Someone recently said to me, “You sure are naïve.” I’m not sure what the incident was about at the time, and I was a little bit hurt by that saying.
What did he mean that I am naïve? I have been giving this some thought and at this point, I remember quite a few people labeling me as naïve. Therefore, if people are right, it must be true.
Yet, is it really that bad?
Leaving the house the other day the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “Drive carefully.” I stopped, turned around, put my hands on my hips and said, “Wow, you just destroyed my driving. I was not planning on driving carefully.” She laughed.
The secret of naivety is taking things literally. When people take things literally they usually take it out of context and it does not sound that good. When the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage says, “Drive carefully,” all she is saying is “Goodbye, hope to see you later.” That is all.
I do not believe for one moment she thinks I am a careless driver. I have never had a serious accident in my entire driving career. Plus, I’m the one that taught her how to drive a car. Don’t let that get out, it’s our secret.
Being naïve can have its advantages. Most people look at the negative side of naivety and do not consider there is a positive sign. Being naïve simply means that you have a very simple approach to life.
That explains me completely. I have a very simple approach to everything in my life. I do not like complicated things.
The other week I was working on my computer and having all kinds of problems with it. It was very complicated. I took it to someone to help me with it, he looked at it and said, “That’s a simple fix. You sure are naïve.” He did not know it at the time, but I was taking that as a compliment.
I do not want my life complicated. I love the simple things in life. If somebody cannot snicker me, they cannot snicker anybody. I am easy prey for the simplest con artist.
Walking out of Publix the other day I noticed the Girl Scouts had a table selling cookies. I tried walking by but as I passed a little girl with big brown eyes looked at me and said, “Sir, will you… ” and before she could say, “buy some cookies,” I said, “Yes, give them all to me.”
I enjoyed those cookies, which was a result of my naivety. Of course, when I brought all those boxes of cookies home my wife looked at me, smiled and said, “The girls got you again.”
Because I am so naïve in many areas, I accept the fact that people are going to take advantage of me.
Through the years, I have learned to handle that and not let it affect me. If someone wants to take advantage of me, it says a whole lot about their life. If their life is so boring and complicated that they need to swindle me, I’m glad to help out.
I do not have to worry about my naivety because my backup plan is in full force. That backup plan keeps me from some major swindling efforts in my direction. I must say that that backup plan has been my rescue all through my life.
Of course, I am naïve. Of course, I can quickly and easily be swindled. But, and this is a big “but,” my backup plan has never failed me yet. My simplicity in life has been guarded and protected by this wonderful backup plan.
I believe in the simple things in life and I know I am far from being socially sophisticated. I do not know what that even means. I just have a hard time believing that anybody would lie to me. I could write a book about all the people that have swindled me and got away with it. However, here I am as happy and naïve as ever.
I can be naïve because I have an inner focus and not so much an outward focus. What is going on around me does not change what is going on inside me. That is why I depend a lot on my “Backup Plan.” This plan has been with me just about all my life and I do not know what I would do without it.
Someone once asked me, “What is this backup plan you talk about?” I smiled a very naïve smile and said most enthusiastically, “The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is my backup plan.”
If someone can snicker her, there is no help for the rest of the world’s population. I would hate being the person trying to snicker her!
This Backup Plan has been my salvation through all the social inadequacies I have. If it were not for her, my naivety would have destroyed me a long time ago. It is nice having a reliable backup plan.
I have found another backup plan that I can rely upon. Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
My spiritual naivety is backed up by simply trusting God for everything, every day of my life. This is my spiritual backup plan.
Since 1997, Rev. James L. Snyder has written a weekly religion/humor column, “Out To Pastor,” syndicated to over 300 newspapers and many websites. The Rev. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder’s first book, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored and edited 30 books altogether.
James L. Snyder was given an honorary doctorate degree (Doctor of Letters) by Trinity College in Florida. His weekly humor column, “Out To Pastor,” is syndicated to more than 325 weekly newspapers.
Through 45 years of ministry, he and his wife Martha have been involved in three church-planting projects prior to their current ministry at the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Florida. The Snyders have three children and nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.