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Why: Not "Because"

Kids love to ask why. A hypothetical, yet very typical conversation with my 3 year old might go something like this:

"Did the Reds win?"
No, they lost.
"Why?"
Because they didn't play as well as the other team.
"Why?"
Because we don't have the same level of talent on our roster.
"Why?"
Because the scouts didn't do a good job finding better talent.
"Why?"
Because our organization is....well...look, just because!

Ultimately the conversation ends when I play the trump card of "just because," which either constitutes me not being able to answer the impossible, or irritation that I keep having to answer the same question.

The cyclical "why" question we attribute to childlike behaviors. Eventually we grow out of the "why" stage and we move into an exploring stage where we discover "why" on our own. Ultimately we enter into a stage of complete enlightenment (sarcasm implied) and we suddenly know "why" for everything there is to know (or at least, we think we do).

And yet I can't help but wonder if we would do well to give ourselves another healthy dose of the "why" medicine we once prescribed to.

How often do you find yourself going through the motions of day-to-day life without asking yourself why you do the things you do. Why do you always put your left sock on before your right? Why do you wash your hair before your body in the shower? Why do you take the highway to work instead of the back roads? Why do you work where you do? Why don't you come home right at 5:00? Why didn't you talk to your colleague on the way out the door? Why did you watch Netflix instead of reading your Bible? Why do you keep putting off that household chore?

And on and on the list goes.

All too often I am guilty of preceding ahead with an idea or an action without first raising the question "why." Am I truly being intentional with the way I spend my day, or am I just doing the thing I always do without asking the why question at all?

We were sitting in staff meeting yesterday and the "why" question came up as we were considering integrating some new online software to make accessible to the church. It was clear that the website subscription would greatly benefit the whole congregation, as it had a lot of bells and whistles and was pretty sharp. But before we pulled the trigger on it, we wanted to be sure that we weren't just doing it because it was a good site or because it was fancy. We wanted to be sure we had clearly defined why we wanted to utilize this site. How this would specifically help us empower the congregation. What specifically the end goal would be.

Asking the why question might seem tedious, but it should help keep you on course. It should help winnow out meaningless activity in your life and hone you in on doing the things that you really feel passionate about and care for.

So the next time your child asks why, instead of getting frustrated with them for asking why or blowing them off with the infamous "because" answer, remember that we should be asking the same.

Psalm 8:3-4
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?

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