If you take a look out into the world, you’ll see pretty quickly that the currency of most of our interactions and decisions is “Knowing”.
If you’re going to take an action, you better “know” what the result is going to be. What is the return on investment for this decision that I’m going to make? Can you please tell me, so that then I’ll know, and then I’ll be able to make a choice one way or the other.
Knowing is the realm of the intellect.
It is our brain pulling together all of the information it has available and ensuring that the path forward is clear, understood and predictable.
Predictability is safety.
If I can predict how things will unfold, then I can assess all of the risks inherent to a particular path, mitigate those risks, and then I’ll know I’m going to be alright.
Knowing stands in distinct opposition to trust and faith.
In fact, knowing is antithetical to trust and faith. We seek to know, via our intellect, precisely so that we do not need to have trust and faith.
As our lives become more and more guided by our knowing, our muscle for trusting in something beyond what we can “figure out” atrophies. We lose our ability to lean over the edge and tumble into the great unknown, trusting that we will find some way to reach the ground safely.
We live lives rooted in knowing. Knowing the right answers, or at least knowing the wrong answers so that we can avoid them (or preemptively acknowledge that we’re going to get it wrong, and then manage how that will turn out).
Knowing who will break our heart, who will hurt us, and who will annoy us, so that we can avoid all of those people (never mind the possibility and opportunities they may represent if we were instead able to use them in service of our own healing).
If not for the fact that the statistics tell us time and again how important a higher-education is, people would rarely if ever head off to universities and colleges for anything but the degrees that provide a clear, known path to making us money and ensuring we can live a comfortable life.
Here’s the caveat: Knowing is important.
Our intellect is here in our lives for a purpose, just like our vehemence, our anger, our sadness, our egos and every other beautiful part of who we are.
The problem isn’t that we have an intellect, nor that it supports us to “know”. It’s that this becomes the sole means through which we live our lives.
When our muscle in trust and faith atrophies and falls away, we’re left exclusively living lives of “knowing”.
Down this path, life starts to feel like sitting down to play a board game, and knowing in advance every single step along the way that is going to be taken. Sure, taking that step for the first time is novel, but that novelty wears off fast. Life starts to feel boring. A little grey. A little dried up.
We can’t get to an experience of life in partnership with trust and faith via our knowing. No amount of trying to “figure out” how you can trust something will work, because trust exists outside of the space of your intellect.
Trust exists in that space when you feel called into something, don’t understand how it makes sense rationally, and yet feel called into it all the same.
That experience can exist in small moments, like when you feel called to order something new at a restaurant or when you’re gazing into the eyes of someone you just met. Or it can exist in the big moments, like sitting at your desk realizing this career you’ve built isn’t for you, and you’re ready for something else.
Trust begins when we take a step into trust.
And that step will typically exist beyond the bounds of your knowing.