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What makes people feel they have to figure it all out? How can someone strengthen their spirituality through contemplation while avoiding a desire to try to understand everything?

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Welcome to christianity.stackexchange! I think that you have a good question here but it is very specific could you perhaps go in and change the wording as to make it more general so that others who may be struggling with this can also benefit? That would also make it a better fit for the SE format of questions. –  ryan Apr 26 '12 at 22:48
    
Thank you for the welcome. :) –  E1Suave Apr 26 '12 at 23:05
    
I have changed my original question to make it more general in hopes that others who may be struggling with this can also benefit. (as requested by ryanOptini) NOTE: The following comment is my original question which may be more appropriate as a comment: –  E1Suave Apr 26 '12 at 23:10
    
Why do I feel I have to figure it all out? I get stuck in my own head. Sometimes I feel I could make arguments against my own beliefs. What is going on and how can I strengthen my spirituality with contemplation without such a strong desire to try to understand everything? –  E1Suave Apr 26 '12 at 23:10
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Note: This answer was written before the OP was edited. A more direct answer is marked below, the following is build-up.

The Psalms are a great place to go for this. Psalm 143:5 says

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. (emphasis mine)

A few verses down David implores God:

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!

He's meditating on God's actions and word, but he's still asking God to teach him. He's marveling, wondering, thinking upon the truths of God's covenant with him and Israel, but he certainly doesn't have it figured out.

Also, by technical definition, contemplate does not mean comprehend

Additionally, the Bible talks numerous times of the mystery of God's nature and plan...

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" - Romans 11:33-35

So don't worry! You don't have to figure it all out. It's quite mysterious and amazing, but, we can learn. After all, we've been given the entire Bible to study.

Also, we're going to be in heaven for eternity learning about God. If it takes an eternity to learn about God, don't worry that you don't understand it all right now.

How to stop trying to figure it all out

This borders on a pastoral concern, naturally, but I think we can take cues from the verses cited above. In my experience a good attitude is to

  1. Try to remember I can't figure it out. This is hard, because it's a fundamentally different from the narcissistic mindset we naturally have. You have to start knowing that no matter how hard you or anyone else tries, you won't figure it all out.
  2. Try to figure out as much as possible anyways. We're supposed to learn about God (how can you worship someone you don't even know?).
  3. When you hit a paradox, stop. When you encounter something that the Bible doesn't explain, don't try to reason it out. The Bible leaves it alone for a reason. Don't try to compress the Trinity into the phases of water; the analogy fails miserably. (though it can be a helpful illustration). Paradoxes are there both because God is greater than us and to remind us of that.
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Wow thank you for the scripture. This has been very helpful. As a side note I know that contemplate and comprehend do not mean the same thing. The title is meant to describe that when I contemplate at times a feel a strong desire to know it all and figure it out. Thanks again, you have been very kind and thorough. –  E1Suave Apr 26 '12 at 23:16
    
I have changed the title to avoid confusion. Thanks again! :) –  E1Suave Apr 26 '12 at 23:20
    
@E1Suave i've tried to edit to include your edited question. –  Thomas Shields Apr 27 '12 at 2:41
    
You have been very helpful. Thanks again. –  E1Suave Apr 27 '12 at 2:57
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Why would you not want to figure it all out? Sure, you won't succeed. I don't suppose that you or I will completely understand life, the universe, and everything. Certainly not in this life, maybe or maybe not in eternity. (I'd guess no, but that's another subject.)

I want to be realistic in the sense that I'm not going to get frustrated when I fail to achieve an impossible goal. But if we don't set lofty goals, what will we strive for?

If we aim for the stars, we might at least reach the planets.

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I get stuck in my own head. Sometimes I feel I could make arguments against my own beliefs. –  E1Suave Apr 27 '12 at 2:57
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