There are two little words that have been on my mind a lot recently, and you’ll never guess why…
Omnipotence and omniscience.
I remember learning those words as a kid, and trying to remember which one meant what. And they always, only had to do with God.
All powerful and all knowing.
What in the world would they ever have to do with me?
Well, I’ve been reading Beth Moore’s book So Long, Insecurity, and it turns out that I’ve been guilty of trying to “play” God.
This is what Beth Moore has to say about the longing to be all-powerful:
Needless to say, although humans can’t attain total power, knowing that fact hasn’t kept us from trying. The most we can successfully achieve is excessive control….People who are chronically insecure often have an overwhelming tendency to become control freaks. Upon serious consideration, that inclination makes perfect sense. We feel most secure when our environment is in control, and since no one is able to control it to our satisfaction, we decide we have to do it ourselves. If someone would do it and do it right, we wouldn’t have to take over, so it’s not really our fault, we reason. It’s our responsibility. (p. 208-209, So Long, Insecurity)
Well, now. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a control freak…but maybe I just really like it when things are done my way because….I like my way best!
I have struggled really hard with letting go of something I want to see happen, and allowing other people, especially Ben, to have the room to do things their way, too. Or maybe they need the room to do things God’s way, which would obviously be even more important.
That was uncomfortable. Now let’s look at what she has to say about omniscience:
Have you ever come upon information that was shocking, disheartening, or difficult, yet you somehow found that because God insisted on that discovery, He also provided you with the grace to handle it? When we scratch and claw to dig information out of the dirt, however, we don’t get the same kind of grace that accompanies divine revelation. God graciously forgives, restores, and even resurrects as we bring Him our needs, but the pursuit of omniscience costs us dearly in the meantime. (p. 219, So Long, Insecurity)
As a wife, I find this one tricky. I often ask Ben questions about his work, or interactions with other people, just to find out how his day was or to show interest in what’s going on in his life. But that can slide very quickly into information that I simply do not need to know.
Shortly after I had read about Beth Moore’s take on a woman’s desire for omniscience, Ben and I were spending a quiet evening together at home. There was a situation he had been dealing with that day which had absolutely nothing to do with me. He got a text regarding the issue while we were sitting on the couch, and just as I was opening my mouth to ask about it, the thought popped into my head, “You don’t need to know anything about it.” I clamped my mouth shut. Now I was even more curious than ever, but having had a few extra seconds to weigh my motives, I knew that wanting to know about the situation had nothing to do with being a supportive wife to Ben.
As I thought about it a few seconds longer, it actually dawned on me that I should be glad not to have to know. It was a burden that I did not need to carry, so why on earth would I try to carry it?
I’m not omnipotent, so there is absolutely no need for me to be omniscience.
It’s funny how often it creeps up, though. Have you ever been at a big function, and there’s that one table where most of your friends are at, and everyone is laughing loudly and obviously having a good time, and you want to be at that table and know what’s so funny, but you’re stuck at the table that’s quiet and boring?
Or you happen to overhear the plans someone else is making that don’t include you, and you don’t know all the details, but you wish like crazy you were a part of it, and inside you’re edging towards insecurity over the fact that you were left out?
At times, it can just get a little tempting to know everything, to be everywhere, to do everything.
I had never realized this desire had anything to do with insecurity. But I’m starting to recognize it. I’m trying to take a step back, get a more realistic perspective, and let go of those desires to have my fingers in everything, the need to be knowing and doing all things.
It’s kind of a relief to let it all go.
Do you ever struggle with the desire to know it all, or do it all?
This post is part of a series on insecurity. To read the other posts, click on the links below: