I like to explore why I make certain choices or feel strongly about various issues. So I find that a few questions like these get me thinking and writing and praying. Sometimes I use variations on these questions with my friends, generating some interesting discussion.
I’d love to sit and have tea with you so we could explore these six questions. They’re not only great questions to ask yourself, but also to ask one another.
First, the tea.
Now, the questions. They’re written first person, but to launch a discussion, just rewrite them to “you.”
1. If I could ask Jesus anything and know I’d get an answer, what would I ask Him?
I got this question from Garry Poole’s book Seeker Small Groups. It’s one of the first things he asks his small groups, because no matter what their background is, everyone’s got unanswered questions. He writes down what people say, and then builds the next few weeks of discussion around those very questions. I’d like to propose that every one of us would benefit from spending a few minutes with a journal and pen and an open heart toward the Lord. Honestly, what would you ask Him if you knew He heard you, and you knew He’d give you an answer? That’s a list worth making. It’s a list worth talking with Him about. It’s worth exploring the answers later, too, with friends or on your own.
2. How have I changed?
The answers to this question could be encouraging if I see ways I’ve changed for the better—how I’ve softened or strengthened, for example, or how I’ve taken risks or served in love. It might be discouraging, however, to realize how little I’ve changed in other ways—though motivating (see the following question).
3. How do I need to change?
Introspective and humbling, this question may draw up some important answers. Approach it open and prayerfully, asking God to reveal what needs to change—what He wants to change in you. A few times, I have humbly asked my family to answer this for me. How do they think I need to change? For them to answer freely and honestly, I had to assure them that they were safe; that I wouldn’t get defensive or hold their answers against them later.
4. What are my values? Or, What do I value?
If I figure this out, I can start to see how my life is aligning with those values—or not. My hope is that my values are grounded in Scripture and that my daily choices flow from them. To actually list out my values makes me put them into words, and then I can compare them against biblical principles.
5. What do I want?
This related question focuses on desire. Consumption. Hopes. Dreams. What do we honestly desire? What do we want? Or what do we want to want? For example, if I honestly want something completely trite and meaningless, but I want to want the will of God in my life, that’s an honest realization. Taking my list to the Lord, I can ask Him about each thing I wrote down. And I can ask if my answers align with His desires…and ask Him to give me His desires if they don’t.
6. What’s next?
This question is deceptively simple, because the answer(s) may change my next few minutes, my plans for the day, or the entire course of my life’s path.
How to Use These Questions
- Use them as journal prompts.
- Use them as essay prompts.
- Write your own answers and publish on your blog.
- Launch a fascinating conversation with your significant other.
- Utilize them in a small group setting.
- Use one to start a thoughtful conversation on Facebook.
Let me know what questions you’d add to the list, and if you have any responses you’re willing to share, let me know in the comments.
Here I am drinking my tea and then you gotta put up that Nutella? I’m so going to make myself a little Nutella sandwich. That’s a good breakfast right there!
Good questions – maybe you’ll answer them here?
Nutella and tea are staples in my house, but I never thought about them together. Thanks for the idea! 🙂
Ann Kroeker says
I updated this and took out the Nutella and tea…but I still enjoy them at home. 🙂
My question for Jesus would be “What ran through your mind when you resisted temptations, like the naked woman in front of you, the heady feeling of ultimate power, the irritations of having friends who just don’t listen. How did you keep yourself from falling into sin?” I mean, he was human like me, so what did he do to give a resounding “NO” when the temptations gave a strong pull for him to follow his desires rather than those of God. Too often, I know what I should do, but I let those pulls of selfish desires trump what I know God would have me do.
Wanna write another list of “6 things”?
Hop on over to my blog and see you’ve been tagged. 🙂
Ann @ Holy Experience says
And that is always a good thing…
All excellent questions! These would fit well for a group I’ve been in for almost two years now—I meet with some dear friends twice a month to explore where we are, where we’d like to be, how God is moving, what we hope for, what we fear, and so on.
As for the Nutella, I must say that I had the best of treats while on the vacation of a lifetime just two weeks ago. (sigh.) The breakfast at our resort was a scrumptious buffet, complete with a made-to-order
omlette and pancake bar. The pancake toppings included a large bowl of Nutella. I wasn’t in the mood for pancakes but couldn’t pass up the Nutella! So I placed a huge dollop of it in a bowl, added fresh, shredded coconut on top, then dipped a croissant into this yummy mix. What a huge treat! 🙂
The first question that popped into my head when I saw your title was “Who am I?” because (at least in my head) identity/self-perception tends to determine choices… Who am I at my core when lights fade and the “performances” end? What is it that defines me?
And… What is my legacy?
(My grammar and punctuation is probably all over the place because I am 2 steps away from sleep… and if this is all rubbish in the clear light of day, please feel free to delete and save me from myself. Off to bed… night-night)
Ann Kroeker says
Ruth, that’s good. Really good. One of my mentors when I was in college said to keep the question “I Why?” on hand. Ask it, and ask it again. It sort of captures who am I and, perhaps, why am I hear (which depends so much on who I am, just as you said).
What is my legacy, yes, that’s an important one. And sobering. What’s it going to be? Oh, Lord, have mercy.