right direction.
As I use this line of questioning in the realm of why I believe what I believe and feel the need to share my faith with others, it gets really interesting. I'm faced with questions like: "Why do I really believe in God and trust Him myself?" "Why do I believe that the Bible is true?" "Why do I really even want to tell this person about Jesus?" "Why do I think this person would be better off knowing God?" "Why do I think I can point them to God when I'm often a mess myself?"
I've had to clear away my own assumptions to get down to substantial answers. "Because I just do" doesn't really cut it.
So, I hope you check out the video and apply it to your own life. I can see the potential in this way of questioning ourselves and believe it can lead us all to live less complicated lives. Most of all, I hope this process can lead us all to lives that reflect the glory of God and the power of Christ. I pray that we can all make the decisions we need to make as the answers come.
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?
2 Corinthians 13:5