I hate feeling stupid. It’s a thing with me, and has been for as long as I can remember. If someone catches me saying something incorrect, I get embarrassed. Growing up, teasing happened frequently, but the teasing that stung most was for giving the wrong answer. It may be why I was always a good student. I was desperate to be right most of the time.
That’s what makes it so hard to admit when I am wrong about something. I struggle and fight my own pride and inner humiliation, wondering how long until everyone sees that I’m not really as smart as I like them to think. I’m just a fraud trying to get by on a little intelligence and a whole lot of waiting to speak.
It’s why I’ve never seriously considered taking the Jeopardy! test. I think I went once in college to a live testing site, only to learn that you had to be in line very early that morning to even get a slot. But I’ve never attempted the online tests. Despite how much I enjoy watching the show, I would be terrified of people seeing how much I DON’T know. It’s also why I don’t like the idea of joining a group like Mensa, because smart people intimidate me.
The thing is, having knowledge is not the ultimate calling of a human. Learning is not an end to itself. This is a problem that Lutherans have particularly had through the years, focusing on learning and knowledge and filling our heads with Bible verses and Catechism points. Why?
Truly, the point of all of this is to grow in our relationship with Jesus, and DO SOMETHING with the knowledge that we have. But so often, it turns into learning for the sake of learning, in order to learn MORE stuff. We’ve got it backwards. We urge children to come to Sunday school, to attend confirmation class, to join the youth Bible class. Honestly, in all of my years doing this ministry thing, it’s not been the knowledge that ultimately grew the faith of the young people. It helped, don’t get me wrong, but it was through the relationships built that I saw children and youth grow and mature in their faith. Kids don’t love Sunday school because they know all ten commandments and can name all of Jacob’s sons. They love Sunday school because of their friends, because of the teachers. The stories and songs and STUFF guides what happens in that relationship.
So I’m going to keep struggling with this stuff, but I hope to keep pursuing relationships. That’s when I grow and learn and stretch. I can keep learning information, but along the way I want to do it with PEOPLE.