Tag Archives: questions

When You Don’t Even Know What Pieces You’re Holding

As I sat across from my friend yesterday I felt helpless. Stuck. Weak. I didn’t have answers I was seeking affirmation for. In fact I didn’t even have questions I was seeking answers for. All I had were the broken pieces & no idea how to begin putting them back together or what it was I was even trying to put together.

Honestly I’m not even sure I know what pieces I’m holding. 

I got an email from another friend a few hours later “How are you doing? Be honest. Don’t bull crap me.” My response was a paragraph that ended with “So yeah, that’s honest. And messy. You’re welcome. :)”

I don’t remember the last time I felt this strategy-less, plan-less, solution-less. When the problem wasn’t going away because I refused to do what I knew I needed to do but rather because I hadn’t yet even figured out what the problem was. How are you supposed to pray for answers when you don’t have any questions? How do you start putting the puzzle together when you’re not sure if you’re holding puzzle pieces or a random collection of game board pieces from Monopoly & Candy Land?

But you can only dwell on it for so long, right? Because there’s work to be done, meetings to be had, friends to be seen, life to be lived. The world isn’t going to be stopping anytime soon while I figure out what questions to ask.

Why do I tell you this? I tell you this because sometimes I think we need to hear that life is messy for other people to. That there are days, even for those of us who believe in an ever-present Father who never fails us, we feel quite lonely…like we’d much prefer curling up in a ball in a cave & not having to face the world until we choose to. Sometimes our heart needs to know that hope feels as distant for someone else as it does for us. That even those who seem to have it all together have seasons where emotions are thread bare.

And maybe, on some level, I need to remind myself of all of those things too and writing them down roots them a little deeper into my stubborn doubtful heart. 

So, if you’re in a place like I am today, take heart, you’re not alone. And tomorrow, if it comes, is a new day. Because while there may be a lot that I don’t know right now, that much I do – that each day is a new one, a small chance to start from scratch.  

What Do you Do With a Heart that Knows Eternity?

“He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

That passage has been sitting in my spirit for a couple of months now. It’s been sitting there because it gives me peace. It makes me feel a little less crazy. And it gives me patience to journey through the tension of every day life.

My heart knows that this is not it…that there is more than this life. It knows of a place of perfect beauty & worship & rest. And that place is home. My heart knows life in eternity because that’s what it was originally designed for. You see, if eternity is set in my heart, then at the end of the day the question isn’t whether or not I’m going to be restless. It’s a given.

The question is what am I going to do with it. Will I let it consume me? Let it hold me back? Will I give into its temptations to simply survive each day until it’s over? Or will I let the restlessness drive me close to the Father. Will I lean into Him for the peace only He can give – a peace that doesn’t eliminate the restlessness but makes it bearable? A peace that allows me to not just endure this life but to live awake on the journey.

That is the challenge for me – deciding what I’m going to do with the restlessness. I’ve come to accept it. But deciding what I’m going to do with it is a battle. A choice I have to wrestle with with each new day.

Do you feel that restlessness? What do you do with it? 

Soup Questions

I always thought it was strange when people commented me on my question asking ability. I would usually kindly thank them & move the conversation on. But, lately, I’ve been reminded of the value of asking good questions…the right questions.

My favorite line from “Finding Forrester”, one of my favorite movies, comes after a dialogue between William (mentor) & Jamal (mentee) about the purpose of questions. William’s response to a question Jamal asks is simply “Not exactly a soup question, is it?”

See, William believed that good questions are those meant to obtain information that matters to us. We all want the answers, the information. And most of the time we want the “right” answers & we want them now. But, too often we don’t want to take the time to ask the questions necessary to get the answers we’re looking for…or need.

Asking good questions is hard work because we can’t ask just any questions, we have to ask the right questions, ones that will help us obtain the information we want. And those questions often take time. Asking those questions is often messy. But I think it’s worth it.

Are you asking the right questions?

Does the Church Need to be Creative?

I got an email from a friend the other day asking these questions:

“What does the church really need? What do people need to know in order to be creative? Do they even need to be taught to be creative?”

Hmmm. That got me thinking. That’s a tough question…”what does the church need?” I’m not sure that’s up to us to decide or figure out or know. But, let’s pretend for a minute that it is. Do they need to be taught to be creative? Do they even need to be creative? Those are questions that, honestly, I go back and forth on a lot.

Sometimes I think we put too much emphasis & pressure on “being creative” and forget that we’re called to love God and love people first and foremost. I wonder if we shifted our focus we’d find that “creativity” flows naturally.

If being “creative is what we need…and something we need to do “better”…I think we’d do ourselves a favor if we stopped trying to learn from each other so much and instead walked out of our church bubble, sat still, and observed the world. Personally, I get burned out on the topic of “creativity” – how to do it, how to do it better, what not to do, how to increase it, etc. I’m not sure that we can add to the ability to create that God has already put in each of us. Perhaps we can learn to unlock it? And maybe that’s what the church needs…to learn how to surrender fear, get over ourselves, and unlock the creativity that is in us. And I think a large part of the answer to “unlocking” is simpler than we think: stop imitating. Instead of looking to the church next door or the latest pop culture craze for creative inspiration why don’t we try reading Scripture and taking a minute to stop and look at the life and experiences God has placed us in the middle of.

And then I return to the idea that “being creative” isn’t really what the church needs in the first place.

Those are my random, in process, disjointed thoughts on those questions. I’d love to hear yours! Do you agree? Disagree? What would you add?

Is Gray Our New Favorite Color?

“Well, that’s a bit of a gray area.”

I was catching up on some blog reading this weekend and came across that phrase a lot. Almost too much. And it got me thinking.

Now, I get that there are things in the Bible that are adiophra – not really addressed – a.k.a. gray areas. However, I think oftentimes we abuse this phrase. Instead of using it to say it’s an area we can’t really say with certainty is right or wrong and therefore have absolutely no right to tell others whether it’s right or wrong, I wonder if we use it as an excuse. I wonder if we use it as an excuse to allow ourselves to satisfy our desires without guilt. You know like if we are 100% honest with ourselves we probably shouldn’t be doing it but the Bible doesn’t explicitly say it’s forbidden so we call it a gray area and all is well?

I’m not saying everything is black and white, but I’m not sure saying so much is a gray area is the right way to go either. What do you think? Are we using our gray crayons just a little too much?