Do you ever feel like you’ve got more questions than answers when it comes to your relationships? What if I told you that might be a good thing? That it might even be the key to unleashing more joy in your life and relationships?
Finding answers to life’s questions – especially relationship questions – makes us feel good. After all, we are intelligent, capable and resourceful people – made in the likeness and image of God – so we should be able to figure out just about anything if we keep trying hard enough, right? We love getting to the bottom of things, sorting everything out, finding solutions and moving on to the next challenge. In short, we love finding answers.
But there’s a problem with living like only the answers matter. We just might miss how lingering over questions can be a source of increased joy and intimacy in our relationships.
Consider what happens in our relationships with God, others and ourselves when we slow down to ponder questions without racing off to pin down the answers.
Questions grow our faith.
When we linger over our questions with God, they become a catalyst to grow our faith and increase the joy we find with Him.
When we approach our prayer or Bible study time with questions in mind, God leads and guides us to a deeper understanding of who He is and how His word applies to our real-life, everyday problems. Our relationship with Him deepens as we learn to trust Him while we wait and experience the peace He promises in the midst of the unknown.
Jesus used questions to get past the cursory religious answers of His time and right to the heart of the matter. “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:27) “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6) “Who do you say I am?” (Luke 9:20) Questions like these moved His conversations from intellectual exercises to life-changing encounters. And Jesus was following the example set by His Father.
Consider the remarkable invitation God extends in Isaiah 1:18. “Come, let us reason together.” God wants us to stay connected to Him, sharing our hearts and finding comfort in His presence. Learning to linger with Him over our questions places us right where He wants us.
Questions deepen our connections.
Questions that lead to different answers and opinions lead to lively conversations. And lively conversations open up a gateway for growing authentic, healthy relationships.
When we stay curious about how others see the world and take time to listen and learn from one another, our relationships become a rich source of joy – even when we don’t agree. This is good news for all of us type-A personalities who are looking for the “right” way to succeed in life. We can relax and know that our way to tackle something is just one of many ways to get it done.
God created us to think and form opinions and preferences that are uniquely our own. At the same time, He calls us to love one another despite our differences. So learning to debate and ask questions in the spirit of love allows us to keep open the kind of dialogue that multiplies our joy by growing our appreciation and respect for one another.
Questions help us discover our truest selves.
Taking time to meditate on the questions hiding deep in our hearts gives us an understanding of our innermost desires and motivations. We begin to see how God designed us and how our design, along with our experiences, shapes our beliefs, hopes, and dreams.
Learning to live with questions allows us to raise our eyes and see things we might otherwise miss in our intense search for answers. They make us thankful for the truths and answers we do have in our lives.
Getting comfortable with our unanswered questions helps us surrender our anxious desire to know what the future holds and frees us to be fully present right now.
And accepting that we won’t always have all the answers can make us kinder, both to others and ourselves. We can choose to stay open to learning more, and that keeps our minds pliable and our hearts soft.
Questions increase our joy by increasing our wonder.
Learning to live with unanswered questions unleashes joy in our relationships because it unleashes our wonder. The wonder we share when we learn that God welcomes our questions because He wants to spend time with us. The wonder of discovering a new way to view the world through the eyes of another. And the wonder of uncovering another nugget that helps us understand who we are and why we’re here.
Turns out that having all the answers to life’s questions is not what matters most. Instead, taking time to linger over our questions opens up a pathway to increased joy in all of our relationships – growing our faith in God, strengthening our bonds with others, and deepening our understanding of our truest self.
Our questions move us forward and challenge us to keep growing.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
What are currently some of your biggest questions? And who might you invite to linger over them with you for awhile?