And I’m not talking two-headed monsters or telepathy here.
I’m talking about the insane and disastrous habit I have of thinking I know what others are thinking—my spouse, my kids, my neighbors, my co-workers, and/or the lady I just passed in the grocery store.
The whole process goes something like this:
My neighbor doesn’t wave at me as I pull into my driveway though I smile and wave at her. I assume she’s mad at me because I didn’t bring the trash cans in early enough or my kids are playing their music too loud. Or I think, “What a snob!”
Or how about this one—my boss walks into work in a towering rage and slams his office door. Immediately I think, “Did he not like my report?”, “I’m not working hard enough and he’s going to fire me,” or “What is his problem?”
Or my kid slinks into the kitchen with a silly grin and I think, “What does she want now?”, “Do I have something on my face?”, or “She’s hiding something from me.”
Be honest. We all do it.
Even though we know what assuming makes out of “u” and “me”, we still do it.
You’d think that with the onslaught of email and IMing, texting and tweeting, posting and pinning, we’d have more than enough going on in our own head to not take ownership of the goings-on in someone else’s. But alas, it happens all the time. We went to Iraq on an assumption and we see what a mess that got us in to.
It wouldn’t be so bad if everything just stopped right there, in our heads. But it usually doesn’t. We react to what we think other people are thinking. This is where we cross over from confused to crazy, i.e. we start ignoring our neighbor, we start looking for a new job (and boss), and we withhold affection from our kids because we think they’re trying to manipulate us (well, they probably are, but don’t let them know that you know that.)
If we get the opportunity to learn the truth—our neighbor wasn’t wearing their glasses so they didn’t even see us, our boss had a flat tire and ruined his best suit trying to fix it, and our kid just heard a joke they wanted to share—we realize that everything is not about us.
Most of us were only given one head. I’m sure Abigail and Brittany Hensel, the conjoined twins, would be glad to have their own bodies. (Well, maybe not. That would be getting into their heads, i.e., three heads and I will not go there!)
What’s worse, we take this whole speculation thing to the inth degree and we assume that we know what God is thinking. “God punished me because I did this.” “God blessed me because I did this.” “God didn’t answer my prayer so he doesn’t care.”
God says something about this very thing: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). In other words, “Stay outta My head.” (He gave us the other 31, 372 verses of the Bible to help us deal with what’s in ours.)
So let’s do everyone a favor and try to live inside just one head at a time—our own.