The Freedom of Ignorance

The Freedom of Ignorance

freedom- ignorance is bliss

The Freedom of Ignorance

by Becky Ritchey

freedom- ignorance is bliss

Courtesy of saphatthachat at

Okay, I’m coming clean – I have a startling confession. Are you ready for it? Here it is:

I don’t know everything.

Whew! What a relief to get that off my chest!

Seriously . . . years ago, I discovered there’s freedom in admitting that I don’t understand everything; that only God is all-knowing (omniscient). Since He’s my Savior, Redeemer, Father, and Defender, I can depend on Him for understanding in all things.

Roots of Insecurity

At this point, you may be thinking, “So she’s not omniscient – big whoop, join the club [yawn].” I’ll explain why this is such a big deal to me. When I was a kid, I didn’t receive much encouragement for anything, especially regarding my schooling. Actually, the opposite happened: lots of attention was given for bad grades and mistakes, but no recognition for good grades and achievements. Consequently, I grew up believing I didn’t have any positive qualities. I also believed I was just plain stupid. Of course, this wasn’t true – I aced English like it was second nature to me. But math was another matter – in 3rd grade I just couldn’t get 3-digit numbers. And decimals! – Forget it! By the time I got to 8th grade, I was failing math; somehow, I struggled through. In high school, I passed algebra and geometry by the skin of my teeth – then it was, Hasta la vista, Math. My English skills were excellent; I was even offered a special course in speed reading. But throughout my school years, I was called ‘STUPID’ because I was lousy at math. When I graduated, I thought I was too stupid to go to college. After all, only smart kids like my big brother went to college. Can you understand how insecure I was, always doubting myself?

Bound Up By Insecurity

I was ashamed and afraid that people would discover I was stupid. This had a profound impact on my ability to do my job in the Air Force. Although I had the aptitude for work in the electronics field, I so doubted my ability to learn, it’s a wonder I made it through tech school to be an autopilot specialist. During my first assignment working on airplanes, I was so afraid to show ignorance that I never asked questions if I didn’t understand something. I was blind to the fact that my reluctance to ask questions actually made me seem less intelligent. I compensated by shrinking back and letting other technicians do the more complex jobs. The result: low performance evals and delayed promotion.

Jesus Made Me Smart!

I took a couple of college courses in the Air Force and got good grades (no math). Fast forward to my 25th year, when I gave my life to Jesus. Then I took some Bible classes and got straight A’s. By the grace of God, I was beginning to believe I wasn’t so stupid after all. In my late 30s, I went to college full time and started racking up the A’s – dean’s list every semester! I got scholarships and graduated cum laude. In grad school my good grades continued and I earned my M.A. from a European university, with honors. Not too shabby for someone ‘too stupid for college’, eh? I saw that God had given me a good brain and excellent intellectual ability. You’d think I’d be convinced that I wasn’t stupid. But there was a lingering scar from my childhood that needed healing.

Liberating Ignorance

liberated woman

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In my late 40s, God took me through a season where I felt a lot of emotional pain. It was like He peeled off a scab on a deep wound so He could heal me properly. It was so hard – I was hurting from emotional wounds I’d suffered in my childhood. In the midst of it, I didn’t understand what was happening – I just cried a lot. Then one day, the light went on when God showed me what He was doing. At that point, I realized that I’m such a feeble creature; I don’t even understand my own self deep down. The amazing thing was that God showed me, He can see deep inside to the marrow of my bones, and I can ask Him for help understanding myself. The moment I realized this awesome truth, I felt liberated, secure in His knowledge forever. What joy I found in letting go of myself in a new way, knowing that I don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t even have to completely understand my own self – if I’m confused or out of sorts, I can simply ask God, “What’s going on with me?” He gently, lovingly shows me every time I ask.

Don’t Call Me ‘Stupid’!

I’m still learning how to walk with Him in this way, but I love asking Him for understanding. Why do I need to know everything when I serve a God who is the source of all understanding? He’s no bully; He’s never called me ‘stupid’. Can you understand why one of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” This is freedom indeed!

 Liberated woman – Courtesy of photostock at

Becky Ritchey
Becky Ritchey
Becky Ritchey is a World History instructor at Tidewater Community College. She loves inspiring less gifted students to succeed by identifying and focusing on their strengths. For fun, she enjoys journaling, needlework, reading, cooking, and gardening. Becky and her husband of 35 years, Steve, were members of New Life Providence for over 10 years. They've recently relocated to the Kansas City, KS area along with their beagle, Buddy.

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