Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Problem of Maybe



The above video is a fantastic word from poet Taylor Mali on the value of speaking with conviction and the cultural norm of uncertainty.

I'd been creating a few Facebook events recently--some for ministry, some personal--and noticed the prevalent usage of the "maybe" option. Instead of choosing to accept or decline the invitation, more and more people are simply clicking maybe (or choosing not to respond to the event invitation at all).

The problem is that "maybe" doesn't typically mean maybe. It means, "yes, unless something better comes along," or "no, but I don't want you to feel bad that I declined your invitation, so this gives me an out."

Jesus and his little brother, James, exhorted us that "all you need to say is a simple 'yes' or 'no.'" While they were talking about the Jewish cultural norm of making oaths, the truth remains the same: your word should be enough. You should have the integrity to give a "yes" or "no" because you truly mean "yes" or "no." The opposite of this is having a vacillating opinion, anchored in instability and carried about on the waves of impulse and propriety.

Perhaps we don't speak with conviction because we're insecure of our own identities. If my very self is wrapped up in how others perceive and react to the sharing of my opinion, then my self is in constant flux, nebulously lacking in definition. One cannot have conviction if one lacks the nerve and backbone to uphold those convictions. That confidence can only fully come when an identity is build on a firm foundation; something strong, something steadfast, something eternal. Maybe that identity best built on Someone. Or by Someone. Maybe we can only let our 'yes' be 'yes' and our 'no' be 'no' when we have found the perfect Yes.

Maybe. I dunno. Just throwing it out there...?

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