By Kristin B. Sizemore
We all have our moments. We all go through seasons in our life when we’re not at our best. Sometimes, however, it’s more than a moment, or a day, or a season. Sometimes people are idiots for the long haul. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you want to determine whether or not you’re being an idiot.
16. Has more than one person recently referred to you as an idiot or looked at you in such a way that implies your idiocy?
I’m never an advocate of building your self-worth on the opinions of others. However, if more than one person of moderate intelligence seems to actively view you as an idiot, it may be time for some self-evaluation.
15. Have you recently stopped to think and self-evaluate?
If you find yourself in constant conflict, turmoil, and upheaval, and you haven’t taken the time to stop, think, and evaluate your words and actions, it’s time to do so. Do it now.
14. Do you try to elevate yourself at the expense of others?
Do you try to make yourself look good by making someone else look bad? If your image is built on the backs of others, it isn’t real in the first place. You can be better than that. Be a good person on the inside. It will show eventually and build a true reputation of integrity. If you constantly put others down to build yourself up, you’re projecting a false image.
13. Do you multiply your problems?
I hate when this happens. We all have real problems. We have enough of them without creating pretend problems. Are you dealing with the real issue or constantly creating imaginary issues to avoid dealing with the true problem?
12. Are you often purposefully mean or hurtful?
Okay, you can no longer reasonably defend your position or actions. What now? Do you resort to purposefully hurtful, below-the-belt remarks to deflect the attention from your guilt or flaws? If so, you’re being an idiot. Stop.
11. Do you make sense?
Listen to yourself. Read your own texts. Review your posts on social media. Try to see yourself objectively. Do you make sense? Are you coherent? Are you sane? When in doubt, ask a trusted friend, “Does this make sense to you?”
10. Do you constantly act like you know more than you actually know?
I’m not talking about holding your head up with confidence when you may be anything but on the inside. Do that. I’m asking if you find yourself constantly pretending to be more knowledgable than you actually are in everyday life. Listen, everyone is different. Everyone is smart in different ways. Some people are gifted athletes, others are gifted musicians. Some people are readers, others are common sense experts. Some people may be creative thinkers while others are logicians. Know who you are. Learn. Grow. In the meanwhile, stay in your lane. Stop pretending to be something you’re not. Everyone knows.
9. Does everything revolve around you and your problems?
Sometimes your world falls apart and stops spinning. There are times when something wrecks you and you can’t even get your breath. There are valleys so deep that it seems you’ll never find your way out. This should not happen every day. This should not be the norm. You should be able to live most of your life without thinking that the world has stopped because you have a problem or issue.
8. Is everything unique to your situation or perspective?
When someone tries to keep you from totally self-destructing, do you hear yourself often saying, “But it’s different!” or “That isn’t the same!” or “My situation is harder because…” Save it. At least recognize that you’re being a little stubborn and irrational. Your situation does not give you a license to act in a destructive way. Everyone has problems. Get it together and realize that you’re not the only one.
7. Is everyone wrong but you?
No one likes to be wrong. I hate to be wrong. Still, sometimes, I am wrong. Do you hear those you love trying to tell you that you’re wrong? Do you find yourself thinking, They’re all wrong. Everyone is wrong. Um….probably not. It’s doubtful that literally everyone around you is wrong but you, unless you’re surrounded by heathens or meanness or idiocy. If you know you’re surrounded by intelligent, loving, Godly people and you find yourself thinking that every single person is wrong except you, just stop and take a long look. What’s right isn’t always popular. What’s popular isn’t always right. Sometimes, however, we’re standing on our own stubbornness rather than on principle. It’s important to be able to determine your motivation.
6. If someone else did what you’re doing now, would you think they are an idiot?
This one is difficult. It requires being completely honest with yourself. It will require you to step outside of your own perspective. Pretend that someone else is acting like you, saying the things you say. Does that person suddenly seem like an idiot?
5. Are you always the victim?
I hate being a victim. Still, there are times when I have been the victim. I may dramatically portray myself as a victim to my husband and kids at times, mostly for fun, but no one should every enjoy truly being a victim. If you find that you are constantly the victim or your point of view is always from a the mindset of a victim, you probably are not the victim. You are probably making some other poor person the victim by not listening or perceiving a situation accurately.
4. Do you disregard wise counsel?
I’m a huge advocate of independent thought. Still, you are in trouble. You’re confused. You need help. You seek out wise counsel. You trust them. Maybe they’re your pastor, your pastor’s wife, a trusted friend, a close family member. You go to them because you trust that they love you, they are loyal to you, and that they are relying on God, rather than themselves, when they speak to you about your situation. Then, you walk out the door and completely disregard everything they said. You chose to go to them, but you didn’t hear what you wanted to hear, so you blow them and their counsel off. Tell me what you are right now.
3. Do you often disregard the obvious solution?
You have a problem, possibly a big one. There’s an obvious solution. If you’re wrong, you make it right. If your mouth is getting you into trouble, you eventually have to shut up. If you are hurting someone you love, you stop. If someone or something is holding you back, with God’s help, you remove it from your life or leave it behind. This can be difficult. It can take some time for the best of us to come around. If you never recognize the obvious solution, you have a problem.
2. Are you living contrary to God’s instruction or disregarding His Word?
He’s the Creator, the Master of the Universe, the Lord of All. He’s the Alpha, the beginning which has no beginning. He’s the Omega, the end which has no end. He’s perfectly holy, righteous, and just. He’s omnipotent, omnipresent, omnificent, and omniscient. He is God with a big G. He is the great I Am. You do not know more than He knows. You are not capable of better discerning the answer than He is. He is who He says He is in His Word. He tells us that His ways are above our ways and past finding out. He tells us to trust Him, rather than relying on our own reasoning, logic, or understanding. I love you. God loves you. If you are not living your entire life, every aspect of it, in trust and faith in Him, you’re not using your noggin. If you are disregarding what God is telling you to do, if you think you have the right or ability to control a situation better than him, if you think your reasoning is more reliable than His Word or His decision, you are being an idiot. You just are. He can save you from your idiocy, but you have to realize that He is God and you are not.
- Do you feel like an idiot?
It happens to the best of us; Frasier, for instance. Frasier and I are kindred spirits; dramatic, animated, and principled to a fault. If you’re not a fan of the long-running sitcom, bear with me for a second. In this one episode, Frasier feels that he should not have to pay the parking fee in a parking garage. He feels it’s a matter of principle. He was only there for a couple of seconds. He never even parked. Rather than pay the unwarranted fee, he stages a protest, blocking the exit of the parking garage. Although his brother, Niles, warns him, he refuses to be dissuaded. Fraser makes grand speeches and illustrious epitaphs. In the meantime, he makes himself late for work, holds up several cars filled with innocent, very angry, and resentful citizens, and degrades an attendant who is just doing his job and even offers to pay the fee on his behalf. Suddenly, it hits him. Frasier feels like an idiot. He realizes that maybe he was just a little over the edge on this one. This has happened to me before. Mid-tirade, I realize it. I’m being an idiot. I sound like an idiot. I feel like an idiot. If you have that gnawing feeling in your gut, no matter how fleeting, that you’re being an idiot, you probably are.
Disclaimer: You can be an idiot while answering only a few of these questions incorrectly. You may be an idiot while answering all of these questions correctly, because you refuse to honestly evaluate yourself. Everyone is an idiot sometimes. It need not define your entire identity. Some folks, however, are idiots all the time. There is help for the idiot, at the feet of Jesus.