I just got an email from a course instructor. I am taking an online class and found myself questioning quite a few of the preconceived notions and vocabulary definitions given by the course and expressing them on our online forum. The instructor wrote me a long email and said its length was “a complement to you… you get me thinking.”
Apparently, I make people think. Although I don’t want to, I seem to end up challenging the status quo or bringing in “tough questions.” Knowing this has always made me cringe a little bit. Because after thirty years of life, I found that people usually find it somewhat amusing or invigorating when they meet my questions on a surface level, but once it gets closer to their personal identities, I have felt the backlash. Trust me, I don’t want to attack your identity! But… I just have a question that might relate to some discrepancies or issues that are noticeable to me and the question left my mouth before I could stop it.
Close friends and family members might have often heard me saying something along the lines of, “Sigh. I wish I was a feely-girly-no-question kind of girl. That would make more likable and less intimidating. I wonder what it’s like to not have a thousand questions pop up… to not be curious about the logic behind some things… to just accept.” I will often say this when I have recently hurt or made someone uncomfortable with my tough questions. Because I know that cringing face people get (when my questions are getting too close for comfort) by memory.
My dad often said that the problem was that I was saying these things without love. Two close friends recently told me that my presence or the way I spoke made them feel boxed in—as if they had to be perfect somehow and meet unachievable standards. Yes, I unfortunately have a strong sense of right and wrong, and naturally speak about them. But I tried looking into my heart and see if I was really expecting everyone to act or think like me. And I don’t think I do.
Unfortunately, many of the lovely people I have come across in life attach those questions or my questioning to their selves and identities. This usually means they either get defensive against me or shut me off because they think I think less of them because of my questions. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I am capable of deeply disagreeing with what I consider to be foundational things (for example, abortion) and fully loving the person I disagree with. I know this to be true because of the people around me who openly disagree with me yet I hold very loving relationships with.
As a prime example, my brother, who believes and lives out a worldview completely different than mine, once said this to a friend of mine about me. “If my sister can accept me completely as I am, she can accept anyone.” Tears fell when my friend told me about this. Because I have often been misunderstood by so many people in regards to this, knowing that my brother, whom I love very much, knew that I loved and accepted him completely as he was, I felt understood. Understood by someone with whom I disagree on so much. I felt as though I now had a strong witness to stand by me to prove that my questioning or disagreeing or bringing tough questions on the table does not signify that I am not accepting your person.
But what I am also learning that regardless of intention, the acting out of my questions need to change in view of my love for that person. I am learning that there are people who cannot take my “tough questions” because their brains are like spaghetti—all things are connected to each other. And I cannot convince them that I love them AND have uncomfortable questions about them.
So, I am learning a new way of communication. I need to accept that there are people whom I can deeply hurt unintentionally through my questions. What I need is wisdom and balance to learn how to phrase my tough questions, when to pose them, where to pose them. Easier said than done. With an acute lack of nunchi, what I need is a miracle to learn to do what I just proposed.
But! Remember I believe in a supernaturally wonderfully thoughtfully awesome God. I know He is guiding and will guide me in this, my earnest endeavor of loving God and loving my neighbor, even if it means learning the foreign language of not asking acute questions all the time.