I love asking questions and creating safe spaces for people to answer them. Sometimes this is a little off-putting to other people because I usually linger a moment longer in the quiet than people are used to, just to make sure they’ve said all they need to say before I give my contribution. But the basis of many good conversations comes from asking good questions.
We’re used to the normal:
How are you?
How’s it going?
All those questions are great if they pull a real answer out of the conversation, but a lot of the time they don’t. We utter the quickest answer we can to ensure that the person is satiated before we move on with our lives.
And, because we are busy ourselves, we don’t always take the extra time to dig in further. But what would the world look like if we did? What if we chose to linger just a little bit longer and ask good questions to those around us?
The other night, I was working on a new devotional I want to release later this year (stay tuned for more info on that), when I got a call from a friend. She’s been struggling with a few things and she needed someone to talk to. Because I was busy and was finally in a writing groove, I could’ve blown her off, but I’m so thankful I didn’t.
Why are you afraid?
What if that happens?
What’s your dream?
These were just a few of the questions I was able to ask her during our conversation, which we both left feeling full and refreshed.
We could’ve stuck with the normal, surface-level conversation but that wouldn’t have made any difference in either of our lives. We could’ve done a superficial catch up and then hung up the phone, having fulfilled the relational quota of checking in with the other. Instead, we took the time to really speak to and connect with and, because we value each other, we were willing to ask some hard questions.
The truth is that Jesus asked some really good questions. He listened to people, saw their need, and posed an intentional question. He wanted to get past the surface and get to the root or the heart of their issue. He wanted the people out of the shallows and into the deep end.
Now, the shallows have their purpose and it’s rarely appropriate for a relationship to cannonball into the deep end upon first meeting. But if all our relationships are shallow and surface-level, we’re missing out. If we’re never willing to ask anyone questions, don’t want to spend an extra few minutes to make sure a person is seen, or open up to another about our lives, we’re not living in true community. I wonder what the church would look like if we took the time to ask good questions to those around us.
Let’s give a whirl this week and see what happens!
Do you think you’re a good question asker? Do you know anyone who is?
Are there any questions you wish someone would ask you?
To go Deeper: Watch Awareness,
Read How are you Doing?, Learning to People