Thursday, January 8, 2009

"every good question deserves an honest answer"

one of my new years resolutions/goals/whatever this years is to ask more questions.


well, there are a couple reasons. first, i talk to much. i'm very good at not really listening to others because i'm too busy figuring out how i'm going to respond, what great words of wisdom i'm going to shoot back at them to solve all their problems and make the world a better place.


yeah, i know. ridiculous.

i've been thinking a lot lately about two words: relationships and results. i'm realizing that i get WAY too hung up on results (ie, fixing problems) and end up missing out on relationships. good conversations don't happen if i think i have all the answers, so i want to develop the skill of asking good, thought provoking questions.

i heard it said once that one of the best things you can do with someone, when having a deep, spiritual conversation, is to help them "radically rethink" their position. i think this can't happen through arguments, at least not as often as it happens through a good, honest, disarming question.

and that's another signicant topic. when i talk about questions, i don't mean those sly attempts to prove a point, posed as questions in order to appear innocent and inquisitive.

that's junk [another new years goal: stop cursing. note junk was used here instead of something else].

the way i see it, there are basically 2 kinds of questions (real questions, not just basic information ones): the kind mentioned above, and then those that are asked because the asker genuinely cares about the person they're asking the question. they may even already know the answer, at least to some degree, but they value the relationship with the other enough to ask, to want to know them.

obviously, this is much easier said than done. it's easy to ask annoying, manipulative questions, to attack with questions, to ask and not really want an answer, but to ask and listen and care? that's tough.

but that's what relationships are built from. at least a big part of it.

it's each with people we like, people who draw us in and naturally intrigue us. people we love or realize we could love--these are the ones we could listen to easily.

but what about those people who annoy you? (or me, for that matter). or what about those days when the people we do genuinely love annoy us? when we don't really want to talk to them at all? how do you continue to love and build relationships in those situations?

i don't know all the answers to that, but i definitely believe that asking questions is a part of this. we all want to be known, i believe; even if that desire is buried underneath a lot of junk, it's still there. so to be asked--for our opinion, thoughts, hopes, dreams, whatever--is like an invitation to be known. and that, while scary at first, can be incredibly freeing.

so, i want to be better at relating to others like this. to knowing and loving, those i naturally lean towards and those who i don't. because really, feelings can be quite fleeting and junky, fairly untrustworthy.

i also see examples of God being a very good question asker in the Bible, which is funny, because He obviously would already know the answers. and yet, He asks. He invites us into relationship with Him by not always expecting and demanding, but inviting. very appealing.

so my goal, though not incredibly measurable [another new years goal--figure out how to be more accountable to goals...] is to ask more questions. i'd like to ask at least one really good question a day--really, i'd like to do way more than that, but i'm realizing i'm going to have to get in the habit of it and build up to asking more and talking less.

hopefully this will benefit me and others and maybe even make the world a little better of a place.

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