I spent this week trying to do the things that Jesus did by asking more questions.

I noticed that intentionally asking questions allows me to grow in curiosity and humility.

I chatted with a new friend at a coffee shop. Last week the conversation would have lasted ten seconds before I shut it down, but instead I leaned in and asked more questions. I learned that my new friend was 32 days sober, and she was working on her anxiety so that she could go back to school and get her GED. We talked about what helps her the most, what the people in her life do that aren’t useful. We talked about the things I do to try and be a better youth minister. She told me how amazing it is that it’s my real job to hang out with teenagers and teach them—she is right. She told me which crayons are the best. I was deeply enriched by this conversation where I learned more about someone I would usually not engage. She inspired gratitude and humility in me that no amount of daily scripture emails could ever do.

I asked my friends with anxiety what they wish their friends and families would do or not do when they are having a particularly difficult day. They were gracious to offer a glimpse into what their life with anxiety is like and how others can be more supportive and helpful. Yesterday I got to use those helpful thoughts to be present with someone I care about and help them cope with their anxiety. If I hadn’t asked that question, I wouldn’t be able to love them as well in that moment.

One of the things I have noticed this week is that questions grind into the things we think are settled. When we dig up our thoughts and emotions and circumstances with questions, we air them out. We make room for other people to join us in them. We open ourselves to change. We realize we don’t have everything figured out, and neither do our friends and adversaries. Asking questions makes room for us to grow.

The image I keep coming back to is the hard, rocky ground in my front yard. Grass or flowers or even weeds had no chance of growing there when we first moved in. We had to dig around and till up the ground to make it soft and open before any good thing could grow. Maybe asking questions is disturbing or hard word because we need to unsettle the ground inside our hearts to let something new grow. This week what God grew in me was love and admiration for someone I didn’t know who was overcoming shockingly difficult circumstances.

Jesus asks questions that spin us out of our own perspective so we can see through the eyes of our neighbor. He asks questions that challenge the things we have already decided. He asks questions that bring our true motives up to the top, so we can see what rocks are blocking our growth.

As we approach Holy Week and we relive the stories of Jesus having his last meal with his friends, being arrested, questioned, and crucified…it’s good for us to make room in our hearts and lives for ambiguity. If we’re curious about what mysterious things God is up to, and we approach these stories with the humility of sinners with hard, rocky, dirty hearts full of complicated motives, we might find ourselves being stirred up. I bet we’d be surprised by the things God can resurrect when the dirt goes flying off our own tombs.

What is God growing in your question-tilled heart this lenten season?




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