Monday, June 5, 2017

Don't Tell Me What To Do!

**Photo taken from**

This is, perhaps, one of the most said and favorite statements of children. Heck, I think it's the most used statement by a majority of people on the planet these days. It seems that along with certain freedoms we are given through life, not being told to do something is one of them.

I'm guilty of either saying or thinking this statement, especially recently. It happened when someone I trust was just trying to help. They were giving me advice about an insurance situation that, in reality, I didn't have the breadth of experience they did. I did my best to listen to what they were saying but I was thinking that I knew better. I didn't.

While I followed the advice being given and answered the questions being asked, there was a part of me that felt the need to rebel against the sound words that were being spoken, by relaying my experiences and debating why things would be any different. Even while I was doing this, it made no real sense to do so. So, why did I counter the obvious wisdom and experience of that person?

Then it hit me that this wasn't the first time I have gone against wisdom. In fact, most of my life was made up of arguing against any kind of thought process that didn't fall in line with my own. There were certain things that I had come to know in life and figured that was the way it was always going to be, without question or need for change. Boy, was I wrong and this most recent exchange was evidence of all the years I had deliberately rebelled against people who, truly, knew better and that this person, here and now, cared for me and really just wanted to help.

I was raised by two very strong and capable parents. My mother, especially, taught us kids the importance of not only doing for ourselves but also depending on ourselves, instead of other people, to get us through life. That was my interpretation anyway. It seemed as though I took all that information from my childhood and turned it into an invisible fence around my mind, letting no one enter. Whether they were bang on right or not.

It's like I was bent on going my own way and there was no other option, even though my way was absolutely, without a doubt, wrong for the most part. In a simple car insurance scenario, it appeared that I had reverted to my defiant childhood, standing toe to toe with my nemesis, refusing to back down.

It wasn't until I had a chance to calm myself, take a couple steps back, and really ponder what was happening and how I was reacting, that the words 'I was wrong', came to me. Completely wrong. I had come to 'know' things to be a certain way and that's just the way it was...forever. Why would I change anything? Why would I question anything? Why?

Well, that's how things progress, through questioning. If no one ever questioned anything and just let things go as they were, there is so much that would quickly go off course. Like a drunken captain never being questioned by his crew as to why they were always off course, even though they could smell the booze on his breath. Questioning brings about great discoveries, like cures for diseases that were once, incurable.

Questioning brings about new ideas and, hence, new ways to do things. Easier ways, wiser ways. It's not that the person is faulting or accusing another by questioning. It's a way of gaining insight into how another person thinks the way they do. Such was not the case with me about the car insurance. I was rebelling and making it known and, unfortunately, causing frustration to the other person who was just trying to help me in a situation that showed signs of fallibility.

Suddenly, as things were coming to a breaking point, I could feel myself crumbling and started to cry from realizing I had been taken advantage of, for a lot of years. It was heartbreaking for me, to see that my best interests were not first but that money was. I felt betrayed and more than angered that I had become so trusting and stopped questioning those who should have had more integrity.

See, there's nothing wrong with questioning. You're not attacking the other person.You're trying to understand something or someone better. It's not that the person questioning is trying to tell you what to do. It's that they care and are trying to help you through a situation, into a better resolution. My resolution came in saving almost $800 on my car insurance. All because someone cared enough to question, then help lighten my financial load.

I apologized to the person who was only trying to help me, and explained why I acted the way I did...having programmed thinking over the years and rebelling against anyone who, I believed, was trying to tell me what to do when, in reality, they weren't. I felt really bad but thanked the person for helping me, through their wisdom and experience, to have a beneficial outcome.

In retrospect, I can plead shame and embarrasment for ever doubting this person, knowing, I fully trust them. At the end of the day, it was my own stubborn pride that prevented me from seeing their honest and well intended motives. They really had my best interest at heart.

I can't help but relate this experience to my relationship with God, too. God always acts with the best intentions, having love and protection as the motives when showing the best way to go in life. Sometimes, I have moments of rebellion against God's best in my life, thinking I know better when I don't. While that rebellion may never completely leave, I want to make every effort, now, to get rid of as much of that stubborn naivity as possible and be more trusting in those who know better.

Encouragement for the week:

Do you feel like people are always telling you what to do? Are you sure that's what they are doing? If they are, what do you think their motives are for doing so?

It could be that the person has your best interests at heart and really wants to save you from hurt, grief, or unnecessary financial loss.

Don't be too quick to oppose them or make your case because they may just hold some wisdom or life experience that you need. I know that was the case for me.

If you are a Christian, you know the value and wisdom of God's Word in what He tells us to do. It's not to control or hinder us, but to protect and give us the very best that life has to offer as a follower of Christ.

If you are not a Christian, look for Jesus and you will find someone whose questions and advice are sound, having your best interests at the center of His heart for your life.

I would like to hear from all of you. Let's talk. I look forward to your comments!

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