I’m sitting here at my computer, Tuesday, a day late on my weekly blog. Not unusual but I’ve told myself make the time, sit in seat, don’t force it, it will come. While hiking the A.T., we had a saying, “The trail will provide.” I have a saying, “And God provides the trail.” Anyway, I’m sitting here and a friend thinks of me and sends a 3-minute clip on YouTube. “Three minutes?” I ask myself, “that’s how much time I ask from my readers.” So I oblige him. I stop. I listen.
“Know Your Why” is the title. You have to—yes, you must—listen to this. It gave me goosebumps. It’s a simple message that confused me at first. Maybe that’s the Shrink in me coming out. It confused me because I often tell ya’ll to let go of your why questions because they will never be answered. And then it came to me. My second goose bump moment. There is more than one why.
I need to follow the right why. The wrong why looks back. It started when Mom asked me, “Why did you do that?”
“Why did you mark the new colored storage boxes I just bought with magic marker! Why?” And I didn’t have an answer. The why’s that look to the past never do. They keep us stuck. Born in guilt, they search for blame. When hear “why?” today, and it often comes to us in a parent’s voice.
When tragedy takes hold and we are left to ask, “Why God?” “Why did he die?” “Why God, why did you take her?” “Why God, why now, why him, why her…and why not me.”
And what do we hear? Nothing, we think. Silence we know. Silence isn’t nothing. Silence is, well you know the song, but sometimes silence isn’t golden, silence is threatening. We want the gap filled, that’s just human. We want closure. We see the railroad tracks on the horizon coming together and now they don’t. Now there is no horizon, no closure. Silence is threatening.
But today I hear, “Know your why, and follow your why.” Why? And what’s the difference? Well, the second why lives in the present and directs us in the moment. It leads us to, not just the future, it leads us to our future. Your future, following your why leads you to your future, your purpose, your life, your reason. The reason you are alive. Did you hear that? You have a future.
When you know your why, your insistence on knowing God’s why rests, and so do you. You are both transformed and invigorated. Risky? Of course. Yet when we forget our “social self” the self that is who we think others think we are, we become real, as real as a velveteen rabbit.
In this three-minute clip, Michael Jr. asks a man to sing a verse of Amazing Grace. Pretty good, I think. He does it on the spur of the moment, unaccompanied. That guy can sing. Again, I think. Then the speaker asks him to get in touch with who he is, why he is. He draws on his past, whatever that may be. Possibly pain, and disappointment. Likely knowing he alone is insufficient. And he draws on his strength, that which prevailed in those times of desperation. Watch, something amazing happens.
He forgets to sing for others. He sings for God. His song becomes both salve and battle cry. Both comfort and courage. Now I don’t think, now I feel. I feel his triumph, I share his victory. And I don’t just feel—I follow.
His why gave him courage. “How can I go on,” you may ask, “When my world as I knew it, ceased to exist? How can I have courage when everything I counted on seems superficial, so temporary and utterly unreliable? How?”
“Take courage,” one of the earliest books of the bible says, for God will be with you.”
“Okay…how!” we demand despite the message being repeated over and over.
Our why is as unremitting as our God. Our why doesn’t change because our why is wrapped up in our relationship to our God. And our courage comes from following our why.
I ask you, which why will you follow?
I am a Clinical Psychologist, a former Captain in the Navy, and I lost my son in 2014. So I took to the wilderness and found that God’s world opens up when everything you need is on your back and your only concern is the next white blaze.
Hey, I wrote a book, When Sunday Smiled, and now it has it’s own inspirational song! It’s for all kinds of people who have lost their way in this world. Check out both on my website, Andymdavidson.com.