I examined the three quiz questions on the flip-side of his business card. I thought how do I answer these? How would you answer these?
The three questions:
- Do you want to improve your life?
- Are you willing to accept responsibility for you?
- Will you reject what doesn’t work?
I admit I am anxious about our meeting. I’m not sure what might happen? Although I’m interested in what I might hear.
So, I’m sitting in a restaurant booth—waiting. The place is lunchtime busy. I hear his voice from behind me. “Hi, how are you?”
“Better, thank you.” And we launched into some small talk again.
We looked over the menu, ordered our choices, and while we waited for our food, he asked, “Did you take some time to evaluate those three questions?”
“Great! How did you answer the first question, Do you want to improve your life?”
“Well yes, of course, I do.”
“Very good. It seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? … How did you answer the second question: Are you willing to accept responsibility for you?”
The waitress brought our water and iced tea smiled, and walked away. I reached for a sweetener as I said, “Sure.”
“Okay, and question three,” he said, “Will you reject what doesn’t work?” He squeezed his lemon slice into his water and stirred the water, ice, and lemon with his straw.
“Yes absolutely, why wouldn’t I?”
“Alright, I’ve heard you say you want to improve your life, that you’re ready to take responsibility for you, and you’re willing to walk away from what hasn’t worked for you, correct?”
“Yep, that sums up what I’m saying.” The waitress returned with our orders. I unwrapped my napkin containing my eating utensils and I placed the napkin on my lap. Hungry I stabbed at a salted french fry and stuck it in my mouth.
“Excellent.” He wasn’t commenting on the first taste of his salad, instead, he was remarking about my answers to the questions on his business card.
He chewed, swallowed, and continued talking. “All the questions are meant to measure your willingness to commit to improving your life.” He looked at me then said, “So, to give you some insight, the first question is probing for an answer as to whether you want to change. Let me give you an example, it’s like Jesus asking the man who’d been sick for thirty-eight years, ‘Do you want to be well?’ This is a decisive question because the guy knew how to be sick, but he didn’t know –or had forgotten, how to be well. In this question I’m asking, do you want to be well? Because all of us have to decide if we want to get better, don’t we?. Ya gotta wanna improve your situation, circumstances, life. Do you follow what I’m saying?”
I chewed and swallowed a bite of my hamburger. “Yes … I must commit to wanting my life to improve … and once again—I do, I want to improve.” Our eyes met. I hoped he could read my sincerity.
“This is an important first step. I compliment you. Now just before you pick up your mat and walk, let me explain the intent of the second question. It’s about reasonable reasons for improving, or on the other hand, unreasonable excuses for not improving.
“Can you give me an example?”
“Certainly. Let’s pretend I have a cussing problem, which I have had in my past, and it still flares up every once in a while. At times other people can’t hear me because I’m swearing under my breath, nevertheless, I’m still cussing. I may excuse my behavior because I think no one hears me. But I heard me. I’m responsible and accountable for my change. I must guard my lips against misspeaking if I want to improve this area of my life. I cannot blame swearing on how my dad and mom raised me, my school, or my friends, for instance. The cussing is my responsibility. It’s my choice to swear or not to swear. I determine how I’m going to act, it’s my decision, my choice, my responsibility. Do you follow what I’m saying?”
“You’re saying that I have to choose to improve my life, take responsibility, and hold myself accountable.”
He gave me a thin smile, a nod, then proceeded. “The third question is a final check on the depth of your commitment. Will you reject what hasn’t been working and exchange it for something that will work and improve your life?” He paused and ate a little more.
I reflected on the question being asked. As I mulled it over, being careful not to respond too quickly, too flippantly. I finally said, “You mean will I trade what doesn’t work for what does work? Well, I’d like to think I’m not an idiot.”
“Well, of course, the question doesn’t mean to imply that you are a half-wit … it simply shows that we are inclined to seek easy fixes, we all say we want to improve, but we often aren’t willing to put a lot of effort into improvement. Especially if the effort becomes boring, or difficult. When that happens we’ll quit trying, and nothing gets better—improves. So, are you up for investing in your improvement?”
I pretended to study the last bite of my cheeseburger, “Well it’s for my good, right? … Where do we go from here?”
“Now, you put on your work clothes and start building a strong foundation that will serve you for the rest of your life.” He picked up the check the waitress had left at our booth.
I looked forward to our next meeting.
(To be continued)
Casting Crowns Nobody