Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The keeper of all the knowledge

Okay. 25 minutes.  Here we go.
My goal from last week to write a post in 25 minutes every Tuesday is being met!

Some time ago, my husband, Jason jokingly referred to me as the "keeper of all the knowledge."  It went something like this:

Jason: (7am Friday morning): I was thinking about getting some steaks to grill tonight.  (again, another discussion about food!)
Me: Oh really?  We can't do that. I have dinner planned.
Jason: Oh...Ok… well, maybe we could do it tomorrow night.
Me: Um, no, I have chicken out thawing already.
Jason: Okay, well, why don't we leave that for another day, and have the steaks?
Me: Honey, I am planning the left-over chicken for sandwiches the next day.
Jason: Wow, okay, who made you the keeper of all the knowledge?

My responses to Jason were so matter-of-fact.
It was like Jason was supposed to have known the answers before I said them.

This happens a lot.

Jason is the one in our marriage who more readily shares his thoughts and ideas, which leads to clear communication and generally a healthy relationship.

On the other hand, I tend to keep my thoughts and plans to myself.  Jason might argue by saying that I do talk plenty, and he's right.  But when it comes to making plans, many times I want the details to be perfectly in line before sharing my thoughts about it and this leads to less communication, at least initially.

I've realized I do this for a few reasons.

1) I am a perfectionist. I don't want to share things until I know they are going to work.  When I have silently worked on a plan in my mind, and then someone shares their ideas right out loud, I tend to shut down because I feel like my ideas weren't even heard - which is true, because I didn't share them.  Inviting others into the process can result in constructive criticism, but it can also make your own plans even better.  When will I learn this?

2) I am more introverted, so I naturally want/need more time to process some things before sharing.  This can be good as occasionally it prevents me from saying things I shouldn't.  But in more cases, it probably hinders me from saying something I should, like thoughts that I want someone to know, but are impossible for them to know without me speaking them.

3) I am afraid of what someone else will think - which stems from insecurity - which stems from false-talk about myself.  In other words, it is not the other person who has made me feel afraid, but my own discouraging thoughts that I allow to seep in.  Holding on to the words God has said about me can push away any doubts or fears… "You are precious in my eyes.  And you are honored.  And I love you."  - Isaiah 43:4

4) I am a planner.  I like to have lists.  I enjoy deciding what I will do the day before (or much sooner) before I do it.  When I haven't had time to plan, or an alternative strategy comes up that throws my plan out, I tend to clam up a bit.  I'm learning to live more spontaneously, but my initial reaction is still to resist change.  Do not ask me how I lived in S. Asia for 3 years with this attitude!  Somehow, there I thrived - I expected (and planned on!) the moment-to-moment changes. Here in America, my expectations are that things should work all of the time, the way I think they should.  Marriage is helping me loosen my grasp on my plans, just a little bit - and it's good to see the blood flow through my knuckles again in those moments.

In summary, by God's grace, I am striving to not be "the keeper of all the knowledge."  I want our marriage to be two people who share their ideas and knowledge and are committed to making their home, family, and ministry thrive for God's glory.  I have a long way to go in this, but am thankful for Jason's patience and God's grace every step of the way.


Jane Nyman said...

What an honest, frank woman who always wants to improve, who honors The Lord, loves her husband and who writes so beautifully. Wow, I can sure see myself in you. Perfectionism comes with a price, doesn't it? It's like I always want to remind people of what they said they would do because they seem to forget, think they should get organized, etc., etc., etc. People admire you, I'm sure.we all are a work in progress, aren't we?

Elizabeth said...

Thank you Jane! Yes, I often have to restrain myself from correcting those around me -- of course, I'm correcting according to what I think is right… still so much to learn! I'm glad we can learn and grow in a community of friends and those who are learning right along with us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and growing with me!

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