Questions about God, heartbreak in romance and family, disappointment in a new school or job—many of our problems go back to our dissatisfaction because of things we assumed.
Humans are assumption machines. We even assume about assumption—that we don’t assume as much as we do. Communication breakdown, verbal abuse, Satir’s “blamer mode”—these also begin with assumptions made about what another person assumes. When we stop assuming, even for a micromoment, it is as if we enter a light-filled zen void of “nothingness”. We assume because we are uncomfortable with the silence associated with “not having an opinion”. Calming your nerves, being less reactive, shutting your motormouth at “quiet time”, being that oasis of calm in other people’s storms—that all stems from comfort with silence—and silence is devoid of assumption.
If you want to calm your insides, learn to not assume. Assumption is, itself, a way to distract from the silence.
If you aren’t always ready with your sword, what will happen? Will you survive? Dropping your guard feels dangerous. “Not knowing” the answer to every question feels like you’re not prepared when, actually, it prepares you to receive, learn, understand, and perhaps even contribute. It’s hard to do surgery with shaking hands.
So, drop the busyness and the caffeinated distractions; begin with your assuming. God is much easier to not be angry with when we drop all of our made-up assumptions about Him. Relationships go much more smoothly when we begin with the assumption that other people are not so stupid that we don’t need to take the time to understand them.
One of the biggest problems in tech support—operator error—is clinically proven to occur less frequently among people who don’t throw away the instructions before reading them. (Not actually clinically proven, but let’s just ‘assume’ that it doesn’t need to be.)
Good theology leaves assumption at the door. The ultimate theological question is not what we assume about God, but what God sees in us. Pain will advise us when we make assumptions of our own. One of the best commands God ever gave Israel was to be still and know, not to be noisy and assume.