Is the question “why?” reserved only for little kids to ask their parents? Or is it rather intended for all of us to ask throughout our days? It really appears to be one of the dividing lines between two distinct personality types. One personality always wants to have the understanding behind what is happening, or why they are asked to do something in a particular order. While the other is given a set of rules and they either comply or ignore without ever understanding why they were asked to do something.
The other day I got frustrated at someone for giving direction without fully understanding the rationale for doing such a task. I pushed them to want to know these things, because the instruction may not be appropriate for all situations. Even though the direction was not given to me, I felt that in order to be a good leader one must first comprehend the purpose for a specific direction, otherwise there is a lack of credibility in spite of a person’s credentials.
This desire to ask the “why” behind our tasks may in fact be a requirement for someone who is desiring to lead in a particular field, it certainly is not a requirement for all individuals. In order to build a widget, there is a need for the person designing the widget and teaching the production team how to build the widget to understand the “why”, but each member of the production line need not understand “why” each part is produced in its specific manner or order. However, it is important that there are the eyes upon the overall task ensuring that each task is laid out such that the overall goal of manufacturing the widget is carried out to the highest quality, which helps the quality of the widget to be the highest possible.
If we were working on a single part, and got caught up on every single detail of the part, even those that have no impact on our task, and we would hold up the production asking all of our “why” questions. Thus I learned that it is important to set aside my “why” at certain times, and bring them back up later. There are times when it is prudent to allow leadership to lead us, even while we may not fully understand the purpose. However, we must be willing to challenge leadership, when the directives take us in a direction where we are living in opposition to our standards and values.
Depending on what situation we find ourselves, you may be the one asking “why?”, or you may be called to follow. Ultimately, in my life I must listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and allow myself to be led to following after God’s mission for the world. My questions sometime are directed at God, but ultimately I have learned that while it is part of my relationship with God to ask “why”, I am, however, called to be obedient to God’s call on my life whether or not I understand “why”.
Thus I want to add a line to Ecclesiastes 3:
“There is a time to ask why, and a time to accept as is.”