I don’t like to not know something. I know that sounds horrible – there will always be much I don’t know. But, this is more in the context of being in a situation where I am hindered because of what I do not know. Examples would be learning a new job, a new skill, or my way around a new town.
Because of this dislike of not knowing, my natural tendency is to stay safe. Stay confident. Stay in the familiar. It’s so much easier to work in jobs where I have already have the appropriate skills or to tackle tasks in areas where I have established confidence. Trying something new is, well, uncomfortable. Staying with the familiar can be much more pleasant.
These thoughts were running through my mind as we were driving home from Little Rock yesterday. We live deep in farming country, and farm fields stretch on either side of the road nearly the entire route from Little Rock to home. I’m technically a town girl with very little farm knowledge. But, around here farming is life. And I often can very much sympathize with that fish that somehow found itself out of its water.
When we first moved into our new community nine months ago, I discovered just how incredibly ignorant I was about farming. I didn’t like that ignorance, and I quickly became determined to overcome it. I wanted to learn all I could about what our church families do and deal with. So, I admitted my complete ignorance and started asking questions.
Driving past all of the fields yesterday, it dawned on me how much I’ve learned in nine months. I still know so very little, but I know more than I did. And, I’m going to keep learning, possibly to the point of driving my farming friends a little crazy with my questions!
Learning is so critical, but all too often we like to remain in the comfort of familiarity where learning takes a little more effort. I’m not saying it’s impossible to learn more about the familiar. On the contrary, we should continually try to learn more, even in the most familiar of circumstances. But so many of us limit our learning by clinging to the familiar and confining our learning to that environment.
Sometimes, I think we need a learning kick. I think we need to be pushed into the unfamiliar in order to be reminded how critical learning is. Sometimes the city girl needs to be sent to farm country.
What are you learning right now? Are you surrounding yourself only with the familiar, or are you stepping out into some new territory? It could be mental, emotional, or spiritual. It could be academic or environmental. Whatever it is, step out into the unknown. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed. Let your life be uncomfortable for a little while. And then, find the joy of looking back and feeling the accomplishment of knowing that you really did learn something new.