It's likely that at some point we have our own mental chatter with jumbled questions like: Why is this happening to me? How long is this going to last? How can I get out of this? When will I get it? or What's in it for me?
Just the other day I caught myself asking, why would they do that? when someone cut me off in traffic. It's like a reflex, and we may think it's more useful than it actually is.
We may insist on getting some sort of explanation because knowing lowers our anxiety. But what about the questions we're being asked from life? It's rare for us to pause to listen to them.
What is a question?
A good place to start the conversation about the questions life asks us is by defining a key vocabulary word: question.
Right now you might be thinking the definition of the word question is really common sense, but beware of falling into the trap of illusion of explanatory depth, which basically means believing that you know more than you actually do.
Jesus said in John 8:32
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
When we ask a question we're trying to establish the truth, the very thing that will give us the reward of living abundantly, with freedom.
The process of questioning (ideally) looks something like this:
Step 1 - Forming a Question
Step 2 - Finding the Truth
Step 3 - Freshly in Freedom
Dictionary.com defines question (noun) as: a sentence in an interrogative form, addressed to someone in order to get information in reply.
Let's explore some things life might be asking from you via a sentence in an interrogative form.
1) What patterns are you noticing?
Whenever we feel stuck, it might be because there is a lesson we're not learning. It's like a scam caller that you still haven't blocked.
Awareness is key when blocking annoying patterns.
The patterns we could notice could be in: how we talk to ourselves, how we relate to others, the situations we find ourselves in, the way we feel, and so on.
If life is asking you, what patterns are you noticing? It's because she is trying to teach you something, but you might be distracted, uninterested, or misinformed.
We might be in a position of repetition compulsion, where we perhaps unknowingly go through the same thing over and over again with hopes of creating a different ending.
I was misinformed about my worth. When I noticed a pattern of really misaligned relationships in my life, I was driven to be firm in my decision to get better.
2) What needs to happen for you to change?
Think of a time when you were trying to start a healthy habit. You realized you were tired of being a victim and wanted to become a warrior! Pat yourself on the back for that.
Let's say you wanted to start going to the gym early in the morning to start your day on a good note. Not easy, right? But you put in the effort anyway because your reason or need was powerful enough.
Something had to happen for you to change. Every cause has an effect. What we're living now is the effect of a past cause and the cause of a future effect.
Change is constant in life, and life is a building process.
When we're asked, what needs to happen for you to change? it's like a courtesy question because things will change regardless.
This question, this invitation to pause and think, may help to put your head in the game to create a more desirable effect.
3) What do you think is lacking?
Psalm 23 reminds me that there isn't anything I'd feel like I lack as long as I'm with God. Thinking of how infinitely creative God is and how I was made in His image gives me enthusiasm whenever I sense a lack; I can be creative too!
A secular viewpoint on lacking is that even when you think there's a lack in a situation you can think: things don't happen to me, they happen for me.
A key part of communicating is being able to put your needs into words.
Needs and lacking go hand in hand, but they have different connotations in terms of importance.
If life asks you, what do you think is lacking? it might be time to put needs into words (as a starting point) and be open to making adjustments.
Maybe you don't have the product you think is lacking, but the raw materials are always there. Necessity is the mother of invention.
4) What energizes you?
We can find joy in being asked this question. It's a rather straightforward question with a not-so-simple answer.
A rephrase to this question would be, what makes you feel alive?
Life can be daunting and also boring. We can feel intimidated by challenges, but also unstimulated by the daily routine.
We benefit from knowing what makes us feel energized when taking action and when recharging before taking action again.
Maybe a power nap and more sleep in general will do it. Coffee would put a pep in your step. Or maybe we need to plan a skydiving trip!
When asked, what energizes you? know that life never runs out of things you could do to feel replenished in a wholesome way.
5) Why are you asking so many questions?
The pain of being too meticulous can be explained by the term analysis paralysis. Nobody enjoys being bombarded with information, yet sometimes we put ourselves in a position that triggers information overload.
We can think of the ways of processing the world around us in two paths that sometimes cross: intuitive and analytical.
Asking questions or being really analytical is definitely not a bad thing. However, sometimes we need to be more intuitive, and reflect on what we know to be true so far before asking questions!
Feelings are meant to be felt, not fixed. It doesn't matter how much logic and questioning you try to bring to the equation; you will always be a feeling being.
I didn't need to know why the person cut me off in traffic when I asked, why would they do that? We don't need to know what caused the storm to know that it'll pass.
We're constantly exposed to information. If we stop to think about the questions we're being asked from life in a particular season, we can develop confidence in our responses.
Having a sense of duty can provide great meaning. Imagine how much more momentum you'd have if you had a better idea of what you're being asked.
I'll leave you with this quote that rewired my mindset from wanting to speak to wanting to listen more:
Difficulties come when you don't pay attention to life's whisper. Life always whispers to you first, but if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you'll get a scream.
What are some question YOU think life's asking you? Sign up if you haven't already, and leave me a comment!
Wishing you the best in your journey of discovery,