They say that life is the best teacher, not the only one. A well-educated person also learns from other people and by conducting research using the various types of media. Nevertheless, there are those who tend to think they know it all simply because they have some education and what they refer to as “common sense.” They usually insist on figuring things out without any help because they are stubborn and prideful. I know this to be true because I am one of them.
A couple of months ago, water started to leak inside our SUV every time it rained. I figured it was coming from either the doors or the sunroof. The first few times it happened, it produced only small damp spots above the driver and passenger seats. At first, I didn’t think it was a big deal. After all, it’s not like it rained every day. When it did rain, I took care of the seemingly insignificant drip by wedging a clump of paper towel between the visors and the headliner. However, with every new shower, the drip speed accelerated and the water stains got bigger.
I didn’t realize the gravity of the problem until my wife’s dramatic 4D experience. The last time our car was due for an oil change, Mari volunteered to take it (a free car wash is offered with every service). To her surprise, the attendant told her she could stay inside the vehicle for the wash. Excited to once again relive a childhood experience, she marveled at the initial mist, the soap bath, and the rolling brushes. Soon after, water came pouring inside the car like a monsoon! She frantically tried to cover herself while screaming, but unfortunately had to wait until the car exited the tunnel (can you picture it?). She had no choice but to laugh it out when it was over. So did the workers who hand-dried the car I’m sure.
Of course, this meant that it was time for me to actually fix it. So, I figured it out, all by myself! The leak obviously came from the sunroof. I duct-taped all around the glass edges and just waited for the next rainfall. I could have tested it by pouring some water on the roof, but I did not. It was definitely that and I could wait until spring to replace the weatherstrip. Well, it finally rained, and guess what? Water still came in! So, I figured it out, again. It had to be the grooves on the roof that lead from the back of the car to the front. I duct-taped those as well and waited. No, I did not test it either. The rain came once again and…water still got into the car!
Unfortunately, many of us Smart Alecks are also procrastinators. It wasn’t until we had one of those heavy 2-day storms that caused the leaks to drench the car seats and floor once again that I decided to ask for some help. A couple of co-workers told me that it could be the sunroof drains. The what?! What drains? I practically duct-taped the entire car and saw no drains! Well, apparently sunroofs have small holes on the front and rear corners to drain the excess water that may seep through. OK, so I DON’T know it all!
Mr. “I got this” had no choice but to YouTube it and learn that as time goes by, these holes get clogged with dirt and debris. I also learned how to unclog them. After carefully following the instructions, I tested it (finally) and the water quickly drained to the ground (like it’s supposed to) from somewhere inside the car frame. A few days later, another storm came and it was time for the real test. Confidently, yet with my fingers crossed, I waited for it to pass. Guess what? The inside was dry!
I may have stopped further damage to the roof and the car seats, but not before causing an inevitable slow deterioration (rusting) under the headliner. Not to mention the ugly stains that will now require more work and money to remove. So, here I am lamenting another preventable aggravation simply because I thought I knew it all and therefore did not seek immediate help from the right source when it first happened.
How many of us go through life believing that some of our struggles are not that serious and that we can handle them simply because we are strong or because we believe in God, go to church, and read the Bible occasionally? Perhaps some of us even think that having some Bible school under our belt automatically makes us self-sufficient spiritual experts. Here are some friendly reminders from God’s word to all who think they are in control or “know it all.”
“Even if you think you can stand up to temptation, be careful not to fall.”1 Corinthians 10:12 CEV
“If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.”1 Corinthians 8:2 ESV
“Get all the advice you can, and you will succeed; without it you will fail.”Proverbs 15:22 GNT
Our relationship with God and with others suffers when we neglect to get the appropriate help when dealing with difficult personal issues. Ignoring them usually creates other problems. Quick self-help patches are temporary. And, procrastination only makes them bigger and harder to overcome. We can experience a time of refreshing when we finally take care of them, but not without having some regrets that could have been avoided.
We were not made to do this life alone, especially when we join the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ. We can definitely learn a lot from our mistakes, shortcomings, and failures, but they alone cannot sustain us. We also need to build our faith by regularly hearing God’s word. We need to grow our spiritual knowledge by studying the Word ourselves. And, we should learn from the wisdom of others, especially those who can empathize with us.
In a world of reactive and proactive people, which one are you? Do you take preemptive measures in order to avoid potential problems? Or, do you wait till things go pear-shaped before dealing with them? Are you known for tackling challenges head-on? Or, for allowing either spiritual cockiness, apathy, or downright laziness to take control causing more frustration than necessary? When dealing with personal struggles, do you believe that praying about them is enough? Or, do you promptly seek godly advice to help you overcome them? Most of us could actually enjoy a less stressful life if we learn to share our burdens and realize that there is still lots to learn about everything.
“We who are strong ought to bear with the shortcomings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”Romans 15:1 BSB
Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love].Galatians 6:2 AMP
“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.”Proverbs 12:15 NIV
Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.Proverbs 18:15 MSG
One last word to the Know-It-Alls out there, only God knows it all. It would behoove us to seek His counsel first and then that of the people He has placed in our path to help guide us.
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.”Hebrews 12:15a NLT
“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”Romans 12:16 NLT
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”Hebrews 10:25 NLT