The feeble attempts being made today to minimize, trivialize, make light of, or outright dismiss the seriousness of the spiritual sins of our country goes beyond the pale. Wow, now that’s one somber statement huh? Yes it is; it’s what I’m known for I guess. People who know me, really see me and get me, recognize these initial thoughts as pretty standard stuff from me. That’s because they also know that for most of my life, I’ve been more serious than silly, more earnest than carefree, and more passionate than apathetic. It’s in my DNA for some reason. While I’ve tried really hard in the last couple of years to realize all the seriousness can at times get in the way of clear communication, I seem to live in the danger zone of being misunderstood constantly.
I’ve looked at ways to try to stem the tide of my serious nature. Yet, just by viewing some quotes on the internet to adjust one’s attitude, rather than becoming soothed or adjusted, I was in some ways saddened, becoming even more serious. Here are just a few of the quotes I found:
“Learn to laugh. Seriousness is a sin, and it is a disease. Laughter has tremendous beauty, a lightness. It will bring lightness to you, and it will give you wings to fly.” – OSHO
“Concern yourself with not what is right, and what is wrong, but with what is important.” – LIFEQUOTESRU.COM
“Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.” – Oscar Wilde
“You know my name, not my story. You’ve heard what I’ve done, not what I’ve been through.” – QuotesGram
It’s this last quote that really caught my attention today. This turn of phrase allowed me to conceptualize why people find me so serious-natured all the time. Most pastors would fall into the category of “public figure,” even if they never pastored large or mega-large churches. This is because their lives are constantly under the microscope of public (translated: congregational) opinion (translated: judgment). Having lived under this microscope for most of my life, the seriousness of my role dictated my conduct, speech, and actions… even when it was contrary to what I really wanted to say or do. My seriousness resulted in people asking “Are you ok, you don’t look well?” Actually, what they saw in my facial expression was not feeling ill, but concentrating so hard on what I was about to teach or preach, that my seriousness was perceived as illness.
Anyone who really knows me would never say that I was “shallow.” Many would say, “Dr. Wilkins, why do you go on… and on… and on…” when I become seriously passionate about the importance of trusting in God’s Word instead of man’s opinions. I laugh a lot. I’m a pretty goofy person actually, but not many people see me this way. Not because I don’t want them to, but because they only see me when I am in the role of Pastor/Teacher. They do not know any other me, most I believe don’t want to.
What the last two years has taught me, is to recognize “seriousness” can be a danger zone. A topic of discussion, relationship issues, interpersonal communications, emotional and psychological implications, physical responses and reactions, can all be effected by the earnest, sober-minded, DNA-hardwired approach I’ve inhabited for so long. So lighten up already. Chillax. Choose your moments wisely Dr. Wilkins. Take some of your own medicine. Didn’t you say God’s Word teaches us: “there is a time… to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” [Ecclesiastes 3:4]
Why yes, I did. Thanks for reminding me. [By the way, I’m smiling right now.]